Establishing a Winning Sales Culture Through Vision and Values

February 23, 2015

A sales culture that is highly productive and always improving begins with articulating and applying your vision and values.

It took me 12 years of running Sales Ops to finally realize why Sales Ops exists: to nurture a sales culture that is highly productive and always improving.

Many Sales Ops leaders believe their primary responsibility is to manage CRM, processes, data, training, compensation, analytics, forecasting, enablement — the list goes on. These are all a means to an end. What we’re really working towards is the optimal sales culture.

This is the first in a new series of articles that will help you establish the foundations of a winning sales culture. Each will focus on a particular key aspect of developing and sustaining your sales culture effectively:

  1. Forming Your Sales Culture Through Vision and Values
  2. Guiding Your Sales Culture Through Content & Capture
  3. Expanding Your Sales Culture Through Capacity & Compensation
  4. Nurturing Your Sales Culture Through Community & Cadence
  5. Simplifying Your Sales Culture Through Clarity & Consistency

The series will culminate in a free webinar covering all five of these keys, which you can register for here.

How Do You Define Sales Culture?

Before we go any further, let’s agree on a common definition for sales culture as “the environment in which salespeople collectively develop the attitudes and habits that determine their sales results.”

The reason I like this definition is that we must embrace the fact that cultures are organic and cannot be controlled. You can, however, nurture the people and manage the environment in which they operate. As a sales leader, you have two primary tools at your disposal to help you do that: your company’s vision and your values.

Establishing the Foundation for a Winning Sales Culture Through Your Vision

Your first tool available to you as a Sales Ops leader is your company’s vision. A clear, compelling, client-focused vision will inspire salespeople to go above and beyond. It’s no accident the greatest sales performers often sell a solution that they believe in to a target market/industry that they care about. They want to make their mark on that industry, and your vision invites them to be a big part of something big.

Consider which of these two visions would resonate with top sales performers:

  • “To be the market leader in our industry delivering world-class innovative solutions.”  This vision sounds big, but it is vague and filled with meaningless buzz words. It lacks clarity and is all about the company, not the client.
  • “To excite the [enter industry] industry with fresh solutions that simplify their everyday lives and liberate them to innovate unhindered.”  In contrast, this sample vision is clear, compelling, and client-focused. It speaks to both the heart and the mind.

Establishing the Foundation for a Winning Sales Culture Through Your Values

Complementing your vision are your values. These aren’t just the values of your company, but more specifically values that govern how you sell. By identifying and articulating your sales values often, and by applying them deliberately you will create a healthy peer pressure in your sales culture. While vision sets the high-level direction of your company, values touch your day-to-day sales activities.

An effective set of values will marry your ethics with your revenue-generating focus. Here are some examples of sales values:

  • Simplicity: We deliver a client experience that is simple and intuitive.
  • Integrity: We honor our commitments and commit only to what we know we can honor.
  • Collaboration: The team’s success is my success. We work together for the sake of our clients.
  • Qualification: We qualify opportunities well, so we don’t waste our time on deals that will never materialize.

Putting Vision & Values into Practice

Your vision is the foundation of your sales culture and your values are the pillars. Posting them on a wall is not enough. Keep them alive and relevant by finding creative ways to constantly communicate and reinforce them. Reference them in every meeting. Recognize a team member who has applied them well. When someone strays away call them out. Use your vision and values to steer the development of your sales processes. They are meant to be applied, not just written.

Free On-Demand Webinar

Getting your sales reps to perform consistently and at their full potential can be a very painful exercise. But what if you could cultivate a sales environment that organically keeps your reps’ performance high and constantly improving? Exceeding aggressive quotas can become the norm.

Join me to learn five keys to cultivating a high performance sales culture by registering below.


Photo by: johnthescene

Founder & Principal

Michael has led revenue operations at some of the world's fastest growing technology companies, including Shopify, Intuit, Clio and Eloqua (now Oracle Marketing Cloud). He is known for his ability to develop high-impact leaders, and align customer-facing teams to deliver sustainable revenue growth. Michael is happily married to Dana Hanna, his co-founder and wife of 23 years. They founded Hanna Strategy to help companies grow and leaders mature to their next level of impact. He offers coaching for Founders and Revenue Leaders, and consulting for B2B companies looking to systematize their revenue growth.