In a way, it’s the sales department that connects the company to its clients. A skilled sales team does more than just close deals. Salespeople cultivate relationships with clients. A good salesperson also works to determine each client’s particular needs and sees to it that those demands are satisfied.
So, it is evident that a good sales team is necessary for sustained business success.
However, effective sales teams don’t just magically appear. You must put in the effort to ensure they’re motivated and coordinated. As a sales manager, you’ll need to encourage your team members.
Here’s how to motivate your sales team.
1. Set Clear Goals
Team members should understand how their job helps the company achieve its objectives. So, good team leaders should know how to draft SMART—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely—goals for their team to try to achieve.
Sharing long-term targets, for instance, has advantages. An example of a long-term goal is being the number one company in the industry in terms of sales made in five years. Visualizing future successes demonstrates you have confidence in your team and their abilities.
But don’t just stop at these long-term goals.
Based on these long-term goals, set short-term sales objectives, too. These could be set daily, weekly, or monthly. So, if your long-term goal is to be the number one company in five years, then a short-term goal could be to make X sales in a month. You can break that short-term goal down into more digestible goals. For instance, to achieve the short-term goal, you might ask the marketing team to use citations to improve your website’s SEO. Or you might aim for a number of cold calls for a given period. Short-term goals can help make the long-term goals appear more attainable.
Tell your sales reps how they’re doing in terms of achieving the goals. This can serve as good sales motivation. It can help them know what adjustments to make.
2. Focus on the sales process, not on the outcome
Many business organizations are only interested in the outcome: Did you meet your sales quota or not? If the answer is no, they turn up the heat.
If you’re in the sales department, you’ll understand that there is already enough stress there. Just thinking of ways to increase the numbers could leave you frustrated and cranky. So, turning up the heat doesn’t help.
To increase efficiency among team members, companies and sales managers should develop a clear, thorough sales process for the sales team to follow. A study found that 90% of businesses with a formal, structured sales process performed better than those without one.
As you go through the sales process, take note of where your team members are facing difficulties and try to offer solutions. Doing so shows you care. It also encourages them to think outside the box to tackle specific challenges.
Nevertheless, you must avoid checking in on your team members too often. Freedom brings about creativity. If you’re always breathing down the necks of sales reps, it will be difficult for them to excel.
A good manager knows when to step back and stay involved in the sales process to ensure sales team motivation.
3. Create a Culture of Recognition
Every sales team will have competent members who continually meet set goals and people who struggle to do so. But you must remember that no member of your team is insignificant.
Don’t form the habit of always praising only particular members of your team. Treat everyone equally.
This is not to say that those who perform well should not be appreciated. You should do this to motivate them. But in doing so, don’t look down on others. The best team leaders ensure all their team members understand their value. The easiest method to prevent disagreements from tearing your team apart is showing respect and appreciation for each team member.
Finally, give the entire team some public kudos. It's a surefire way to boost the entire sales team's motivation.
4. Provide Incentives and Rewards
In sales, it makes sense to financially reward an employee for performing well. Even though financial rewards are often the most effective, other incentives may also entice your sales staff. For instance, you could give the team a task and whoever completes it first gets an extra day off work or free lunch.
Identifying what motivates each sales representative and developing a suitable incentive can help you get the job done faster.
You could also let sales personnel choose the incentives they want. The easiest way to do this is by putting up a range of incentives that fit your budget and setting realistic goals for them to achieve. Whoever achieves the goals gets to pick an incentive of their choice.
You could take them to the movies or even to a karaoke bar. This allows them to relax, fosters team bonding, and improves work performance. If you’re unsure whether to make these “concessions,” consider the time and effort your sales representatives spend in bringing in money for your company.
Lastly, don’t wait until the end of the year to organize a social gathering for your sales staff because they’ll probably be burnt out by then. You could do it quarterly or after a certain number of wins.
5. Give Necessary Support
Not every sales pitch will go well; some will be downright awful. Your team members can’t work at their highest level of productivity every day. Things can go wrong sometimes, and that’s okay. Your ability to understand these makes you a great leader. Always use failure to inspire your sales reps to perform better. Don’t dwell on drawbacks. If their performance has been subpar recently, you should encourage them with constructive criticism. That’s a great way to motivate your sales team. Keep in mind that destructive criticism will only undermine trust and efficiency.
As a team leader, you should also examine your team members individually and as a whole. You won’t know how to motivate the sales team if you don't know their strengths and weaknesses. Pinpoint the difficulties that are peculiar to each person. Then directly explain why they are there and how you can assist. For instance, give them access to tools that help them visualize critical sales data in real-time.
Improve communication between the sales team and other departments, too. Encourage face-to-face meetings and devise a method for sharing customer information across departments. This will foster cooperation and collective leadership, which in turn can yield good results.
Furthermore, you must be dedicated to continuous learning and sales improvement as a leader. Don’t offer advice only after blunders and failures. Be proactively committed to developing a strong sales team.
Do all you can to support and equip your team members so that they can deliver. Your effort will be evident and this can serve as motivation for sales teams to perform better.
6. Build Trust with the Team
Motivation is built on a foundation of trust. It will be tough for your sales team to remain motivated and engaged in their work if they don’t trust you. How do you build this trust? Just be a good colleague and friend, even.
Here are some ways you can develop a friendly relationship with your sales reps:
- Recognize great work
- Schedule regular coaching and one on ones.
- Ask about their families
- Offer to buy lunch
- Celebrate their birthdays and personal achievements
- Have a learning attitude
Most people don’t like to do this because they subscribe to the notion that familiarity breeds contempt. However, knowing how to be strict yet friendly is a characteristic of a good leader.
You must remember that once you earn the trust of your sales staff, you must be careful not to break it. It will affect your relationship with them and their efficiency. So, avoid work gossip. When your staff members share information with you in confidence, keep it to yourself. Sharing it with others is one of the easiest ways to break the trust of your team members.
You have a significant impact on the success of your team as a sales manager. Although getting good results is the primary goal, remember that you’re dealing with people. Therefore, relentlessly driving sales to a target will not yield the desired results. You need to know how to motivate your sales team.
So, draft clear goals, be actively involved in the sales process, and build a culture of recognition. Also, offer rewards for a job well done, provide the necessary support and build trust.
Do all of these and you’ll build a healthy work environment for your team. That can ultimately lead to higher sales.
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This guest blog was written by Daryl Bush, Business Development Manager at Authority.Builders. The company helps businesses acquire more customers through improved online search rankings. He has extensive knowledge of SEO and business development.