What Makes a Successful Sales Team?

An organization’s vision is a guiding image of success formed in terms of a huge goal. It is a description in words that conjures up a picture of the organization’s destination. A compelling vision will stretch expectations, aspirations, and performance. Without that powerful, attractive, valuable vision, why bother?

A mission statement communicates the essence of an organization to its stakeholders and customers, and failure to clearly state and communicate an organization’s mission can have harmful consequences around its purpose.

As Lewis Caroll, through the words of the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland says, “If you don’t know where you’re going, it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

Guiding principles are the consequence of a mission statement that are intended to inform or shape all subsequent decision-making, which also provides normative criteria allowing policy-makers to accept, reject or modify policy interventions and activities. They are a guiding set of ideas that are articulated, understood and supported by the organization’s workforce.

Values are beliefs which the organization’s workforce hold in common and endeavor to put into practice. The values guide their performance and the decisions that are taken. Ideally, an individual’s personal values will align with the spoken and unspoken values of the organization. By developing a written statement of the values of the organization, individuals have a chance to contribute to the articulation of these values, as well as to evaluate how well their personal values and motivation match those of the organization.

The “Human Capital Development Model,” created by Krauthammer International, is a logical process that can take top management concepts, and translate them into a context that has real meaning for staff at all levels.

The key to bringing this model to life is to answer the following questions:

o Do my team understand the organization’s vision and how their role moves the organization closer to achieving it?

o How can my sales team translate the organization’s mission into one that is relevant to them?

o How does the organization’s guiding principles impact on the day-to-day responsibilities of sales people?

o Which of the organization’s values does my sales team relate to?

o How can we interpret these values so they become compelling for each sales person?

An effective sales team understands the big picture and the context of their team’s work to the greatest degree possible. That includes understanding the relevance of their job and how it impacts the effectiveness of others and the overall team effort.

Too often, sales people are asked to work on an activity without being told how their role contributes to organization’s vision, much less how their efforts are impacting the ability of others to do their work.

Understanding the organization’s vision promotes collaboration, increases commitment and improves quality.

An effective team works collaboratively and with a keen awareness of interdependency.


  1. says

    Jonathan – thank you for this. It’s surprising how often we find it heard to identify an organisation’s vision as you define it. At McKinsey we would often start with ensuring that clients had an emotionally compelling vision of the future. I’d like to add another dimension though – leaders, especially in sales, require a personal vision – a future view of their professional destination as leader of their teams – when this is aligned with that of the organisation and is shared buy the individual sales professionals – well, just watch them perform. Bill Lang

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