While seemingly intuitive, the relationship between sales strategy and sales culture can be pretty complex. It's essential to ensure that your sales team understands the company's values before developing your sales strategy.
Most companies think of culture and strategy as being two separate things that can be handled independently of each other. Culture comes first, they say, and then the strategy will follow when the company has been nurtured by its cultural identity. But that's not necessarily the case — the strategy should come first, and the culture must adapt to it or risk stagnation.
Here's why leadership should implement and cultivate company strategy before company culture.
What is company culture?
Company culture is the collective behaviour of a company's employees. It includes the values, beliefs, and attitudes that guide employees' behaviour. Strong company culture can help attract and retain talent, foster innovation, and improve customer satisfaction. But culture can also be a liability if it's not aligned with business goals.
That's why companies need to create a culture that supports their strategy.
Proper engagement and passion are the building blocks of a strong company culture and can determine whether or not a company will succeed in the long run. A company's success largely depends on its ability to engage its customers, employees, and shareholders. If one of these groups feels disengaged, there is an issue. If all three feel disengaged, there is a significant problem.
One way to address this issue is by aligning your sales culture and sales strategy. To establish a healthy company culture and strategy, you must know what type of work you want your team members to do.
What is considered a healthy culture?
A healthy culture prioritizes the well-being of its employees and encourages them to be their best selves. A company with a healthy culture will have a clear set of values that guide decision-making and will provide employees with the resources they need to succeed.
A healthy culture will foster a sense of community and collaboration and create an environment where employees feel comfortable taking risks.
Building a safe space where employees feel encouraged to ask questions is also important for fostering innovation. With such a culture in place, employees can share their ideas without fear of being judged or penalized for making mistakes.
Small wins are a big deal! A healthy culture will also encourage its employees to take pride in their work and celebrate small wins. When employees feel their contributions are valued, they actively add value to an organization's culture.
Every company should have a strategy
A company's strategy is its plan for how it will achieve its desired goals. This includes everything from what products or services it will offer to what markets it will target to how it will price its products. It is impossible to create a sales culture without first defining the company's long-term strategy.
The strategy will define the sales culture, so the two must be aligned. Having a clear strategy allows a company to focus its efforts on what matters most: delivering value to customers. The strategy should be clear and concise for easy execution, focusing on how the company can differentiate itself from the competition.
It should also be simple enough to communicate clearly, yet detailed enough to guide the company's actions. Everyone in the organization must understand and buy into the strategy, so it should be communicated at all levels of the company.
How sales support the company strategy
Sales are one of the most important departments in a company because it is responsible for generating revenue. A company's sales strategy should align with its overall business strategy to be effective.
For example, if a company's business strategy is to become the market leader, its sales strategy should focus on achieving market share goals. Company culture and sales strategy are interdependent; a company's culture will shape how its sales team operates, and the sales team's success will impact the company culture.
If a company hires aggressive salespeople who are constantly pushing their limits, this behaviour may lead to the company's culture being more aggressive than before. If instead, the company had hired conservative and polite salespeople, this might lead to a less aggressive culture.
However, while company culture and sales strategy are interdependent, they also need to remain independent from each other. The company needs to consider the cultural fit when hiring new employees so that they can have complementary skill sets without having conflicting personalities.
As well as evaluating candidates' cultural fit, companies need to assess whether or not an employee has complementary skillsets when promoting them within the organization or transferring them to another department for everyone's talents and interests can be maximized.
Can strategy and culture work together?
Strategy is what you do, and culture is how you do it.
Strategy is the framework for your company, and culture is how you live within that framework.
While it's true that the two are separate entities, they're also very much connected—and the connection can be positive or negative. A strong culture can help you achieve your goals and make good decisions, while a weak culture can hinder your ability to get things done.
But if we don't have a strategy, what do we have? We're just winging it!
So, can they work together? Absolutely. To implement your strategy effectively, you need to ensure your strategy aligns with your culture and has the right mix of people.
Looking back, it makes sense that the strategy should come first. Many companies think of a strategy as being something broad and the big picture; it's how they're going to get where they want to go.
Crisp, concrete tactics are necessary at this point to make an effective strategy a reality. Sales strategies must be carefully thought out if your company wants to make an impact.
This means that when you begin thinking about sales culture, you have to think about it in conjunction with your sales strategies. Otherwise, you risk encouraging actions that are counter to where you want the team to go.
Need help with your organization's sales strategy or developing a framework for your organization's culture? If you're ready to take your business to new heights, contact us today and let us show you what we can do.