Core Principles to Support Sales Culture

We at In the Funnel (ITF)- Toronto Sales Consulting are not big on mission statements to drive culture.

There is nothing more common than a mission statement that is completely unknown by every employee at the firm. It may be framed and even hanging on the wall of the lobby, but it is quite likely that nobody except visitors ever read it.

We prefer to provide Core Principles to drive culture within our sales teams.

Core Principles will guide activity and behaviors in the absence of any other direction. We position the Core Principles to the sales team in the following way: when you are faced with a business challenge or issue and are not clear on how to move forward, reference the Core Principles to drive your behavior.

The Core Principles must be concise and clear. We suggest no more than 6 in total.

We reference the Core Principles at the start of each and every weekly sales meeting. As we progress through a forecasting update from each sales leader, we highlight behaviors that are in alignment with our Core Principles or behaviors that contradict our Core Principles and we address them accordingly.

If we want the Core Principles to stick to drive sales culture, the Executive Team must also be committed to them and showcase it through their behaviors.

Core Principles should match the situation your sales team is in. As per Michael Watkins (the First 90 Days), there are 4 situations a business (and a sales team) can find themselves in:

  1. Start-Up  – you are getting a new sales organization off the ground
  2. Turnaround – you are taking on a sales team recognized to be underperforming and in trouble
  3. Realignment – you are revitalizing the sales team to sell new offerings to potential new markets in a new way
  4. Sustaining Success – you are preserving the vitality of a well performing sales organization

We have found the following Core Principles have worked well in business situations 1-3 above. We rarely get engaged to work with Customers who are in business situation 4.

  • Accountability – I am responsible for my results
  • Commitment – I will do what is required to achieve my results
  • Discipline – I will pro-actively manage my business
  • Teamwork – I will collaborate with my teammates and celebrate their success
  • Urgency – I must act NOW

As you contemplate your 2014 Sales Kick Off meetings (and yes you should be planning them now as your second priority behind closing your Q4 deals) , think through the type of sales culture you want to intentionally develop with your sales team and the Core Principles that will drive that culture.


By: Mark Cox, In the Funnel – Toronto Sales Consulting