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How To Build and Nurture a People-First Sales Culture

How To Build and Nurture a People-First Sales Culture

High-performing sales teams commit to a people-first sales culture that prioritises collaboration over self interest. Learn more.

Customers are no longer responding to the hard sell. Customers expect more from your sales team than reciting product specs and scripted sales pitches. They want positive, personalised buying experiences built on trust, understanding, and empathy

Our fourth State of the Connected Customer report revealed that 66% of customers expect companies to understand their personal needs and expectations. 

Customers also want to be sure your corporate values align with their own. More than 60% of customers have stopped buying from companies that don’t share their values. Moreover, 71% of customers said they pay more attention to corporate values than they did before the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also increased the need for businesses to prioritise building customer trust. More than 80% of customers agree that a company’s trustworthiness matters more than it did before the pandemic. Seventy-eight percent of customers believe the crisis should catalyse business improvement.

Anatomy of a positive sales culture

In our 50 Pro Sales Tips webinar, leading sales experts share what this business improvement looks like in a sales context. 

The nature of sales is shifting away from an aggressive hard-sell approach to creating more empathetic, personalised buying experiences for customers. Sales success begins with building positive and people-first sales cultures that enable visibility, trust, and agility. 

Sales reps must be taught to value a progressive, team-focused growth mindset over self-focused, winner-takes-all sales tactics. This requires a supportive sales culture built on collaboration and trust.

hoolah is one company that’s putting this approach into practice. The Singapore-based fintech company was launched on Salesforce Customer 360 to create a scalable sales structure. But Stuart Thornton, CEO and Co-Founder of hoolah, believes the right technology is only one piece of the puzzle. 

“While our tech solutions are very important to our operations, all companies are made of people,” he says. “Our strength is the passion, energy, drive, and determination of our people.”

Jolyn Tay, VP, Commercial at hoolah, says these values have been built into the company’s sales culture from day one.

“To create a positive, collaborative, and proactive sales culture, you need to put people first. We invest heavily in our ‘hoolahgans’, as we lovingly call our staff, to make sure they have all the necessary tools, training, and support. 

“When you have a company culture that focuses on your employees, you will not only improve overall productivity, but also deliver business growth now and in the future.”

Enabling sales success

Formalising your sales pipeline will help you build a progressive people-first sales culture. With each step in the sales cycle clearly defined, assigned, and incentivised, your sales reps will understand where and how they can add value throughout the sales process. 

Suddenly, sales success isn’t solely defined by the number of deals closed. There’s space to recognise individual high performance at each stage of the sales cycle, while sales reps work together to progress leads through the pipeline.

This will help your sales reps shift away from a protective approach to their customer relationships. A team-based mindset will encourage sales reps to openly collaborate on customer relationships throughout the entire lifecycle. 

Thornton says Sales Cloud was critical for building this kind of sales structure at hoolah. 

“We had a clear methodology around how we wanted to operate,” he explains. “We wanted to build our sales methodology into Sales Cloud to give us visibility into merchant activity and the ability to forecast our sales revenue against each stage in the sales process.”

But to collaborate effectively, sales reps must all have access to a 360-degree customer view from a single source of truth. Your ability to create consistent, connected customer experiences relies on your team’s seamless access to customer insights across the organisation — whether they are working in-office or remotely. 

Tay says Sales Cloud has enabled this approach at hoolah.

“Sales Cloud is a single source of truth that our sales team uses to understand prospect engagement on a daily basis,” she explains. “They can more easily navigate the decision-making landscape at prospect companies, and when a deal is closed, the relationships team can take over and understand how to manage the merchant without a lot of back and forth.”

Motivating your sales team

You’ve set your sales culture, formalised your pipeline, and built a single source of truth. Now you need to keep your sales team motivated, while avoiding falling back into an adversarial environment. 

Gamification is an important tool you can use to guide your sales reps away from the old winner-takes-all approach. It encourages friendly competition among sales reps, and helps motivate reps in a supportive environment.

Gamification also enables you to reward the behaviours that contribute to the positive sales culture you’re building. You can recognise high performance at all stages of the sales pipeline — not just deals won. 

For example, awarding points for progressing a customer to the next stage in the pipeline assigns value to how employees contribute throughout the sales cycle. With sales reps no longer solely competing for the deal closure credit, there is more space for teamwork and collaboration throughout the sales process.  

It’s time to recognise that no single sales rep can provide the connected, personalised buying experience that today’s customers expect. Sales is now a team effort. While the individual sales rep can certainly contribute to stages throughout the sales pipeline, collaboration among multiple reps is now needed to ultimately close the deal. 

Download our 50 Pro Sales Tips e-book for more expert insights into building a high-performance sales team.

To learn more about how to transform your sales teams for success from anywhere, tune in to the Sales Trailblazers episode of Salesforce Live: Asia.

Click to register for Salesforce Live: Asia


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