For a VP of Sales, developing a learning culture in sales is one of the top priorities.
By definition, a learning culture is a culture that enable transfer of knowledge. Many VPs of sales think that they need to be the ones doing the transferring. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Instead, salespeople should learn to transfer knowledge in the form of best practices with each other. I call this a self-regulating team. They look out for each other and encourage everyone to do their best to succeed.
In this blog post, I’m going to outline some of the key reasons of having a learning culture in sales is important.
Leaning Culture in Sales: Healthy Competition
A learning culture can contain a healthy dose of competition. Competition motivates the team to continuously perform outside of its comfort zone. Competition is best practiced when the person you’re competing against is yourself. People learn must faster when there is something at stake.
Leaning Culture in Sales: Stories
To preserve a learning culture, invite outsiders to train your salespeople to learn state of the art selling practices.
A learning culture extends outwardly and some of the best lessons can be brought back from the field. Your clients provide great insights and are a great source of success stories. I’m always telling my team stories about how I worked deals.
Story about a prospect:
A prospect recently canceled on my three times and her admin didn’t give me a new date. I called her directly. “How would you want me to train your salespeople to respond in the same situation?” I asked. She surprised me with an apology and we set a date for a meeting with her and the executive committee. I shared this story with my team and we used it to drive a great conversation about how to deal with similar situations.
Story about a friend:
My friend in sales was told by senior management to collect her prospect’s bills as a qualifier to doing business. It took quite a while for her company to process the information and get back to her. She invented a new approach, using am Excel model that she reviewed with prospective customers. She quickly shot to the number one position on her team. Because her VP of Sales had designed a learning culture in his organization, he asked her to share her success with the rest of the team. Others followed suit and the rest of the team blew away their quarter target.
Leaning Culture in Sales: Clients
At Criteria for Success, we practice what we preach when it comes to instilling a culture of learning in our own organization and that of our clients.
Whenever we have a discovery of our own, we make sure to share it with our clients so they can benefit from it as well.
When hiring new reps, we highlight “learning” as a component of the salesperson’s job description. The expectation to learn and teach others is set early before the person is hired.
Additionally, our learning culture was a key contributor to something else we focus on with our clients. We discovered how to set goals in a way that makes them more achievable. One small but important step is to time block the accomplishment of goals in our calendars. Instead of hoarding this information to myself, or even with my own team, it’s something that we integrate into all of our trainings.
Leaning Culture in Sales: The Sales PlayBook
This is why learning culture in sales is so important. What took years to learn can be transferred to staff quickly through your personalized Sales PlayBook. By sharing with others, we remind ourselves of key fundamentals that continue to make us successful. Sharing is a great way to reconnect and reinforce those best practices. And, it all happens via the Sales PlayBook
In the end, there are many reasons why it’s important to have a learning culture in sales. It all comes down to having fun and working hard. Learning doesn’t need to be tedious, nor does it need to happen in solitude.
Have any other ideas on why a learning culture in sales is important? Let us know in the comments!