How to maintain a healthy sales culture during growth
Your small, supportive sales team has great energy and performs well. In fact, the only issue is that there’s not enough of them. As a leader, you’re ready to grow your team, but how do you maintain a healthy sales culture while scaling?
There’s no one way to achieve a healthy sales culture, but there are some common attributes shared amongst healthy sales teams.
For instance, according to HubSpot, a sales team in good health has the ability to identify issues within their own sales process. Then, they fix them quickly. Other indicators of a healthy sales team amid scaling efforts include low attrition rate, high quota attainments, and a consistently full pipeline of sales opportunities.
Reversely, a sales organization that doesn’t invest in new hire training or ongoing coaching reflects an unhealthy culture. This can lead to high turnover in addition to the loss of revenue for the company. Some leaders also make the mistake of just filling seats to boost headcount which contributes to toxic sales cultures.
According to our CEO and Co-founder AJ Bruno, 10 percent of our customers have doubled their sales teams in 2021, including our own team. We expect this number to climb as we head into 2022.
To help, we asked our VP of Sales and Customer Success Caroline Tarpey to share her philosophies around sustaining a healthy sales culture amid scaling efforts.
Without further ado, here are seven best practices to follow to support the health of your sales team.
This is a no-brainer, right? Not exactly. Sometimes in the early growth stages of a company, leaders forget to focus on prioritizing teamwork. Caroline says collaboration and competition mark key components of a healthy sales culture.
However, that doesn’t mean that leaders need to micromanage their sales team. Micromanagement discourages teams and makes reps feel like they’re not trusted to do their work or even attain quota. Teamwork that’s promoted across the sales organization and supported across the entire company, fosters a healthy sales culture. Which goes right into my next point…
Why hire people to be on your sales team if you don’t trust them? It causes an unhealthy balance in the relationship between the team and their leaders, which can ultimately, lead to a distrust of the leadership team. If you trust your team, they’ll trust you back, which creates a healthy sales culture.
Some of the most successful startups experience success because they’re transparent about company goals. This creates a culture of open communication across all departments in the company. This is even more important for your sales team since they’re always carrying the pressure of attaining a quota. Giving an opportunity to the sales team to feel valuable through transparency would happen by making sure they understand how their monthly and quarterly attainments help bring in revenue for the company.
This is specifically true for startups.
For example, if a member of the sales team has equity in the company, help them understand how the revenue they bring in will make the equity more meaningful. That alone is going to inspire sales team members to attain quota because that helps them as a shareholder.
This also should be a no-brainer. No one wants to work in sales and not have a clear understanding of how much they will get paid. Additionally, if there is a 30-day or 90-day probationary period to test out a rep’s ability to sell the product, make that clear before hiring them! No one wants to get fired for not meeting quota in the first month or first quarter on the job. Be transparent with the sales team at all times. Transparency helps the sales team trust their leaders about anything, including their commission, which adds to a healthy sales culture.
A tool like QuotaPath, that everyone on the sales team is able to access and utilize will help with transparency. QuotaPath helps sales teams of all sizes track attainment and commission goals in real-time. Caroline mentioned that having QuotaPath empowers sales team members to not only attain their quotas but their personal goals, too. She’s witnessed people work hard to be able to pay off mortgages, buy a car, or purchase an engagement ring.
A true leader has the ability to pivot at any moment. Both the sales team and their leaders can benefit from pivoting when needing to. In the tech industry, things can change fast and you want to be able to adapt in order to meet company and industry needs. Everyone working on the same page to pivot will help create a healthy sales culture of always wanting to learn and evolve.
“You need a culture that is adaptable and nimble and able to thrive in ambiguity,” Caroline said. “Where people are energized by the fact that we may not have all the answers at any given moment in time. We get to have a voice in how those things come together. Adaptability plays well for all sales cultures but especially in growth-stage companies.”
It’s okay to lose a deal. In sales, it’s expected. However, being able to learn from the losses is what’s most important. Some prospects are not going to be good customers for your product.
Instead of harping on the fact that the deal is lost, focus on what could have been done better. Those losses can be made into a case study on how you can help move future deals down the pipeline. There are a lot of lessons that can come from a lost deal, so don’t dwell on the negatives. Learning from the deal will allow the sales team to feel like they’re still a valuable team player that’s a part of a healthy sales team.
Everyone wants to be celebrated for their hard work. If you want to have a healthy sales culture then make sure to celebrate your teams’ wins. A win can vary, too. Instead of only celebrating your reps who attained 100 percent of the quota, consider celebrating the rep who hit 60 percent last month and increased it to 98 percent this month.
Also, creating the mentality of abundance, or “there’s enough for everyone to eat,” will help filter out any jealousy and keep everyone focused on the goal to win.
Caroline says in her previous roles, she saw success when sales team members wanted to be number one because they saw others winning around them.
People are motivated by seeing other people win, and they want to take part in that success if possible! To do so, consider giving out quarterly awards and consistently recognizing team players!
Now, as your team continues to add new members, you should have a solid foundation on how to keep the health of your team intact. Transparency goes a long way, especially when it comes to company-wide goals and how reps get paid. Continue to celebrate your team, even the small stuff, and share failures so your reps can grow together.
For additional support, we’ve also spoken with experts to overcome the five most common challenges while scaling and compiled a list of 10 steps to grow a team quickly without compromising the team. Take a look!