Why company culture matters in sales


Sales is the lifeblood of any business. In fact, it’s been said that if you don’t have sales, you don’t have a business. It’s like having a car with no engine — without it, you’re going nowhere.

But there is something even more important than sales — company culture. Think of it as your company’s operating system. If the programming is bad, it could lead to a shutdown. In this article, I share my thoughts on the relationship between company culture and sales, and what happens to your sales when you have a poor company culture.


What is company culture?

If you scour the web, you will come across different interpretations of a company’s culture. There is the formal definition that describes company culture as the ‘shared values, goals, attitudes, and behaviour or practices that characterise an organisation’.  

Then there is the less formal definition offered by David Gray, founder of design consultancy Xplane: “Culture is your company’s operating system.” As you may have gathered from my introductory paragraph, this one is my personal favourite. I’m predominantly a visual person, and seeing culture as an operating system, helps me to better understand the concept.

At its core, company culture is HOW things get done in an organisation. But here’s a scary stat: Only 28% of executives understand their company’s culture. Now, before this keeps you awake at night, read on to see if your company culture needs a reboot.



Signs of a bad company culture 

  • Staff turnover is high.
  • Gossip reigns.
  • Communication is poor.
  • There’s constant conflict.
  • Growth is slow.

You might be looking at the warning signs above and think, “Our company culture is not in the best shape, sure, but we first need to focus on insert-any-pressing-issue-here and THEN we’ll give it some attention.” But remember — sales is the lifeblood of your organisation — and company culture has a major effect on your sales.



Why company culture matters in sales

  • Without sales, you don’t have a business.
  • Your sales team is often your organisation’s first port of call — and first impressions last.
  • Company culture encompasses everything in your organisation — from your values and goals to the attitudes and behaviour of employees.
  • A business does not operate as a silo. Every action has a knock-on effect that runs through your sales to the delivery of your product.
  • In the age of social sharing, a bad sales experience can ruin your company’s reputation.

Ultimately, when you strip everything back, there is one thing that’s at the heart of a successful business — trust. Customers want the reassurance that they can trust your business to deliver on its promises. And if you have a sales team that is prepared to do anything to meet targets, even if it means compromising your company’s values, then you have an issue. This type of behaviour will erode trust, damage relationships, and end up killing your culture.



How to fix your company culture

Firstly, as a leader, you must live your company culture. Lead by example! Like it or not — your culture is a direct reflection of your leadership. Hold yourself accountable.

Secondly, map out your culture in a way that is easy to understand for everyone. Remember this stat? Only 28% of executives understand their company’s culture! Once you’ve mapped this out simply — TOP TIP: make it visually interesting too — add it to your sales playbook, so that your company culture becomes part of daily life at your organisation.

Not sure where to start?

Explaining business simply is our business. We can help you simplify and explain your company culture through the help of visual tools like infographics, videos, and presentations. 

Drop us an email at hello@weexplainstuff.com to learn more.

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About Garth Jemmett

Garth Jemmett is the founder of We Explain Stuff. He helps business leaders escape complexity by making strategies, processes, products and services easy to understand.

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