Want a Winning Culture? Share Your Epic Fails

When you think about building a winning culture, it can be easy to focus on the positive. It’s logical (and fun!) to share success stories, inspire teamwork, and align the team on common goals.

But what we often fail to consider is that teams can come together even more strongly when they are aligned against a common threat or problem. The same instinct can help your team bond around lessons learned.

Here are 3 ways to build a winning culture through sharing epic fails.

1. Add structure to your winning culture with deal breakdowns.

I’m starting with the most obvious way to share epic fails, yet it’s one that many firms find difficult.

As a best practice, it’s highly beneficial to break down both wins and losses in a structured way with your team. Unless you have a very low number of opportunities, this isn’t likely a process you’ll use on every one, but most major deals should go through this process.

Develop a template with basic questions such as the lead source, sales approach, key milestones, and what contributed to the successes and failures. Don’t forget to look for successes in deals you lost and areas for improvement in deals you ended up winning.

Have the salespeople who were working on an opportunity present their case study, then allow their teammates to ask questions and make suggestions. It can be helpful to ask everyone to share one thing they might do differently, especially for losses.

The purpose of this exercise is not at all to shame your team members for losing deals. Instead, it allows everyone to learn from what didn’t work so they can avoid making the same mistakes for themselves.

2. Nurture your winning culture with brainstorming.

Sales can often feel like one challenge after another. You work to find a target, struggle to reach them, fight to keep them engaged, and combat radio silence and budget constraints. It’s exhausting!

In your sales team meetings, make sure you include time for brainstorming solutions to the challenges your team members are having with their opportunities. Ask them to share their problems and work together on solutions.

Here are some questions you might hear from your team:

  • Who can provide a warm referral to a target?
  • What clients have we worked with in a specific industry?
  • My prospects are asking me for information on a specific topic or trend. Who can help?
  • What ideas does the team have to restart a stalled opportunity?
  • What are the best success stories to share with a prospect?

Developing the habit of brainstorming solutions to sales challenges is a key part of building a winning culture in your sales team.

3. Add humor (and learning) to your winning culture by sharing epic fails.

Have you ever said exactly the wrong thing in a prospect meeting? Maybe you accidentally praised a competitor of theirs, insulted someone, or just put your foot in your mouth.

While sometimes these failures are one-offs, they can also be a good learning experience. Maybe one of your sales reps tried a new way of talking about your fee and it backfired. It might be a one-off, but it might also be helpful to share that so the rest of the team doesn’t try it too.

It can be helpful to include an area in your Sales PlayBook to share these “epic fails.” Ideally, your team will provide sympathy and humor, but they’ll also improve their own interactions with prospects.

Again, it’s important to focus on building a healthy culture, not mocking people or making them uncomfortable. But laughing together can be helpful.

If you enjoyed thinking of how to use epic fails to build a winning culture, I hope you’ll enjoy our resource on building a healthy sales culture!

Free eBook: How to Develop a Healthy Sales Culture

By | 2017-05-30T15:55:18+00:00 June 1st, 2017|Sales Leaders|0 Comments

About the Author:

Elizabeth is CFS's Operations Officer and Senior Advisor and is the Product Manager for the Criteria for Success Sales PlayBook. She writes about sales leadership, management, teamwork, motivation, and process based on her work with CFS's clients.

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