Sales & Culture: Music To My Ears


I’m a sales and marketing consultant and I spend a lot of time speaking and learning about culture.  Why? Because in order for sustainable revenue growth to occur, there has to be the right culture to support the growth.

First, let’s have a look at culture: Culture is the beliefs, behaviours, attitudes, language, tone, and personality of your organization. It takes time and energy to evolve and it is the most precious aspect of your company. And without a strong corporate culture, your sales team will only go so far.

Culture eats strategy for breakfast, operational excellence for lunch, and everything else for dinner.
— Peter Drucker

To demonstrate this further, let’s use the analogy of an Opera performance. On the stage are the Opera singers, below the stage is the orchestra and maestro, in the audience are the spectators. If the opera singers are singing one note, and the orchestra is playing another, while the maestro is instructing another, what do you think the reaction of the audience is going to be?

Compare that to your organization, whereby the Opera singers are the customer-facing positions within the organization; the orchestra represents the company operations; and the maestro is the leadership. If the beliefs, behaviours, attitudes, language, tone and personality is not shared, your customers and prospects (your audience) are going to be lost and confused at best, and deeply dissatisfied and angered at worst. This is why I always recommend to clients that we first spend time looking at their current culture before diving into sales and marketing strategies and plans. 

Signs that your company culture might me out of tune?

  •  A resistance to growth
  •  An increase in customer complaints / high customer turnover
  •  An increase in errors or a decrease in on time delivery
  •  Dissatisfied employees (often resulting in high turnover)
  •  Broken brand promises
  •  Finger-pointing and blame games
  •  Lack of honest, candid feedback from all levels
  •  Stagnant innovation

Signs that your company culture is an award-winning performance?

  •  The vision, mission and values are believed in by all
  •  Plans are sound are motivational
  •  Cross-functional teams exist, comprised of both customer-facing and non-customer facing team members
  •  Collaborative solution-creation is common place
  •  Authentic caring and celebrations for team success across the entire organization
  •  Leaders at all levels welcome and reward feedback and ideas
  •  Laughter and friendships are abundant
  •  Employees feel cared for as individuals