Sales Management and Company Culture

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If you could summarize your company’s organizational culture in a single sentence, what would it sound like?

In my last blog post, I mentioned that paying attention to the company culture and decision-making process of prospects was a way to avoid the “Curse of the Slow No.”

And it got me thinking about how exactly we determine, or evaluate, or inculcate a “company culture” at all.

I bring this up because I think all of us in sales have had the experience of closing a deal, all the while having a nagging feeling in the back of our minds that we may actually have just cost the company money by making the close.

If you’re nodding your head right now, you know what I’m talking about. Your interactions with the new client were always just . . . off. You could tell that their “company culture” and yours were simply not a good fit. Different ways of doing business, different goals, different personalities, whatever it was, it just didn’t feel right.

And more often than not that gut feeling gets borne out during the client fulfillment process. Lots of hard work, little results, and the day their contract expires, they’re gone.

Obviously I’m not saying that a sales rep should reject a sale because “it just doesn’t feel right.” But I am saying not to ignore that feeling, because it can be a sign of things to come, if differences in company culture aren’t carefully managed and negotiated.

Corporate culture is created from the top down. It’s a leadership mindset and ethos, a sense of personality and positioning. It manifests itself in hiring and training practices, marketing and advertising, pay structures and bonuses. It’s created in corporate and customer service policies, in the level of trust the organization places in its employees.

Ultimately, you’ll close more sales if your clients and prospects trust you. And one of the ways to develop their trust is to show them that you’re not just paying attention to the dollars and cents, but in making your solution fit their existing mindset and values.

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