Creating a Winning Sales Culture




Roy Williams, Head Coach for North Carolina won a national title in 2005 and in 2009. Roy was quoted as saying, “Last time, three points a game was the highest scoring average we had coming back.” He was referring to the players he had returning from his national title run in 2005, yet was still able to rebuild and win it all again four years later. North Carolina was able to repeat because they have a winning culture.


At The Complex Sale – we help sales teams create a culture of winning by implementing best practices that can be repeated even if you experience turnover, market challenges, or lose product superiority. The following 8 step can help you create and sustain a winning sales culture in your organization.  


  1. Assess – Revenue attainment objectives should be S.M.A.R.T.
  2. Align  – Management prioritization, vision, and buy-in
  3. Define  – Best practice sales cycle and messaging
  4. Deploy   – Consistent and repeatable language / strategy
  5. Enable  – CRM with methodology, best practices, and metrics reporting
  6. Recruit   – Hiring based on skills of A-players, strategy, and metrics
  7. Build  – Reinforce the strategy with execution skills and coaching
  8. Measure  – Hold managers and sellers accountable to objectives



The most important sales goal we have as sales leaders is a revenue target and a date by which we must obtain that target. Revenue – however is a lagging indicator of success and we need to attribute more specific leading indicators of performance to enable us to hit our revenue targets.  Using Key Performance Indicators in the Create, Win, Grow model and prioritizing them in order of importance can help us focus on proactive areas of improvement. We recommend your goals to be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable, and Timely) and be forward looking.



After you have assessed the needs of your organization and prioritized the key performance indicators you will need to improve sales effectiveness by gaining buy-in from the executives and your key lieutenants. After all, executives most certainly will want to be kept abreast of any changes to the revenue engine of the company and frontline management may have a completely different idea as to what is effective.


The number one rule of change management: if it isn’t reinforced by the frontline managers then it will not succeed. The Complex Sale’s management alignment survey will give you the insight needed to engage your colleagues, executives, and lieutenants.



A recent study from Forrester Research stated that over 90% of a B2B branding comes from sales people. While a message should be unique to the stakeholder, successful organizations have already defined the pains, benefit statements, positioning statements, and probing questions to every possible stakeholder a sales person could encounter. This uniformity creates consistency in message and objection handling.


Successful sales organizations also understand, document, and follow the best practices of their particular sales cycle. Common language, milestones, and expectations are created when an entire organization follows a defined sales process.



The deployment phase of an implementation is where your hard work is exposed to the field.  Successful deployments also have management prepared before the engagement so as to decrease any surprises on their part and to act as a vocal supporter.  Salespeople, however, are difficult individuals to win over and successful deployments are made up of four components:


  1. Credible Delivery
  2. Credible Content
  3. Relevancy
  4. Management Leadership



CRM adoption is difficult to obtain if the sale force sees the application as strictly a management tool. To maximize the investment in your CRM – successful sales teams embed their sales stages to mirror the ones defined as Best Practice. The sales methodology should also be embedded into the CRM to take the sales training out of the training room and into real-world practice.  Web 2.0 technologies have translated to Sales 2.0 technologies such as interactive medians for messaging, coaching, e-mail templates, and skill building.   If the CRM helps them make their goals – the sales force will adopt it.


We recommend also setting up a dashboard to report upon the Key Performance Indicators selected in the assessment phase. The success of your project will be measured by tracking the improvement of the KPI’s through your CRM.



Once we have an understanding of what traits make up an A player in your organization through the assessment, the key performance indicators critical for success, the defined best practices, and the methodology required to meet our revenue targets, the framework is set for a complete hiring profile. We recommend setting up this framework before top-grading your sales force because without this knowledge you are making an uninformed hire. You need individuals that execute your strategy based upon objective criteria.



Philosopher Aristotle famously wrote, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit.” What Aristotle knew 2300 years ago was that a onetime investment in improvement is a poor investment. The Complex Sale has found that working with frontline sales management is the key to sustained sales effectiveness and long-term success.


Frontline managers need to coach to the best practices and selected deployments at every opportunity. Once the sales force realizes this is no longer a fad and they will be judged by the Key Performance Indicators needed for everyone’s success, habits will soon form.  Adults learn through practical application and we provide the tools that enable frontline sales managers to reinforce the sales improvement changes. All sales cycles have natural milestones where strategy meets execution.



Process improvement is ongoing and continuous. The ultimate goal is to exceed our revenue target but as we mentioned before we want to measure the selected Key Performance Indicators to give us a predictive indication of success.  KPI’s should begin at the VP of Sales level and cascade down to every contributor. Every member of the organization should be held accountable for reaching their particular goal. KPI’s are objective and allow for transparency.

One Response

  1. Nice post.
    We like your Blog and your writing style.
    We would like to invite you to be a guest author on The Jacob Report.
    The Jacob Report has been voted one of the Top 100 Blogs in America, and we have some of the best Bloggers covering Sales, Marketing, and PR in the industry.

    By being a guest author with us, you will receive a lot of buzz, and a lot of attention.
    If you are interested, please let us know immediately.
    Great writing, and we look forward to having you join this powerful team.

    Andy Jacob
    The Jacob Report

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