How to create an anti-sales culture on your team

George Brontén

Have you heard the story about the new sales director, whose predecessor handed him three envelopes on the first day of the job?

He told him to open the first envelope if things got rough; to open the second envelope if the situation got worse, and to open the third envelope if things it still did not work as planned.

The first envelope contained a note that read, “Just blame me.” The second envelope’s note said, “Reorganize.” The third note said, “If everything’s still not going as planned, prepare three envelopes.”

The story’s funny because it’s painfully near the truth. Far too many sales organizations harbor a profoundly anti-sales culture that is both the cause and the effect of a toxic hire-and-fire cycle that impacts sales directors, managers, salespeople and, ultimately, the organization as a whole.

It’s almost as if there were a secret, mandatory manual handed down from one sales leader to the next, and the title of the manual was, “How to create an anti-sales culture on your team.”

If it did exist, here’s what it would say.

1. Bring Your Most Arrogant Self to the Job

Arrogance is a powerful weapon against effectiveness. An arrogant leader doesn’t listen to the people they manage, won’t learn from mistakes, and is great at passing the blame for everything bad that happens without actually trying to fix the problem.

A positive sales culture is the key to sales effectiveness
George Brontén

Some of the ways you can best exhibit your arrogance include:

  • Pass the blame–no need to take responsibility for anything. You’re the leader! Make sure everyone knows it by insisting that everything is their fault!
  • Steal commissions. Hey. You’re the boss. Act like it, and take the fruits of everyone’s labor.
  • Foster toxic work relationships. Someone fighting with someone else? Take sides and make sure everyone in the office knows who your favorites are.
  • Never take feedback! You’re in charge here. Don’t let anyone tell you what you could do better or how you might have messed up.

By following these simple tips, you’ll ensure that neither you nor anyone else in the department improve their performance at any time. Nice work!

2. Be Stingy With Resources

Training, tools, content, coaching. Who needs it?

A great salesperson should be able to perform on pure talent, adrenaline, and hunger.

Instead of providing effective sales enablement resources to address shortfalls on your team, try raising quotas and punishing folks who don’t meet the new, higher standards. Definitely, don’t waste your time trying to coach and enable them.

After all, if a salesperson really wants to make it, they’ll develop new skill sets by sheer willpower. Your stinginess will pay off best if you find a way to funnel resources to your own pocket. Be creative. You can do it!

Your job might be short-lived, but at least you’ll enjoy it while you have it!

3. Stare At Numbers All Day

Hey, numbers are effective tools for managing a sales team. And if it’s an effective tool, it must be the only effective tool!

Instead of responding to your salespeople like the human beings they are, try treating them exactly like robots. Sit behind your desk all day and look at numbers.

Use those numbers to move people around as though they were simply data to be managed. In this way, you’ll help them understand their role in your company as merely a cog in the machine.

If you were to engage with salespeople as human beings, learning what drives and motivates them, finding where their limiting beliefs are holding them back, and helping them develop into their full potential, you would risk creating a positive sales culture and a more effective sales team.

Don’t take that chance!

4. Change Everything Up Regularly Just Because

Nothing works forever, right? The marketplace is changing rapidly, and so should you!

For best results in creating your anti-sales culture, try changing up everything regularly. For instance:

  • If performance isn’t where you want it, reassign some accounts and territories to see what happens!
  • Try a new methodology. Maybe it will be the magic bullet!
  • Fire some folks.
  • Or hire some folks!
  • Promote someone.
  • Demote someone.
  • Reorganize your sales process but don’t tell anyone. Let them discover it in the dropdown boxes in your CRM.
  • Change up the commission structure suddenly!
  • Reorganize EVERYTHING. So much fun.

For best results, don’t apply strategy before implementing change. Time spent planning and aligning changes with strategic initiatives is time NOT spent buying new tools and point solutions!

Okay. Back to reality. This manual doesn’t really exist (I hope?), but some sales departments seem to abide by it anyway. Obviously, you don’t want to be one of them.

A positive sales culture is the key to sales effectiveness, but it’s much harder to achieve than an anti-sales culture. A positive sales culture starts with strategy and includes good process, methodology, training, coaching, enablement, and simple, effective technology to support all of the above.

We believe Membrain is the best tool to enable your sales team, and that our partners are the best consultants to help you achieve strategic alignment and develop a truly effective sales organization. Get in touch with us today to find out how.

George Brontén
Published July 10, 2019, written by

George Brontén

George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto "Don't settle for mainstream", he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills and processes.

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