How to Reject a “Fit-In" Sales Culture

The reality is that sometimes a salesperson is confronted with a culture that encourages sameness — copying best in class sales organizations, following academic pedagogy, complying with consultant expertise and conforming to internal company practices.They feel stifled; stepping out from accepted norms in terms of how the sales job is performed is simply not an option if one is to avoid being labeled as a loner — not a team player — and if employment continuity is the end game.So what options does a salesperson have if they want to be creative and be different but the culture says conform to established sales scripture?Recognize that the world is not black or white; either fit in or step out are not the only considerations when faced with this dilemma.

This is the approach that I used in an organization that reeked of adhering to strict standards of performance.

No deviation hereFirst, define the areas of the job where conformance is expected and no deviation is tolerated. If, for example, copying best practices is mandated for a specific sales function like funnel management in order to have everyone doing it consistently then accept it and perform the function in amazing fashion. Freedom hereSecond, look for other aspects of the sales role where compliance rules haven’t been defined. Innovate and step outin these areas. There is ample opportunity to be different in areas beyond sales process generally where defining compliance standards is more difficult.These simple actions worked for me to perform my role differently than others and shed the shackles of compliance. Personal brand Build your personal brand strategy on the principle of standing out from the crowd. You need a strategy to guide your actions outside of the conformity zone. Teamwork with marketingLead the teamwork process with marketing to get more support for the sales team. A simple act that will benefit the entire sales organization; be known as the person who championed the cause. Client relationship buildingBe THE sales champion for relationship building with clients to complement a product sales focus. Long term success requires intimate customer relationships and loyalty; create your own rules for doing this and teach your sales colleagues. 180 degreesOutside of the compliance zone, do the opposite of what you observe others doing. Eliminate “boiler plate” thinking and create your own approach.Related: 6 Actions to Avoid Losing It After You’ve Got It Secrets Gather customer “secrets”; those deep innermost desires they have but will tell only their most trusted partner. Secrets pave the way to great sales at premium prices. Report cardIntroduce a sales internal report card; rate others in how well they support the sales organization. This is an excellent way to enhance the support receives from other functions in the organization. Customer championStep up to be the customer’s champion in side your organization. Be that salesperson who does whatever it takes to get an issue resolved; shield the customer from the pain of having to deal with your bureaucracy, rules and policies.You can be different in an environment that mandates compliance and sameness.And you can be an effective agent in changing the sales culture of your organizationfrom a copycat to a vibrant, innovative and creative one.