How to Build a Successful Sales Environment
11 minutes read
What is a Sales Environment?
Sales environment is the culture, habitat, and camaraderie you cultivate for your sales team. It encompasses
The way you physically organize your sales floor
The emotional environment you encourage in the meetings and presentations
And the way you incentivize your sales representatives
How do you define a Good Sales Environment?
The concept of sales environment is vague and intangible. It differs from company to company. So how can you gauge how good is your sales environment?
Here is a simple way to understand this. Ask your sales reps these questions,
How do you feel when you step on your sales floor?
How do you describe the mood in your office every day?
What’s it like to work for this company?
If the answers to these questions are overwhelmingly positive, then it indicates that you have a good environment on your sales floor. Basically, you want to have an environment where your reps feel positivity, inclusivity, success, and happiness
Why should you care about having a good sales environment at your organization as a sales leader?
A sales environment is the deciding factor of how successful your company is going to be.
Studies have shown that a work environment where people are happy and motivated to work hard, stay longer in their jobs and make their company more successful.
On the other hand, a negative, toxic sales environment can lead to low morale, high turnover, and negative results. So, cultivating a positive sales environment is worth your time, effort, and investment. It helps in not just boosting the productivity on the sales floor, but also aids your company’s profitability and longevity.
Types of sales environments
Now let’s unpack the types of sales environments and how to ensure success in each.
Your sales environment can be categorized based on a number of factors like:
Where you are selling from
Who you’re selling to
How do you incentive sales and more
Based on these, your sales environment falls into one or more of the below categories
1. In-office Sales Environment
This is the type of sales environment with which we are most familiar. This is the physical office layout where you maintain an in-person sales team.
How can you ensure a good in-office sales environment? A good in-office sales environment should be transparent, positive, and collaborative
Here is how you can organize such an environment in your office:
- Encourage transparency in the office by adopting an “open-door” policy. This allows the sales reps to freely walk up to their managers or any sales leader to discuss anything that they would like
- Encourage peer-to-peer learning and collaboration in the office. Allow the sales reps to shadow their seniors and managers during their sales calls and learn from them
- Along with the open-door policy, you also need to provide the sales teams with private spaces and cubicles to carry out private meetings or to have quiet and focused time
- Encourage each and everyone on your sales floor to express their concerns freely with their managers or directly with you. This creates an environment of transparency, trust, and compassion in the office.
2. Remote Sales Environment
This kind of sales environment has gained popularity since the onset of COVID. As more organizations have moved towards the work-from-home model, it’s important to create a positive and collaborative remote work environment.
While you cannot physically organize and manage your remote sales team, here are some ways to create a good remote sales environment:
- First and foremost, be sure to equip your team with the necessary software to collaborate with each other from home. This includes CRM and other sales enablement tools as well.
- Encourage communication and transparency in weekly virtual stand up meetings, routine one-on-ones
- Encourage an “open-door” policy over tools like Slack or email where people can reach out to anybody by simply sending a message.
- Organize virtual coffee or lunch sessions where the remote workers get a chance to catch up and hang out with each other in a virtual informal setting
3. B2B Sales Environment
If you are in B2B business, you are dealing with and selling to other businesses. In a B2B sales environment, sales representatives have fewer customers, larger sales deals, and longer sales cycles.
So, here you need to encourage your sales teams to engage in consultative selling, where they build long-term, mutually beneficial sales relationships with customers.
4. B2C Sales Environment
B2C sales environments see more transactional selling. Here the sales reps sell lower-priced items and they are not always required to maintain long-term customer relationships.
However, you still need to encourage them to build rapport with and delight their users, even if they’re one-time customers.
5. Incentive-based Sales Environment
Every sales environment, be it in-office, remote, B2B or B2C, operates with some sort of incentive plan. An incentivized sales environment nurtures healthy competition and motivates the sales reps to meet or exceed their sales goals.
It also helps in cultivating a goal-driven environment on your sales floor. This type of environment allows your managers to set personal and team-wide goals to focus on each month, quarter, or year. This not only motivates your reps to meet their goals but also provides a way for the managers to measure progress and growth over time across the team.
Lastly, in an incentivized sales environment, you will be able to create positivity and a sense of achievement amongst the sales reps by publicly broadcasting their wins and incentivizing their performance
Tried and tested ways to craft a good sales environmentNow let’s discuss some tried and tested strategies for crafting a successful sales environment that
Motivates and inspires your salespeople
And drives your organizational success
You can use these strategies regardless of the type of sales environment you operate in– in-office, remote, B2B, or B2B.
