Improve Ethics in Sales

Your company may already enforce ethics policies companywide. But as a sales manager or leader in a sales capacity, there’s more you could do to promote ethical conduct within the sales department. Sales is a unique role, with direct customer contact and collecting sensitive customer information. These unique dynamics can present additional ethics risks that other departments or positions don’t have. Take extra steps to bring and enforce ethical behavior among your salesforce with these insights and suggestions.

Defining Ethics within the Sales Role Specifically

Every lead, prospect, presentation, and client deserves respect and confidentiality. And in sales, there can be more opportunities for unethical behavior. Here are just a few potential violations that may be happening among your salesforce:

· Over-embellishing the company product or service to a prospect.

· Deceitful practices in sales figures and funnels.

· Unethical expense reporting of business lunches and field costs.

· Compromising threats between salespeople and clients.

· Favoritism, discrimination, or racism in the field.

· Sexual harassment or unwanted advances between clients and salespeople.

· Disclosing or misusing client data.

From managing client data to working in the “field,” there are unique nuances to a salesperson’s job that just don’t apply to other company positions. This is why it’s so important for sales managers to define ethics within the specifics of a sales role to address those unique risks. Provide clarity and transparency with robust definitions and train for ethics in sales positions.

Reward Ethical Sales Behavior

Sales is a high-reward job whereby individuals work in competitive environments to bring in new clients and close deals. Salespeople live by commissions and are driven by bonuses and contests. Many of today’s most successful sales leaders are using these sales incentives and rewards to also encourage ethical practices. Consider laying in rewards for your teams and reinforce positive ethics in sales.

Lead by Example

Salespeople will only work at the speed of the leader. And it’s why you, as their sales supervisor, will jump on the phones or join them for field sales calls, demonstrating your sales energy and pace. But don’t forget to also raise the bar on ethics, doing your best to lead by ethical example. This might include showing teams how to prioritize the customers’ needs first, how to safely manage client-related budgets or data, and what to do if you encounter an unethical situation.

Reinforce Ethics Accountability

Accountability is essential in any sales environment. Funnels, quotas, and budgets are all regular metrics used to track the sales activity of your teams. Assign the same measurable resources to gauge individual accountability, too. It’s how you can spot areas of improvement, providing potential ethics weaknesses worth addressing.

Implement an Ethics Hotline

If you need more assistance with improving the ethics in sales at your company, connect with us at Ethical Advocate! We can help you implement an ethics hotline that brings a full suite of benefits. And because anyone can report an ethics concern anonymously, including clients and vendors, it’s a valuable tool in supporting ethics in sales.