Quick, think of the top five software companies in the world in your mind. Do you see Google, Oracle, SAP, Salesforce.com (Salesforce.com will be soon enough), and Microsoft? What do the majority of them have in common? Hard. Core. Sales. Culture. They have the largest, most aggressive, most highly compensated sales teams around. Sales, sales, sales — it’s what they do.
Here are seven ideas for developing a sales-oriented culture:
- Celebrate the wins, even the small ones, with significant company-wide recognition (e.g. a funny email to everyone highlighting the most recent deal and how the sales person won it, with some embellishment)
- Pick an arch enemy, your most hated competitor, and publicly display an award every time they are beat in a head-to-head deal
- Build a clear career path for sales people and make it a black and white process to be promoted to each stage
- Develop sales management training programs and mentor programs to always have a strong leadership pipeline
- Highlight the sales people’s quarter-to-date quota rankings on a large LED TV to foster competition and internal rivalries
- Recognize top performing sales people at all hands meetings, quarterly celebrations, trade shows, etc — sales people love public recognition
- Heavily weight the sales team’s input into the product roadmap as the roadmap is the most hotly contested document in a startup
99% of software doesn’t sell itself. People sell software. No, sales people sell software. Many of the most successful software companies have a sales-oriented culture.
What else? What are some other ideas for developing a sales-oriented culture?