Catalyst Sale

Why Your Leadership is Crushing Your Sales Culture


When you are building a sales team, you want to give them an advantage, so it makes sense to lay out your sales process, step by step, right?

You provide scripts, checklists, and a playbook to outline the process so your sales team can follow every step of the way. This is how to build a successful sales team, right?


Your processes are killing your sales culture, but – What is Sales?

Sales is a thinking process.

Too many companies teach their sales team how to execute a process, rather than to think.

Your scripts, checklists, and playbooks are getting in the way. Your team is just doing what they are told to do. You are effectively telling your team how to think.

Directions work for Hot Pockets; remove the wrapper, place Hot Pocket in the sleeve, microwave 2 minutes. It makes sure your Hot Pocket comes out exactly as it should.

A detailed playbook works for McDonald’s. Burgers come out the same every time at every location. People are served quickly, but they are all served the same.

You would never use step-by-step directions or a detailed playbook at a gourmet restaurant. Your staff takes the time to interact with the customer and find out their tastes and preferences. Each meal is created as a unique solution for the diner’s experience. Serving customers in this restaurant is not a no-brainer. It takes discretion and creativity. You have to think.  You should build rapport.

The same is true for how your sales team should serve customers.

To build an effective sales team, your culture has to support a thinking process. Give your team room to be creative. A sales professional needs to think about a customer’s problems. Be creative. Forget about a process that requires you to execute steps A through Z.

Instead, a successful sales culture allows a sales team to use a process that allows them to think.


Why is this more effective than a clearly defined process?

When you give people the ability to think and be creative, they can become more effective with their clients. They no longer worry about what is the next step in the process. Instead, they consider what they are doing with their clients.

Your sales team will think about a customer’s problem and work for a solution. As this becomes practice, your sales culture will be centered on your team’s ability to think.

The problem is not a sales problem or a problem with your processes. It is a leadership problem. Sales leadership is not about doing the work for your team. Sales leadership is not about creating a playbook that shows exactly how to execute every sales call with specific questions to ask.

Sales Leadership is about focusing on concepts and objectives the team as a whole is trying to accomplish. Then, you give your team the ability to be creative and use a thinking process to solve their customer’s problems. A thinking salesperson will align a solution with what is most important to the customer.

By taking this role, you as a leader, become a catalyst for your sales team to become themselves in their role in the company. It is rewarding for a salesperson to feel they are creative and a providing a solution for the customer, not just following directions.

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