What is a winning business culture? Why these values?

What is your highest and best use? What is the one thing that if you were to only concentrate on this and only do this, it would be enough to move the needle in the direction you wish to go each day? For many entrepreneurs and professional business folks, it is sales. The great news is that nothing else happens until something is sold. Once something gets sold, this sets the wheels of all the other business components in motion. Selling is the lifeblood of all business, both offline and online. Without selling, there is no business. It’s all just show. Selling is a wonderful highest and best use to concentrate on.

Salespeople are proud of what they do. They realize its importance. They know it is hard and they push on. They have to persist for if they don’t, they know much of what they sell won’t move. they have to be experts in multiple domains: product; tech; teaching; presenting; writing; entertaining; pitching; even admin work, their favorite. Some of these hats are hard to wear. Some even dislike a few of these activities. Yet they persist through them and see them as necessary. Their usual complaint is there are never enough hours in the day for selling, and they’re usually right. The more time they can spend on sales, the better their numbers. And they know all about numbers.

Companies with sales-first or sales-based cultures thrive. Look at Salesforce (SF). From the top to the bottom, SF fires on all cylinders. They’ve been so successful that they’re written and re-written the book on sales culture. SF founded the Software as a Service (SAAS) business model. They’re an industry leader not only by default, but by behavior. In their 20 year existence, they’ve persisted, pushed through difficulties, and created their way through their industry. Further, they’ve penetrated every vertical market for CRM you can think of, blowing the doors off of industries that thought CRM wasn’t for them, like nonprofits. That’s salesmanship. They’ve set — and continue to set — the sales standard. The great news is they put it on public display for others to learn from.

Sales-first company cultures put salespeople first. They realize the vitality of the organization is based upon growing revenue, so why wouldn’t they do everything they could to support their sales organization? Leaders give their salespeople enough resources, training, coaching and support for them to be successful in the field. A common compliant of salespeople throughout business is a lack of support. This is typically not an issue with sales-first companies. Sales folks should never be lacking in this regard. They should have more than what they need to get the job done. The culture is designed for them to thrive. And why wouldn’t leaders want them to thrive? If sales thrives, everyone else thrives, too. Remember: sales is the lifeblood of the organization. Everything else is predicated upon sales.

Sales-centric companies understand that it is all about the relationship they have with their customers. They know this is vital to their continued success. They see customers as their partners and desire long-term relationships with them all. If they meet someone who is disgruntled with their existing vendor or supplier, people know that’s their cue to move in. It is an opening, an opportunity. Great salespeople put relationships first, before the sale. Yes, numbers are important. But the relationship transcends even those. It is paramount.

Relationships even count online because customer treatment is imperative. People will not tolerate poor online service, lack of speedy fulfillment and delivery, or other misfires. Top companies have made the online ordering world so seamless, so near-perfect that those are the expectations now. It’s a high bar, and those who cannot achieve these service levels get left behind. Often it is not the tech to blame. It is other areas that drop the ball. Wonderful online marketing and selling cannot fix the other problems that may exist in the customer journey. Those must be addressed separately. Remember: it is still all about the customer relationship, even online.

How you make people feel is vitally important. In fact, that’s what they pay a premium for. A sense of belonging, a sense of greatness, a sense of exclusivity is that premium feeling. Whatever you can do to create that feeling over and over and over again in your customers makes you and your company a winner. It is more than just the product. It is more than just the service. It is the feeling you instill in your customers along with the product or service. How do they feel about doing business with you? How confident are they in your deliverables? How much do they trust you? How do they benefit by doing business with you? What’s in it for them?