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By Liz Stone March 28, 2018

How to Craft a Sales Culture That Fits Different People

Over the past 15 years, we’ve worked with every kind of salesperson. The four types that we see over and over again are: 

  • The “quota killer” who can get away with nearly anything because they have amazing numbers;
  • The timid salesperson who’s completely paralyzed to do anything because they’re afraid to make a mistake;
  • The salesperson-gone-rogue who follows their own process and doesn't respond to new sales initiatives or technologies; and
  • The unmotivated sales rep who has no sense of urgency and treats the job like any other 9-5.

Although each sales person has a different personality, there’s one thing all four have in common: they lack sales culture. Each individual and their respected teams would greatly benefit from ground rules, ongoing support, and shared goals, which are all components of a healthy sales culture. 

Problematic Sales Culture Scenarios, And How to Fix Them

The “Quota Killer”

Tom is the salesperson who consistently exceeds his quota and can do no wrong in the eyes of sales leadership. But further examination shows Tom is offloading all his undesirable administrative work to Susan from Customer Service, who is not his official assistant. Whenever he has a customer request or he needs some sales materials, he calls Susan, who’s starting to despise him because he walks all over her.

Tom (and subsequently Susan) would benefit from taking a closer look at his behavior, which he is probably clueless about, and finding tools that would simplify tedious tasks so Tom could do it on his own. 

Where to Start:

  • Provide Tom with constructive feedback about what’s going on, and give him the opportunity to explain why it might be happening, to mutually find a solution
  • Train Tom on certain administrative tasks, or assign a dedicated support person to help him out
  • Put sales enablement tools in place, such as a CRM and sales portal, that make it easy for Tom to get the information he’s looking for on-the-go
The Timid Sales Person

Sam is experiencing decision paralysis. He’s always waiting on his manager to tell him what to do next and his manager thinks he’s incapable of thinking for himself. The lack of thoughtfulness and activity infuriates his boss, who doesn’t understand why Sam can’t just do something. Although it’s possible that Sam could be slow or lazy, it’s more likely that he’s not empowered to think for himself, and fear is why he isn’t doing a good job.

Where to Start:

  • Give Sam some autonomy to make critical decisions on his own, without criticism
  • Acknowledge Sam’s small wins, which will make him feel valued and boost his confidence to continue making decisions on his own
  • Have ongoing 1:1 communication with Sam to review his work, give feedback, and keep things moving ahead
 The Salesperson-Gone-Rogue

Kelly is an experienced salesperson who has always run to the beat of her own drum; she does things her own way and is resistant to change. While Kelly generally makes her numbers, she always has an opinion, which makes it difficult to work with her. To help Kelly feel important, while igniting a passion for change, start with the approach below.

Where to Start:

  • When discussing new initiatives, listen to Kelly’s feedback and take her opinions and ideas into consideration, so she feels a sense of responsibility for them
  • Give Kelly individual coaching to help her adapt to change
  • Since Kelly has her own skills and tactics that are working, give her an opportunity to share her knowledge with the team, such as a lunch-and-learn
The Unmotivated Sales Person

 Lyla is newer salesperson and always lags behind her peers in attaining her quota. She has good intentions and tries hard, but she doesn’t have the same sense of urgency as her teammates to make her numbers. Lyla is likely bored and doesn’t feel a strong connection to her company and team. She may thrive in a more competitive atmosphere where she feels she’s part of a greater purpose.

Where to Start:

  • Instill team spirit and camaraderie through group outings, trainings, and events that promote a sense of purpose and togetherness
  • Use ongoing sales contests and incentives to promote a competitive atmosphere and make the sales floor fun
  • Take the time to understand Lyla’s motivators and use these to guide her work and productivity

Building a strong sales culture is a never-ending project. While this blog outlines four individuals who need help, don’t forget they are part of a larger team. It’s necessary to have ongoing coaching, training, and monitoring of the entire sales team and each individual to upkeep a successful sales culture.

 If you need help assessing your team’s strengths and weaknesses, or you’re looking for tools and processes that will empower your people to succeed, contact Sales Result to learn more about our customized sales consulting and sales training programs.     

Topics: Sales Management, Sales Team Enablement


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