Assembling a high-performing sales team is challenging enough, but that’s just the start of any focused sales effort. With quality salespeople in place, the next task is determining how best to motivate and recognize the hard work they do on your company’s behalf.
Sadly, this often gets overlooked. Businesses frantically working to qualify sales leads and outmaneuver their competition sometimes neglect the basic need to inspire people and reward them for their achievements.
If your sales team’s performance has been lackluster or you sense that morale is slipping, keep these tips in mind:
Make sure salespeople trust their manager. The success of your sales efforts depends on the quality of the relationship between the sales manager and his or her team. Trust is essential. The key to trust, says marketing veteran Sujan Patel, is to “be as direct and straightforward as possible” with your team, addressing issues rather than avoiding them, and staying focused on “having a helping mindset.”
Set clear, achievable and “breakthrough goals.” Every salesperson must achieve a goal. It’s how success is defined within any organization. Reaching a certain quota is an obvious goal, but the degree of motivation this instills may differ from one person to the next. Take some time to ascertain what specific goals—both professional and personal—might be the most inspiring for each team member.
At the same time, consider setting what Training Industry calls a “breakthrough goal.” This represents “a level of performance beyond anything that your team has reached before, and should by all accounts be just a bit beyond your combined capabilities.” Like aiming to put the first man on the moon, initial attempts may prove unsuccessful, but “seeing just how much more the team is capable of should go a long way toward inspiring everyone.”
Build a company culture of recognition. Generally speaking, salespeople are just as motivated by reward and recognition as any other employee. Of course, monetary rewards are important, but they’re not the only way to acknowledge an individual who works hard and succeeds at what he or she does.
Look for opportunities to honor both the individual and team when they meet or exceed monthly or quarterly sales quotas. Sponsor a brief “honors ceremony” and reward these individuals with bonuses or other perks. Post online articles and videos about the sales team, showing them working collaboratively and celebrating their triumphs. Help everyone within your company understand the importance of supporting and recognizing sales.
Over time, these practices will become an integral part of your business culture. It won’t be necessary to “re-invent the wheel” when it comes to reward and recognition. Everyone will understand the ways in which your business demonstrates its appreciation for their sales efforts.
Offer greater responsibility. Depending on your business, there may be opportunities to recognize individual performance by offering positions (or projects) that require greater responsibility. You may have a salesperson who, in addition to achieving significant goals, has demonstrated newfound leadership skills. Training this person to become a manager (if that aligns with his or her personal ambitions) might prove deeply motivational in terms of both personal and professional growth.
In general, the strongest motivator is demonstrating your confidence in the team. Avoid micromanagement. Let salespeople know that, while mistakes may happen and “surefire deals” don’t always close, you’re not interested in casting blame. Instead, “emphasize the value of learning from the experience and doing better the next time.”
This may be the most inspiring message you can deliver to your team.
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