The great generational shift is well underway. If it’s not yet affected your sales force, with Baby Boomers reaching retirement age at a rate of seven per minute, it likely will soon.
What can you do to ensure Millennials are ready to take the helm? Grow your sales culture.
A strong sales culture is essential for your organization’s success. You’ll need more professionals selling as part of your succession-planning practices.
When your professionals are supported by a strong sales culture and equipped to sell, you will create more opportunities, generate stronger revenues and profits, and be in a better position to diversify your services. You’ll also cultivate a larger pool of talent for future organizational leadership and potential partnership. Those future leaders will have proven they can generate revenue.
Here are four strategies for growing your sales culture:
1. Get professionals involved in sales earlier in their career. When they get to the level where they’re expected to develop business, they’ll have experience to draw on. Take them to business development meetings, allow them to participate in pursuits and RFPs, and create opportunities where they can contribute to associations or present at conferences.
2. Implement a formal sales framework across your organization. Consider sales or business development as you would other areas of expertise within your organization. As with processes, skill requirements, and certifications that require discipline, sales should be treated the same way. Implementing a sales framework with steps to follow, specific skill requirements, and milestones brings that same level of discipline that’s expected in other areas.
3. Make sales part of annual plans. Where appropriate, can there be an incentive for professionals to identify new business opportunities? For those designated as emerging leaders, introduce them to working toward a sales plan as early as possible. It will stretch them and foster engagement when they see themselves as contributing to the overall success of the organization.
4. Have more business conversations around the P&L. It’s easy to get siloed into a client or line of business. Take time to nurture business conversations that help your professionals understand the bigger picture. Increasing transparency around what makes the line of business or office profitable, what makes for ideal clients, or what the growth strategies are will help professionals understand their role in creating client success and the success of your organization.
Selling, when done professionally, helps your prospects and clients solve their biggest challenges. Your organization will be seen as more valuable and trusted through this lens. You’ll create more quality business development opportunities and more strategically grow your organization. But whether you call it business development or sales, take steps to build that culture in your organization.