Sales Cultures – Global vs Local

Posted by David Wallace on May 10, 2021

When creating a global sales management framework, a company must balance corporate home office responsibilities with local office responsibilities in four areas: culture, strategy, metrics and sales/territory management.

Let’s look at balancing your corporate culture versus a local culture.

Corporate Culture

Corporate culture is key to defining a company. Certain aspects of corporate culture are inviolable wherever the company operates. The corporate home office maintains those corporate culture aspects that are central to the company’s identity, including: vision, values, and legal and ethical positions.

Vision encompasses the company’s brands, product and service offerings, and product roadmap. The corporate home office must maintain its image as presented by its brands wherever the company operates. If allowed to vary by country or market, the company’s value proposition becomes diluted or eliminated. Similarly, the corporate home office sets the company’s current and future product and service offerings. Without central control of its products and services, the company loses control of its identity.

Values are the company’s core beliefs. For some, values include honesty, respect, diversity, service, and quality. For others, they are lowest market prices or win at all costs. Either way, the corporate home office must transmit its values throughout the company. This is central to maintaining the company’s identity.

Legal and ethical positions must be maintained to protect the company’s assets, tangible and intangible, around the globe. Common legal and ethical positions dictated by corporate home offices include:

  • Respect for all laws in the company’s home country and the laws of the countries in which the company operates
  • Vigorous defense of its intellectual property in all jurisdictions
  • Refusal to pay bribes or other inducements to win business
  • Zero tolerance for theft or other violations of law by employees

Local Flavor

Each local sales management team adapts the corporate culture to reflect its local cultural norms and mores, including: dress codes, travel modes, meeting formats, socialization practices and décor. In effect, the local team adds a local flavor to the corporate culture. However, local adaptations must not change the inviolable culture requirements defined by the corporate home office.

Next week, we’ll discuss strategy and metrics across global markets.

Wallace Management Group helps companies define the core of their corporate sales cultures so that local teams can add their own local customs while remaining true to the corporate identity. We help you present your business so that you can succeed wherever you sell.