Innovative products, reasonably priced, are coveted commodities, but there is no guarantee they will sell. Virtually every product can be duplicated and improved upon by competitors. Products alone—regardless of quality—do not generate revenue. Likewise, services, operations, management, and administration are important aspects of business, but they do not generate revenue. Salespeople do. In fact, the most profitable companies are those that create and maintain a “sales culture.” What is meant by this term?
In a broad sense, “culture” may be defined as a common set of beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. At the macro level, nations have dominant and distinctive cultures; at the micro level, so do business enterprises. Culture, at its best, is the glue that holds an organization together. A sales culture encourages and rewards ambition, innovation and success. It compels behaviors beneficial to the enterprise. A sales culture, in sum, creates and sustains a common vision: the generation of revenue.
The company with a sales culture focuses its resources accordingly. It acknowledges that its sales force is not a vending machine that customers will simply stroll up to and make purchases. Salespeople must make calls, and accounts must be serviced. The sales-driven organization maintains its focus: it invests in sales people, sales collateral, sales leadership, sales leads, and sales development. These are the drivers of revenue.
A Super-Bowl-winning football team never stops drilling and practicing. Likewise, sales professionals fortunate enough to work within a sales culture are much more likely to thrive and prosper. Like championship teams, they never stop learning, practicing, training, and coaching. The wise executive constantly assesses the “players” on his team—directors, managers, and reps alike—to identify those who lead and contribute to the sales culture, and those who may need additional development.
An exemplary product is important, of course, and one should never neglect management, administration, or services. But successful executives invest the time and effort necessary to define, shape, and maintain a revenue-driven culture.