July 3, 2023
From Purpose to Performance: How a Clear Team Purpose Transforms Sales Teams
In the world of sales, training is often seen as the key to unlocking performance excellence. And while that's true to some extent, there's a missing piece of the puzzle that can elevate sales training initiatives from good to extraordinary. That missing piece is a clear team purpose.
Every company wants to have a team of sales superheroes. But it's not just selling skills that lead to great pipelines. Extraordinary salespeople are fueled by a sense of purpose and high-performing teams fueled by a shared sense of purpose. They don't just sell products or services; they're on a mission to make a genuine impact on their customers' lives and their own lives.
Purpose creates energy. Teams with a clear and compelling purpose perform better. It’s as simple as that.
And this purpose-driven approach is not puppy dogs and ice cream feel-good stuff — it's backed by research that will make even the most skeptical sales leader take notice. Studies have shown that purpose-driven employees sell 37% more, experience 66% less sick leave, and exhibit 51% less turnover. When purpose fuels a team, it's a win-win situation for both the team members and the company's bottom line.
Why aren't sales teams jumping all over this? First, many sales reps get classified as "lone wolves" who are only driven by money and therefore don't need a larger purpose. While money can — and should! — motivate reps, today's customer engagements need lone wolves who bring in great accounts and who can collaborate across internal stakeholders in order to provide a great customer experience. In other words, a sales rep's individual purpose and team purpose don't have to be the same, but they do have to overlap.
The second reason teams tend to gloss over the idea of developing a team purpose is a bit more controversial. What if the product doesn't really create a greater good? What if it does, but the customer facing reps don't realize it? What if the organization's vision is weak, insincere or doesn't exist at all? This is where things get really interesting because many teams face these realities to varying degrees. This requires a longer conversation, but team and individual purpose don't always need to directly connect to a product. Also, a weak corporate purpose does not mean a team cannot develop their own. There are great case studies here that will be told in the future. Don't worry, the names will be changed to protect the guilty!
So, how can you tap into the power of purpose within your sales team?
It starts with coming together as a unit to work through several key questions. The goal is to develop each individual's purpose alongside the team purpose and find areas of overlap. When your team members connect their personal passions and aspirations to the overarching team purpose, it creates a deeper sense of meaning and fulfillment. This alignment of personal and team purpose is where energy is created, propelling each individual to achieve greatness and go the extra mile for their customers.
I like to have teams follow the structure below because it covers the core questions that need to be answered. Some teams like the achronym while others think it's corny. Either way, it's good because it starts getting to what makes each team tick.
This process can be done internally, or you can consider making it a workshop:
- P - Promote Shared Values
- U - Unified Goals
- R – Recognition
- P - Personal Alignment
- O - Ownership
- S - Support and Development
- E - Engage
The outcome of these sessions should include:
- A customized team purpose statement that supports the team’s values and goals.
- A clearer sense of individual purpose for each team member and how this works within the team.
- An agreed upon plan for future skills development and a revised interest in targeted sales training.
- A revised plan to improve collaboration both internally and with customers.
Whether done remotely or face-to-face, these sessions are guaranteed to shake things up within your team and significantly increase employee engagement.
Let me know how team purpose impacts you and your colleagues!