What makes a ‘Professional’ Sales Force and how do you create one? The Bigrock Directors consider what constitutes ‘professional’ and what characteristics professional sales forces share?

What makes a Professional Sales Force?

Recently one of our clients asked us how Bigrock would define a ‘Professional Sales Force’. There are so many different ways to answer this; so many books have been written, so many models put forward. Different people, even within the same industry, will point to different things they believe makes a sales force ‘professional’.

What do you think of as a Professional Sales Force? What traits constitute professionalism?

With such differences in opinion, how do you go about identifying and developing the highest standards of professionalism within a sales team? How can you ensure your sales force are all striving for the same goal?

We start with the equation CC + CX = CO…

The best and most professional Sales forces understand this equation; they appreciate that the way to Commercial Success lies in the delivery of a superb Customer Experience, and that this in turn requires excellent Conduct and Behaviours which will only last if the organisation has the right Culture.

So, how do you define and measure a Culture? How can we break down what we mean by professional?

We recommend you begin by looking at what you have.  What does your team consider to be professional? How do they behave now? How can you improve this? What are your Sales Force’s current Social Norms?

Psychologists Albert & Whetten found that Social Norms were created in 3 stages:

1) Socialisation – seeing and hearing the acceptable standards continually

2) Identification – feeling personally that you can subscribe to those standards

3) Internalisation – believing and living the standards – becoming an exemplar yourself

The best Sales Forces have a culture with clear and overt standards; standards of dress, speech, attitude and service that bind all. Most importantly, however, they have a culture that places the Client at the centre of their focus. This Client centric view helps to shape and drive all decision making.

Within these Sales Forces Leaders, Managers and Sellers display certain characteristics:


  • Have clarity of Vision and Direction
  • Continually articulate their journey and purpose
  • Ensure their own words are matched by their own actions
  • Plus all the below…


  • Maintain a healthy balance between input and output management
  • Are great Coaches
  • Provide insightful feedback
  • Deliver empowering 1:2:1’s
  • Inspire individuals
  • Are Role Models
  • Create an environment where challenge and feedback does NOT have to be carefully positioned, instead it is welcomed and sought.
  • Plus all the below…


  • Are high on establishing Trust, low on Self Orientation…
  • Have clarity of Excellence in their role
  • Are Knowledgeable
  • Are Confident and Credible
  • Are willing to challenge
  • Are healthily competitive
  • Up-hold the House style, standards and culture: the accepted social norm

And, as a whole, the Organisation…

  • Is resilient & relentless
  • Has a Culture of Excellence and High Performance
  • Is intolerant of mediocrity
  • Attracts the best through Corporate Magnetism
  • Measures the quality and quantity of development, sales input behaviours,  client experience and sales outputs – results
  • …or,  in other words, measures CC + CX = CO

We see these as the fundamental characteristics of a professional Sales Force. Do you agree? Do you recognise these characteristics in your Sales Force? Are they part of your organisation’s Social Norms?

Enter your name and email below to download our Leader’s Guide to Social Norming.

The Leader’s Guide to Social Norming