Start with Culture: Building Your Sales Development Program from the Ground Up

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There’s something to be said for chemistry.

Arbitrarily throw people together and the results will be mixed. But actively seek out like-minded and complementary individuals, and you’re launching from a place of success. Shared values, beliefs, and goals are the cornerstone of any strong organization, and that’s equally true for a romantic partnership, sports team, business endeavor…

Or Sales Development program.

Start with core values and behavior. That’s your team culture, and it will literally determine and influence everything else.

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” ~Peter Drucker

It’s easier to find employees and build processes that align with your culture than it is to force existing ones that just don’t fit. Round hole, square peg.

Work smarter and start with culture.

Craft Your Culture

Too often, corporate culture is implied rather than explicitly defined. We need to change that. We need to identify it, write it down, and share it with every stakeholder within your company, department, or team.

Aside from making your job easier, an established culture can account for up to 20-30% of the differential in performance when compared to your competitors with no clear culture. Can you afford to ignore that?

Your first job as a Sales Development leader is to create and drive a strong culture.

The Building Blocks

Ask yourself and your team:

  • What beliefs are important to us?
  • What personal values do we pride ourselves on?
  • What are some attributes of a successful team culture?

Make a list together, either in person or collaboratively online. Distill it down to no more than 4-6 with a one sentence description for each. Write them out.

You might list collaborative, for example, adding that you work together to reach team goals irrespective of personal accolades.

Next, consider your ideal employee. What attributes do you see in your existing team members, and want in your future hires? Write them out.

Finally, think about your leadership style. How would the team describe it? Does it align with the culture you’re building? What do great leaders do on a daily basis? Write it out.

You now have the necessary building blocks.

Draft Your Culture Statement

A culture statement is similar to — and may even include — your mission statement. It is a summary of your core values, beliefs, traditions, and mission. A good one will guide your team’s behavior, priorities, and decisions.

It is thoughtful and explicit. It uses the active voice — “we believe…” and “our team is…” — positive attributes, and clear goals. Keep it to a paragraph or less. Review it together. Post it around the office and shared digital spaces. Revisit and revise as necessary.

Draft Your Ideal Team Member Statement

Look at the list you created for your ideal employee. Zero in on the 2-3 most important qualities you need and want in a team member. Write it out with either “The ideal member of the team is…” or “Our ideal team member…” or something similar.

Use it to identify not only the most talented candidates when hiring, but also those most suited to your evolving team culture.

Draft a Leadership Commitment Statement

What values do you bring as leader? What culture do you hope to cultivate with your team? What does that look like on a day-to-day basis? Write it out. “As a leader, I commit to…”

Draft a One-Page Summary

Put it all together on a single page that includes your culture, ideal team member, and leadership commitment statements. Add team goals and desired results for the next 90 days. Post it. Share it. Review it every three months.

Consistency builds culture.

The Three Tenets

Your culture should reflect your team, and vice versa. To build an SDR team that mirrors the culture, you need to prioritize three main tenets:

  1. People
  2. Process
  3. Technology

You’re only as strong as the people on your team. This is your top priority. You respect and value them through thoughtful recruitment, training, and performance management. Challenge them to be better.

Build strong processes that align with your people and culture. Identify and fix those that don’t. Analyze and maximize.

Provide the best technical support you can afford. Make sure every team member is getting the most out of it via workflow reviews.

At Tenbound, we’ve created an eight-part Sales Development management operating system that starts with culture for a reason.

It’s the foundation and blueprint for everything that follows it.

To learn more, purchase The Sales Development Framework: How to Build and Scale a Highly Productive Sales Development Program the book on Amazon

Book on how to build and scale a highly productive sales development program

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