Sales – Everyone Contributes

Friday, November 8 2019

It is tempting to focus exclusively on the sales team when trying to identify the sales culture of a business. However, since that team operates within the larger organizational context it is important to examine the sales culture of the entire business. How do finance, production and shipping departments, for example, see themselves contributing to successful outcomes even though they are not directly involved in the selling process?

There is no single right way for a sales culture to operate within a business. Each situation is unique and if it is to permeate every aspect of the company, the sales culture should be intentionally designed and deliberately built. The starting point is to understand that every member of the organization contributes to sales success.

First, define the desired sales culture of the business. How does each person, not just the sales team, contribute? This may include setting performance systems and benchmarks for activities such as order processing times, customer service, and sales funnel management.

Next, set meaningful goals and targets related to sales outcomes for individuals and teams across the organization. If the link between sales success and, say, the accounting department is ambiguous, make it clear. Clarity builds trust in the mission and enables workers to move outside of their departmental silos to support others in common goals.

Third, hire the right people. Daniel Pink points out that those in non-sales jobs spend about 40% of their time in “non-sales selling” activities.[1] So, hire people who are open to the idea that they contribute to the sales success of the organization no matter what role they may occupy.

Fourth, invest in training, coaching and communication to support the sales culture defined in the first step. If this investment is ignored a culture will still evolve but it is less likely to be the one you had in mind.

Finally, recognize and celebrate successes. Salespeople tend to get the glory; but, if you really want to build a deeply-rooted, positive organizational culture look past the sales team and celebrate, with just as much attention, the contributions of non-sales staff.

The key is that organizational sales success is not the exclusive domain of the sales team. Everyone contributes. The effectiveness of the sales culture will determine the quality of those contributions.  Don’t leave it to chance!


[1] Pink, Daniel H. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising truth about Moving Others, Riverhead Books, 2012, p. 21