Culture is the vehicle by which things get done in an organization.
It is based on a set of underlying assumptions about what is important, such as nature, the environment, and/or basic human rights. These assumptions focus a group of people with a set of values by which people conduct their activities. The values are based on the beliefs of the leader and all of the stakeholders as to what is important, what needs to be completed, and how they will treat each other while doing their work. If people come together with different sets of values and beliefs, they will not be able to work together very effectively unless they agree on a common set for working together. If a sales professional is working with a customer from another country, how they work together must be established or they will not be able to meet each other’s needs and to close the sale. Likewise, if the technology experts and the customer service experts do not understand each other’s basic values and beliefs about how they will work together, their joint work will never be complementary. They will not be able to collaborate and support the sales campaign as is needed through their virtual team membership. Several considerations are important in creating a culture. They include industry requirements and compliance, company shareholder perspectives, knowing employee strengths and
weaknesses, and management preferences for achievement of company objectives and goals. In addition, each stakeholder group has preferences and “best practices” that each likes to maintain. All of the views can be complementary when working together, but, most likely, there will be conflicts. These slow down progress. It is the sales professional’s challenge, but also his opportunity, to mold these different perspectives into a commonly agreeable view, a common culture, for managing sales campaigns. Often work in this area will seem to go far beyond the sales process. Remember that everyone is in sales. Therefore, their needs must be considered and contributions must be maximized for best company results. The significant challenge for the sales professional who is leading the virtual team initiative is to understand the needs of the virtual team members and the external customers. Since the virtual team members come from various areas within a company, they are likely to have their own culture within which each is comfortable working. This is where service level agreements between team members become critical to the success of the virtual team and, ultimately, the sales campaign. Service level agreements can cover timeframes for deliveries, priority of jointly planned work, common quality standards, or any other aspect of the virtual team
members working together. When the sales professional understands how each of the virtual team members must work and how the customer’s culture fits into these views, a common platform of values and beliefs can be built to direct and facilitate the work of the virtual team. This is the job of the sales professional! Also, the virtual team members must understand the nuances of how the external customer works within his organization, his company culture. Delivering product includes how you deliver it. If timeframes, quality, hierarchical perspectives, and/ or mode of delivery expectations are not accommodated, customer satisfaction may be at risk. It is the sales professional’s responsibility to bring all of these perspectives together, understand them, and then help everyone reconcile any differences that might interfere with the efficient close of a sale and its campaign.
Todd Cohen works with sales leaders who want to create a sales culture so that more sales happen. Since 1984, Todd has coached and led sales teams to deliver more than $500 million in revenue for leading companies including Xerox, Gartner Group, Pensare, Thomson-Reuters, and LexisNexis. Todd, who has developed a natural presence in the field of buildling sales culture, inspires, advises, and builds high-performance sales teams that produce outstanding results. He provides strategic oversight for teams and serves as executive sales coach and advisor to clients ranging from small, rapidly growing start-ups to well-established, large corporations. Todd is a passionate networker and connector of sales professionals, entrepreneurs, and executives in transition. He is a professional member of the National Speakers Association, and a board member of the NSA Philadelphia chapter, and he serves as chair of the Sales and Marketing group of the Greater Philadelphia Senior Executives Group. Todd, an occasional contributor to the Philadelphia Business Journal, is the founder of The Innovators Club, a networking organization dedicated to advancing technology and entrepreneurship. He is co-founder of LinkedIn Live Philly, a networking group for members of Linked-In to advance their professional networking skills, and also helps professionals in career transition. Todd has been active in the American Cancer Society as well as several other charitable organizations. Todd holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Temple University. He is a frequent speaker at sales conferences and national association meetings and hosts his own radio show “Let’s Talk Sales Culture.” His book on sales culture “Never Sell Alone’ was released in 2010.