Sales Rituals

Extraordinary Rituals – BBC2

I was watching the excellent program Extraordinary Rituals on BBC2 that explores the spectacular and emotional world of rituals.  The episode Great Gatherings looked at rituals that bring people together in huge numbers, that help us feel part of something greater than ourselves.

How does that resonate with the sales profession?

We were thinking about our own sales leadership experience the effect of rituals on motivation, collaboration and wellbeing.

Organisations have their own rites of passage. The initiation ceremony of the new starter, equipping her a name badge to identify her as part of the tribe. The meeting colleagues and greeting the Chief. A few months in we have the celebration of the first deal, followed by the successful attainment of quota, then perhaps a promotion to sales management.

These are all milestones to embed into your sales environment with accolades, celebrations and recognition. Placing the initiation into your teams engender a sense of collective and team bonding that is essential for collective attainment of sales goals.

Great Gatherings in sales take place at the annual conference. Here, we listen to the Leaders make proclamations and learn about the new developments. We also hear stories of success from around the globe of how our sales colleagues slew the competition and won a new logo. We whoop, cheer and venerate those who make it on to the stage to pick up their medals. We then return back to our outposts, programmed with the new mantras and sales plays that can help us beat the competition and secure our quotas for the campaign ahead.

We have had a mixed experience at sales conferences, the key to success we believe is taken from these deeply entrenched rituals seen on the programme they have to be genuine, authentic and embedded from the top.

Thirdly, the most successful teams we ran, developed our own rituals. These became embedded in the DNA of sales team, then in some cases expanding throughout the company.  We enshrined creativity, and valued tenacity, even if the deal didn’t close, we valued the endeavour, relived the story and took learnings from the project. Through this our teams became more empowered and inspired to try and didn’t fear failure.

Rituals have existed for millennia and can be powerful events for sales leaders if initiated with care and authenticity.  There are plenty of events in the sales profession to rally round and ritualise, just free the spirit.  Performance Valued is the culture we developed and now sharing with sales organisations.