How can your organization sell more and sell smarter? By creating a powerful sales culture – an environment that inspires and engages everyone in the organization to become part of the virtual sales team and support the sales efforts.

What Is Sales Culture?
Sales culture is the concept that everyone in an organization is in sales – including CEOs, accountants, lawyers, administrative assistants, as well as sales team members. Organizations with a sales culture are full of sales professionals – people who embrace the concept that they have a role in sales, whether they are directly or indirectly involved with the sales transaction. Companies with a sales culture have discovered that by mobilizing and harnessing the power of the entire organization they can effectively boost overall revenues, profitability, and growth.

The Roles of Sales Professionals versus Sales Reps
When it comes to sales organizations, there are two basic types of team roles – sales representatives and sales professionals. We’re not necessarily talking about two different people, though. Depending upon what role an individual is playing in the sales process at any particular time, that person could be using the skills of a sales rep or a sales professional. In fact, it’s important for everyone in an organization to be aware of these roles and when and why they need to exhibit behavior of a sales rep versus a sales professional. Nurturing both sets of skills across the entire organization is what builds a truly powerful sales culture.

Both of these basic roles share the same basic set of skills needed to be successful. These skills include the ability to:
• Represent a company’s products and services to potential clients and prospects
• Develop expertise in an industry niche
• Know the value proposition and competition cold
• Know when to leverage other people to help bring a deal to closure
• Handle objections
• Do a great job at qualifying prospects
• Know when to ask for the business to close the deal.

So then, what differentiates a sales professional from a sales representative? Sales representatives are primarily focused on the present, their individual roles, and the here and now of a specific sale. They become fully engaged in providing product information to each customer with their primary goal set at getting a contract signed. A good sales rep is very effective in this type of situation.

On the other hand, while sales professionals also need to encompass the roles of a sales rep, they exhibit an important, additional set of skills. Sales professionals must take a step beyond their individual roles and the immediate sale to also consider the bigger picture. They are constantly aware of the overall sales campaign and the virtual team of supporters that contributes expertise to the close of each sale. They do a great job of developing high “Relationship Portability“™ – building strong, long-term business relationships that extend beyond their current day-to-day sales.

Sales Professionals – The Key to Building a Strong Sales Culture

Although sales professionals may at times also need to focus on the daily details of their jobs and closing each sale, they continually create a culture that engages all relevant players in the sales process.

When dealing directly with a customer, they can operate as a sales rep focused on the sale – doing great discovery and managing their target list. Yet they never lose sight of the importance of creating a system that brings everyone’s best efforts to the forefront of the sales campaign. Sales professionals are the primary players in an organization who “rally the troops” to build a strong overall sales culture. And, a strong sales culture ultimately drives more sales.

As you look at your own organization, does everyone understand when and how to perform like a sales professional versus a sales rep?

Author's Bio: 

Since 1984, Todd Cohen has coached and led sales teams to deliver more than $500 million in revenue for leading companies including Xerox, Gartner Group, Pensare, Thomson-Reuters, and LexisNexis.

As the Principal of SalesLeader LLC, Todd inspires, advises, and builds high performance sales teams that produce outstanding results. He also provides strategic oversight for sales teams and serves as executive sales coach and advisor to clients
ranging from small, rapidly growing start-ups to well-established, large corporations.

Todd is a frequent speaker at sales conferences and national association meetings and hosts his own radio show “Let’s Talk Sales Culture.” Todd’s book “Everyone’s in Sales” will be out in summer 2011.

Todd is the founder of The Innovators Club, co-founder of LinkedIn Live Philly, and co-leader of Career Transitions – a non-profit group dedicated to helping professionals in transition. He is a professional member of the National Speakers Association, a board member of the NSA Philadelphia chapter, and serves as chair of the Sales and Marketing group of the Greater Philadelphia Senior Executives Group.

Todd has been active in the American Cancer Society as well as several other charitable organizations. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Temple University.

For a free consult about how to create a powerful sales culture for your organization, email or call 866-515-9445. For free resources to share with your team, go to