Poor sales culture behind lacklustre business results

Career salesmanship is a lost art – firms have become soft, and forgotten how to chase new leads and business.

That’s according to survey results compiled by the Australian Institute of Management (AIM), which found over a third (37%) of business professionals believe the sales culture in their organisations needs significant improvement.

Chief executive of AIM VT, Tony Gleeson believes the survey findings are a flow-on effect of the resources boom.

“I think the survey shows that some firms have become soft. During the height of the resources boom they got complacent and lost their sales edge. These firms have become too reliant on money ‘coming in through the front door’ and are under pressure now because they’ve forgotten how to chase new business,” Gleeson said.

“In pacesetter firms, every employee recognises they have a vested interest in selling their organisation’s capabilities. Employees in such companies are proud of their firm’s achievements and become champions for their firm in and outside the workplace. In that way, all staff can help their company’s sales efforts and build a strong sales culture. Everyone sells!” he added.

Notable survey findings include:

  • 40 per cent of Australian organisations believe their current business performance is ‘very poor to average’.
  • Only 14 per cent of respondents said their firms were performing ‘extremely well’.
  • 88 per cent of CEOs/board directors and 73 percent of business owners described their firm’s sales record over the past year as ‘very poor to average’.

“Of further concern is that so few of the business professionals we surveyed rate ‘sales and customer service’ skills as relevant for their career advancement. This skill-set ranked second last on the list of management capabilities considered important to building a career and attracted just ten percent support. This situation will need to change if Australian firms are to improve their sales and customer service culture,” Gleeson said.

*A total of 966 business professionals, from across the full spectrum of Australian industry participated in the survey, with thirty eight per cent of respondents working in sales-related roles.

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