Budgets are tight and money is scarce. You need to build an incredibly driven workforce and an incredibly effective sales team. Start-ups and established organizations deal with this reality every day so how do you build the right sales culture?
The answer is to create a viral environment of good tippers.
Let’s assume that the members of your sales force make the majority of their compensation plan through some sort of commission structure. Let’s also assume that the members of your support staff have no bonus plan and rely on salary as their sole compensation. Good organizations understand the value of proper bonus structures for non-sales staff but my experience tells me that these plans are difficult to develop, enforce, quantify, budget, justify and implement fairly. Worse yet, if your organization is small and doesn’t actually have the budget for it, then it becomes an impossible endeavor that inevitably leads to a major morale problem.
Building a culture of “everybody wins” is synonymous with building a culture of “everybody sells”. True that not every single employee has the ability or experience to sell your product or service but they can sell their respective expertise to both internal and external clients. They should be encouraged and rewarded for that. As a salesperson, you reward them by tipping them. If you win, they win.
Regardless of whether or not your organization formally recognizes a peripheral commission/bonus plan for support staff, your sales force absolutely should. They should proactively create an internal plan and you should help administer it so that you can observe and encourage from a distance. They are the ones that either know who has been effectively involved or they should make strides to find out. They should take care of those that help them close the deal and be consistent in their tipping out of their own pockets. Everything is relative in this model and inconsistencies are quickly realized. A natural and viral buzz is created that eventually leads to an infectious drive for reward. Those that are “taken care of” continue to stand out and those that choose not to be involved quickly establish themselves otherwise.
You start to notice complimentary skills and opportunities in employees that may not have previously stood out. You also enhance your pipeline as an added benefit which could eventually help to fund a more formal “tipping” model. Everybody wins because everybody is vested.
Having implemented this type of plan in the past more than once, I can report that aside from a few administrative snags and personality realizations, it works amazingly well and has a ton of side benefits. You are guaranteed to learn a lot more about your staff to make intelligent strategic decisions and ultimately grow your bottom line. I won’t pretend that this always goes smoothly but it will give you a very good sense of how you’ve been hiring both in sales and support roles. The concept of creative commissions and good tipping is the basis for building an effective company culture where everybody sells.