It is easy to be successful in sales. Close a few big deals, leverage existing relationships, launch an innovative new product or prospect in a fertile territory. Achieving consistent sales success is, however an entirely different thing. It is substantially more difficult.
Consistent sales success requires a culture of excellence across many areas including the sales processes, methods, and disciplines as well as the overall sales eco-system. Healthy habit forming is a powerful tool to help teams make this happen.
Sales has changed significantly. Customer expectations have never been higher – customers demand more for less and they want it sooner. Many organisations may still believe they sell products or services, and some may believe they sell solutions. Successful sales organisations know they need to sell outcomes – and selling outcomes requires an eco-system approach.
Sales as an eco-system underpinned by a culture of excellence across the entire organisation is the winning formula. Teams cannot operate in silos if companies want to close the gap between what their customers expect and what they truly experience. In a company with a culture of sales excellence, everyone understands the customer does not belong to the salesperson. It is understood that it is everyone’s responsibility to deliver an experience to their customer.
This is where culture is a competitive advantage and building a strong culture becomes a strategic differentiator.
We know that many companies have great products, often with similar pricing and delivery. So, what differentiates the success stories from the rest? It often comes down to culture within the organisation. Companies that build strong sales and customer-facing cultures accelerate their results.
When culture is strong the sales momentum improves dramatically, and improved customer acquisition and retention leads to much better and more consistent sales success. Tangibly this means a customer delivery system designed for the customer rather than for the convenience of the organisation. Everything in your sales eco-system should start with the question sales leaders need to ask:
“How does this impact our ability to serve our customers better?”
How do healthy habits help build a successful sales culture and eco-system?
Healthy habits are consistent behaviours that are beneficial and positive, that we do every month, every week, or everyday with a high-level of commitment and discipline. They should be something that permeates all aspects of your life – from home life to work life and everything in-between. I strongly believe that a person who practices healthy habits at home can do the same at work and vice versa.
In the sales profession specifically, healthy habits help us build the disciplines that are needed for consistently high sales performance. While there are many habits you can build to help you achieve sales excellence, I like to categorise them into four areas to make them easier to implement - Prioritise, Plan, Prepare and Practice.
Prioritise: Sales professionals and managers need to work on the activities that matter most. They need to spend time on deals they can win; with customers they can deliver excellent value to. So, the habit of continuous prioritisation is vital.
Plan: Sales teams need to plan their approach to their markets, to their accounts, and they need to plan their activities and manage their opportunities. The habit of regular, focused planning is extremely important.
Prepare: To win you need to prepare.Many salespeople do not spend enough time preparing for customer interactions.Most sales managers do not spend enough time preparing for coaching sessions with their people. Successful managers have a strong habit of preparation to ensure they are mentally, emotionally, and practically prepared for all important interactions.
Practice: Using a new value proposition for the first time is difficult. Positioning the value of a new product or service can test even the most experienced sales professional. Building the habit of practice ensures sales professionals are always ready and confident.
At the beginning of Covid I started running. Having never been a runner it was difficult, but I made the commitment to myself to run. That was the easy part. Building the discipline to run 4-5 times every week, rain or shine meant I needed to find the right habits. The habit of placing my running shoes and socks near the door ready for tomorrow’s run. The habit of setting the alarm 30-minutes earlier than usual, and the habit of using a run tracking app helped make forming the discipline easier. Running 5km a day became habitual, with the result of feeling and being healthier the outcome.
While you might not be planning to take up running, the above example may show you that simple, consistent practises are what is needed to form any series of habits – whether you are improving your fitness or your sales performance.
In essence, practicing healthy sales habits means stronger customer relationships, higher levels of personal satisfaction and more successful companies. It is time for you to start.
Sign up to our next Global Connect on 3 February where we tackle the importance of healthy habits in more detail. Follow this link to register.
By Tony Cross, CEO of Growth Matters International