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How to build a high-performing sales culture


What makes a high-performing sales team? It’s not fancy CRM machines or gleaming sales reports. It’s not a fancy coffee machine in the break room or high-reward quota goals. The real determining factor for high performance is having a data-driven sales culture.

Sales productivity is a major problem for more than half of B2B organizations. None of the fake productivity and morale boosters listed above will change this problem. What will make an impact is a systemic culture change that motivates and supports the sales team to reach their goals.

Based on Salesforce research, top sales teams are three times more likely to use data analytics than under-performing teams, making it the top indicator of a high-performing sales team.

However, adjusting culture within any team or organization is no easy feat. Below are four steps you can take that will put your sales culture on the right track

Building a data-driven culture strategy

Creating a plan to make your organization more data-driven is the first step to building a data-driven sales culture. Start with a clear goal and create a strategy on how your organization will reach it. Give this goal a quantitative metric so it’s easier to track.

Some examples of quantitative sales goals: increase annual revenue by $x, increase productivity by xx% in Q1, increase overall conversion rate by xx% by xx date, increase quarterly lead quality by xx%.

When developing this goal-oriented plan, consider including:

  • Short and long-term objectives
  • Current KPIs and if those will need to change
  • Who owns which metrics
  • Delegation of responsibilities
  • Team alignment on objectives
  • Rough timeline of goal milestones
  • Obstacles that may prevent or delay implementation
  • Process for installation and on-boarding of any tools
  • Training for end-users on tools
  • Review sessions to continue optimization

Each organization is different and has unique needs. Be sure to add any other items to this plan that may be important to adjusting your sales organization to be more data-driven.

2. Align on larger goals

A study by Censuswide and Geckoboard shows that metric-driven companies are more than 2x as likely to hit their goals.

So the next step is to ensure that all teams and stakeholders are aligned with your data-driven plan. For this to work seamlessly across teams, there needs to be a path of direct and open communication.

Start by sharing your plan with stakeholders/team members and reiterating the value of building a data-driven culture and reaching your quantitative goal.

Often, sales reps misunderstand the intentions of management teams and feel they’re being forced into robotic processes or that unnecessary sales steps are being added. But the real goal here is to drive efficiency and growth; make sure these benefits are well understood.

3. Ownership of metrics

Clearly define ownership of the data. Determine which team is in charge of delivering which metrics/KPIs, define how those metrics should be reported and create a system where data quality is ensured.

In larger organizations, it might make sense to appoint one member of each team to be in charge of the data from the marketing, sales, support, product and other teams. This cross-departmental team can then collaboratively solve any challenges that arise

4. Metric check-ins

Set up regular status meetings to track progress against your goal. Research shows that the more often you review a metric, the more likely you are to reach it.

This could be as simple as touching base for 15-minutes every week or a deep analysis on a monthly basis. Whatever method, just make sure there are multiple check-ins before your deadline to reach your goal. This allows you to collaborate and correct any problems that may prevent that goal from being met before your deadline.

Consider using a Design Thinking approach to quickly iterate and come up with improvement ideas. Or, it might be worthwhile to consider running your process as sprints, an approach many software development teams have been very successful with. This involves tackling big complex projects in small steps on a weekly basis.

By Jessica Munday


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