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Sales Purpose Over Profit - Janice B Gordon

10 Powerful Reasons to Unlock the Power of Purpose and Transform your Sales Culture

“Sales is not a department it is an outcome of all the departments, all functions, all teams and individuals.”

Research shows that low engagement across organisations has a significant adverse impact on productivity and satisfaction within the organisation and influences the customer experience and outcomes.

Added to the global volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguousness (VUCA) has resulted in profound disengagement and poor trust in internal and external relationships.

The tendency for leader’s under-pressure from stakeholders and investors to focus solely on revenue target. Now not only the sales function but the whole organisation feels under pressure to produce the numbers at all cost.  Consequently, sales reps go for the low hanging fruit, they sell hard, cut corner and they discount. Everyone in the organisation feels undervalued, it is dog eat dog and that just within the organisation – it is horrid!

  • Your best people go
  • Your margins fall
  • Your customers leave
  • Your profits become losses if you do not turn the tide.

The Forbes article Purpose-Driven Selling: It Beats Quota-Driven Every Time identifies how the problem can escalate:

  1. Customers in turn view such sellers as a commodity
  2. Customer churn increases
  3. Contracts get jeopardized continuously over small dollar amounts
  4. Sales rep’s default response is to lower the prices
  5. Sales reps try to game the compensation plan, and
  6. views his or her fellow salespeople as the competition.

Contrary to this, a highly-engaged and trusted environment with purpose-driven people enables excellent collaboration between teams with positive outcomes. Purpose-oriented people are the top performers within a team, often in leadership roles. They have a persistent nature, proactively growing and leading.

For this reason, Purpose is the foundation of high performing organisations and individuals.  Purpose defines the culture, it aligns everyone with the organisational values and enables the team to realise their potential. Although most people would believe that money is the primary driver of top sales reps, this assumption is wrong!

Lisa Earle McLeod, author of Selling with Noble Purpose: How to Drive Revenue and Do Work That Makes You Proud, was part of a study that contributed to her book. This study revealed that “The top performers all had a far more pronounced sense of purpose than their more average counterparts. The salespeople who sold with noble purpose, who truly want to make a difference to customers, consistently outsold the salespeople who focused on sales goals and money.”

Given a sales leader that talks about selling a million units to hit quota targets and another that talks about serving and improving a million customers lives. The sales rep internal self-talk will treat people as numbers rather than as valued customers, depending on which message is relayed. It is not hard to understand why purpose-driven sales people outperform their quota-driven counterparts. Customers are instinctive and emotional in their decisions, they sense the difference and prefer purpose over profit.

John Kotter and James Heskett provide the first comprehensive critical analysis of how the culture of a corporation powerfully influences its economic performance. They facilitate the adoption of strategies and practices that continuously respond to changing markets and new competitive environments.”

If you want to find more references to the theory of high performance, then this HBR article is excellent.

Although over two decades ago, the Kotter and Heskett discovered that companies that focused on culture and more recent research still back this up, purpose drive culture increases sales:

  • Revenue increased – 4 times faster
  • Job creation rates grew – 7 times higher
  • Stock prices rose – 12 times faster Net Income and Profits climbed – 700+% higher

10 Reasons to Unlock the Power of Purpose and Transform your Sales Culture.

  1. Doing good for the world is a primary motivator
  2. Company cultural alignment with customer business strategy
  3. Sales reps understand their customers’ environments and goals better.
  4. Customers actively become loyal advocates of suppliers.
  5. Sales reps are more assertive in closing the deal, knowing it will help their customers.
  6. Lifetime value of the customer is higher.
  7. Increase collaboration within supplier organisation and sales team.
  8. Access to decision-makers that see the shared value and partnership opportunities.
  9. The conversations leaders have, accelerate culture and sales enablement
  10. The conversations sales leaders and reps have, drives customers enablement.

Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, authors of Built to Last, state that “organisations driven by purpose and values outperformed the market by 15 to one, and exceeded comparison companies by six to one.”

With a highly-engaged environment and purpose-driven people, you get high trust, a high collaboration between teams and individuals and accelerated results.

For sales to excel, customer satisfaction and sales enablement must be treated an outcome of every function, not just a function of sales.

To foster a customer success culture, everyone in your sales organisation must be passionate about helping customers achieve their goals. The culture is focused on delivering sales through selling value that they genuinely believe will help the customer.

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