The Art of Mission Driven Sales: How can you lead sales with mission and purpose? We talk to two ethical businesses to learn from their expertise and experience
Mission driven sales are an art.
In our recent ‘lunch and learn’ webinar, we welcomed two special guests to discuss the art of mission driven sales. Oliver Harrison is the Head of Partnerships at Compare Your Footprint, a company that helps businesses calculate and reduce their carbon footprint. Laura Hield-Ryder is the Director of Sales Operations at Arenko Group, which produces market-leading software to unlock the value of batteries and renewables. The webinar was hosted and facilitated by our MD Corinne Thomas.
Corinne asked the panellists three questions, resulting in an hour of interesting discussion and thought-provoking insights.
Read on to find out how to structure those all-important sales conversations, the best sales activities, and how to engage your sales team – without the need for bonuses!
How important is mission and purpose in sales conversations?
One of the key words that emerged in discussing this question was alignment. Oliver believes that once you have your mission and purpose aligned across your business, all conversations then come from the same place. This makes it easier to share your mission and purpose, providing transparency and creating trust with buyers.
Sincerity is also key to sales conversations. Oliver listed it as one of the three key things he looks for in the sales process. He also mentioned competence and consistency. He feels these principles build better trust and create a shorter sales cycle. “The businesses you’re talking to will clearly see this, and your conversations will become more meaningful.”
Both panellists agreed it’s vital to cut through the noise and have a real conversation. “You’re trying to make a connection,” said Oliver. “If you can get through to people as quickly as possible then it will be far more effective.”
Corinne also highlighted the need to be honest with people about why you’re making the approach. “At Ethical Sales we talk a lot about not being apologetic for the cold approach. We’re always respectful with someone’s time while also being upfront about why we’re making the call in the first place. Buyers will respond to that sincerity.”
What sales activities do you engage in as a purpose-driven business?
This is an area that a lot of businesses struggle with – knowing where to start, and which sales activities will work for them.
Arenko responds mostly to tenders, so Laura clearly sets out the company’s business purpose and mission in its response. She is making sure the language shows Arenko’s progressive approach.
While Laura uses events to identify key relationships and build a broader base of prospects, Oliver tends to be a bit more cautious due to the time requirements. “I think events perform a useful function in mature markets, but in new markets there’s a requirement for speed that you don’t get from events.” He picks events carefully. “When we do turn up it’s much more about content and conversations and referrals, then turning this into quality online content.”
Using content marketing and social media is an important part of Compare Your Footprint’s strategy. A good example is the homeworking emissions paper it recently published]. “Our team researched and wrote the paper, and we then repurposed the content to create conversations” – ultimately leading to increased sales opportunities for the company.
The points raised by the panellists mirrored a blog post that Corinne wrote earlier in the year about ethical sales trends. She also agreed with the importance of content marketing for B2B businesses, for which LinkedIn is key. “LinkedIn is one of the only social media platforms where you can organically grow your reach without paying for it. If you do it strategically and in the way LinkedIn wants you to, it’s a remarkable platform. Focus on connecting with people, then putting out content that speaks to your audience.
How do you engage your sales team to hit targets and align with your business values?
For Laura, the crucial first step is to recruit people who are aligned with your business mission. “We lead on sustainability and our tech achievements in our recruitment advert, to bring out our values, and we reiterate those throughout the journey,” she explained.
Once the right people are in post, you need to make sure your vision and mission are shared across the company. “I don’t think this can be overstated or overplayed,” said Laura. “Everybody is a sales person.”
In terms of engaging your sales team, both Oliver and Laura agree proper pay is key. Arenko’s sales team isn’t commissioned. Laura feels this helps the company do the right thing by the customer rather than focussing on targets. Compare Your Footprint gives a good basic salary then uses a bonus system based on the growth of the business, rather than individual targets.
As the business grows, Oliver is considering outsourcing some work to an agency, but pursuing this via an equity based model. If the agency takes a stake in the business, he feels this will help to align values.
For Corinne, loyalty and trust is key. “That’s what motivates your sales team to pick up the phone, send that email and help your business to grow.” And while she can see both sides of the commission debate, “the one thing we do know, especially in pure outbound roles, is that they’re challenging roles so it’s important to nurture, coach and support your team.”
Watch the full webinar to get the answers and understand the art of mission driven sales.
In the webinar we addressed more questions from the audience, such as how to attract inbound enquiries and how to differentiate your business from another that might not have such a strong mission.