In many circles there still exists the notion that if you get the right skill set in a sales person, they will sell and contribute to the top and bottom lines. Unfortunately, it is not that simple. If you hire people without considering culture fit, you are probably compromising your chances of running a successful team.
Why Does Culture Matter? An organization’s culture is its values, visions, habits, language and beliefs. Culture, more than any other factor including training, policies and leadership, is the glue that keeps everyone focused and working together. Culture affects how staff behave and how they interact with each other and customers.
During my early days as a sales manager, I hired a rep because of his domain knowledge and outgoing personality. My company was a high customer service company and when I hired him I overlooked the fact that he had grown up working in sales environments where customers were not given a ton of respect. We kept butting heads on the importance of transparency with customers and keeping the promises we had made. What I came to realize is that his values were at odds with ours and we eventually parted ways.
Often we are trying to achieve big goals that require a lot of things to go well. Hiring sales team members whose values align with the company vision and culture will make managing them a heck of a lot easier and it will ensure that they work effectively together. Even if a rep is out on the road all the time, they still have to spend some time working with other team members on the sales team and customer service and finance. Hire someone who doesn’t fit your culture and in a best case scenario, they leave wasting your time and money, but in a worst case scenario they stay and frustrate your customer, your efforts to be successful and might become a cancer that is difficult to control.
Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.
He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.