1. Get involved in the hiring process
Having the right people with the right attitude and motivation at your organization is extremely crucial to create and maintain a good sales environment. As the head of the sales, you need to ensure that the new salespeople that get hired have the qualities that are suitable for your sales culture.
To do this, you need to get involved in the hiring process personally. Interact with the shortlisted candidates in the final stage of the hiring process. Carefully select the ones who you think have the right attitude and passion to work in your sales environment
2. Set clear goals and expectations from top to bottom
Creating a work environment of clarity and clear metrics is important for a happy and cohesive team. If people are unsure of the systems or expectations around sales, it creates a culture of uncertainty and sets people up for failure, infighting, and fear.
As a sales leader, you need to clearly explain the sales goals and expectations to everyone, right from the managers to the front-line sales reps. You need to ensure that everyone understands what they need to achieve. And you need to hold everyone accountable for their targets. This helps in creating a goal-driven sales environment and motivates everyone to work hard towards achieving their goals
3. Focus on front-line managers’ training
The front-line managers play a pivotal role in creating cohesive and successful sales teams and hence a successful sales environment. Yet they are the ones who get the least amount of training and enablement.
Make sure that you invest more time and money in training and enabling your front-line sales managers. Through this training, ensure that they become competent and confident in their roles as leaders, managers, and coaches. This creates strong sales leaders out of them. And they in-turn contribute towards creating strong sales teams and building a strong sales culture
4. Frequently interact, inspire and boost the confidence of your salespeople
Being a sales rep is not easy. Your front-line sales reps go through a lot of rejections before finally closing a deal. And they consistently are under the pressure of meeting quota. It would be a great energy and motivation booster for them if they get to hear a few inspiring words from their head of sales
Hold team hurdles or informal meetings often to have a talk with your sales teams (sales reps and managers included). In these meeting, cover the following
- Praise the top performer in your sales department for their contributions
- Discuss your company’s long-term and short-term sales goals
- Tell how close is each team to meeting their goals currently
- What they can do to improve
- Give the salespeople a chance to speak about their challenges and concerns
- Share one or two motivating personal stories from your experience as a sales rep in order to inspire the sales teams
This way you will be able to establish trust in the leadership and company’s vision amongst your salespeople.
5. Closely monitor the performance of each sales team
Make sure that you keep a close eye on each sales team’s performance. Regularly check how close each team is to achieving their targets
In case you see a team lagging behind, then collaborate with the sales reps and the manager of that team– Discuss the difficulties that they are facing– And together come up with ways to improve.
This creates a collaborative sales environment where everybody collaborates and contributes to lift each other up
6. Personally appreciate and reward the top performers
Always recognize good performance. Promoting a culture that openly celebrates excellent work gives life to more excellent work! So when your reps hit their numbers and close big deals, make sure that you personally appreciate them. Present rewards publicly for their performance. This instills a sense of pride amongst the winners and motives more people to earn this recognition
7. Encourage a transparent, innovative, and fun work environment
Don’t make your sales environment solely about achieving the sales targets. Include a bit of learning & development, innovation, and fun activities in the workspace.
Here is how you can do that:
- Encourage the managers to often conduct training workshops and provide continuous learning opportunities for the reps. Make sure that you take time to participate in these training workshops every now and then. This boosts your reps interest and enthusiasm in learning and developing their skills
- Encourage innovation in the work environment. Allow the sales reps to dedicate a portion of their weekly working hours towards doing some research and coming up with innovative ideas to improve the sales process or workflow or anything else related to work. This helps in nurturing innovation in the workspace. And helps to build an environment where sales reps can freely think, build and grow
- Organize brainstorm sessions, discussions, and debates at work. This gives a chance for the sales reps to put forward their new and out of the box ideas related to their field of work. People can then discuss these ideas, select the best ideas, and decide on an action plan to implement them. This helps in creating an environment where everyone has a fair opportunity to voice their opinions and be a part of developing the company and themselves.
- A good sales environment is one that includes fun along with the serious stuff. Encourage the sales teams to organize fun activities at work frequently for the sales reps and the managers. Make sure that you take time every now and then to participate in these activities yourself. This helps in creating a happy, stress-free, and enjoyable workspace for everyone.
All these things combine to make a truly transparent, passionate, and fun work environment
Final Words: Apart from adopting these strategies, your employees are the ones who can really tell you what kind of sales environment they would like to have. So, work closely with them and understand what motivates and drives them to be successful. Then, take this information and bake it into your sales culture.
Trust me on this, your employees will be extremely proud, delighted, and thankful to you if you give them a positive sales environment that provides thrilling opportunities and incentives
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Published on Fri Jan 29 2021