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10 June, 2013 by

6 Characteristics of a Winning Sales Culture


In recent posts we discussed why the current sales culture, or climate, of sales organizations is inhibiting Challenger Selling rather than promoting the adoption of winning sales behaviors. In a world in which customers no longer need to engage suppliers for information, sales organizations must take a close look at their existing sales climate and ask themselves whether their organization is helping or hindering reps’ ability to deliver Insights.

So what does the right sales climate for Insight Selling look like?

As we revealed in our most recent research study: Driving Sales Transformation, the sales climate that best support reps’ ability to sell to empowered customers is one that permits judgment. In fact, sales organizations with judgment-oriented climates see a 23% increase in rep adoption of Insight Selling behaviors.

The defining attributes of a judgment-oriented sales climate include:

  1. Intrinsic Motivation – a climate where reps are motivated by peer acceptance and social signals in support of Insight Selling.
  2. Discretion on Building a Pipeline of Business – organizations that encourage reps to create demand early in the funnel, rather than react to it, by promoting pipeline building over pipeline velocity and throughput.
  3. Empowerment – climates that empower reps to take ownership and accountability for their business, and in which reps are managed to outcomes rather than activities.
  4. Emphasis on Principles over Rules – sales climates in which managers allow and encourage principled exceptions to rules and process, and coach reps to develop judgment.
  5. Reward Business Building over Selling – organizations that incentivize reps based on the overall profitable growth of their book of business, rather than on metrics that monitor compliance to a particular sales process.
  6. Sales Innovation – climates that encourage innovation by giving reps increased latitude to determine how they achieve sales targets though sales innovation and adaptability.

Want to learn more about what progressive organizations are doing to influence their climate and allow reps to exercise more judgment? Stay tuned for our next blog post in this series.

CEB Sales Members, register for one of our upcoming Executive Retreat sessions to learn more about this study, and register for our upcoming webinar: Managing in the Insight Selling Era, to learn about the role of managers in creating a judgment-oriented climate.

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