Purpose has become an important tenet in business, yet the COVID-19 crisis demonstrates there’s often a disconnect between an organization’s aspirational purpose (make a difference to customers) vs. what gets emphasized on a daily basis in sales (hit the number).
In an earlier research study conducted by EY titled, Is Your Purpose Lectured or Lived?, it was revealed that as purpose cascades down an organization, employees lose the sense of purpose that many of their bosses claim to be pursuing. The belief that purpose is a strategy, and decision-making tools fall by as much as 50% by the time it gets to the vice president (VP) level. Working virtually has only exaggerated that disconnect. McLeod says, “In our decade of work with sales teams, it’s clear that when leadership fails to infuse a customer-driven purpose into the daily cadence of sales, the sales team runs the risk of becoming transactional, and being deemed self-serving or irrelevant by customers.”
Sales organizations that can align themselves around the noble cause of customers will emerge as trusted advisors. What’s changed in the post-COVID-19 world is that buyers now expect this to be more than mere sales techniques, they expect it to be part of a sales organization’s DNA.
The difference between sales organizations who thrive and those that falter will be found by looking beyond the quantitative metrics that sales teams traditionally have been using to measure performance.
The secret for winning hearts and minds is more qualitative than quantitative. And this secret lies within the sales meeting’s agendas. It is in the way leaders provide coaching and in the data they track in their customer relationship management (CRM) tool. It shows up in the formats they use for call planning and the post-call debriefs. And it’s the basis for stories that sales professionals tell each other and their customers.
These seemingly small elements within the organization are the places where purpose can be activated. These interactions and systems will point a sales team in one of two directions. They either point sales team internally, toward their own sales targets, or they will point the sales team toward their noble purpose, ensuring that they look externally toward the impact they have on customers.
A sales team that is inspired and aligned around the graciousness, trust and noble purpose of making a difference to customers is a force with which to be reckoned.