How an Employee-First Culture Can Digitally Transform Your Sales Team

November 11, 2020    Comment off


Most companies around the world are embarking on some form of digital transformation, especially as the global pandemic has increased the reliance on technology. However, many don’t realise the key to success.

Team culture is an often overlooked part of digitally transforming an aspect of the business. It shouldn’t be. Alongside getting support from all stakeholders, it’s critical to ensure active buy-in from everyone in your team.

The result is a team willing to do what is required, rather than only doing so because you’ve told them to. For a sales team, this can be revolutionary – new tools, new processes, new efficiencies. But it’s all about creating a culture and mindset to embrace change. And this culture needs to come from the top.

Unfortunately, this too often doesn’t happen, and teams are continually having technology and processes forced upon them. Business leaders are sucked in by the promise of technology, and forget about the impact within. With the cultural acceptance of technology being a key barrier to change, it’s a big mistake to make. If you want your team to adopt new things, you need to get them to want to. It requires a mindset shift.

Moving to an employee-first mindset

Capgemini’s ‘The Digital Culture Challenge: Closing the Employee-Leadership Gap’ report reveals 62% of respondents consider culture as the number one barrier to digital transformation. Additionally, McKinsey’s Digital Survey highlights that culture is the most significant self-reported barrier to digital effectiveness. It’s pretty clear. Culture, unlike technology, isn’t something you can simply swap out or upgrade. It’s far deeper rooted than that.

Imagine trying to force new tools and processes on a team who doesn’t want to change, don’t understand why it would be needed, and are quite happy as they are. That’s a team that faces stagnating, rather than thriving. Getting the backing from your team is essential to creating meaningful, lasting change. It doesn’t need a tech-first approach.

The first step is enforcing an employee-first approach from the top. Focus on empowering your team. Give them a voice in decision-making. The happier and more informed they are, the more likely the journey to change will be a smooth one with less resistance.

Educating your team is your best asset here. Every member of the team should know why the change is happening, how it will positively impact them (make more sales!), and what is required from them. Failing to educate your team creates friction and an unwillingness to change.

You should also be transparent with the business needs. Your team needs to know the value for the business so they are aware of the overall business goals and objectives.

Top-down communication

Sales leaders need to grasp the process by the horns and regularly keep employees up to date with what’s happening. This needs to happen throughout the journey. You want your team to feel part of it, not just a by-thought. A top-down approach creates real excitement about change as employees respond positively to senior heads communicating with them.

Without this cultural shift, your digital initiatives will continually hit stumbling blocks. Whether it’s a departmental digital transformation or business-wide changes, an employee-first approach makes the whole process smoother.

Just remember that ‘culture’ is constantly evolving. It’s not something that, once achieved, can be forgotten about.

What does an employee-first culture look like?

If you want to digitally transform, the culture will drive it forward. Here’s what you need to think about:

  • Tech-first isn’t the best approach. Focus on the humans that actually make the team tick.
  • Employee-first culture starts at the very top and includes open and transparent communication throughout the change process.
  • Get buy-in from employees by educating them on how the change is going to help them.