These days, when there is so much competitive pressure, sales teams often become the scapegoats, taking the heat for low revenues. Whether its insufficient productivity, a lousy close rate, or just a perceived lack of enthusiasm, the message is the sales team just isn't getting it done.

A recent Oracle/Inc. study of SMB decision makers put "maximizing sales channels" as either extremely or very worrisome for nearly 50 percent of the respondents.

In some cases, these critiques are legitimate. In many cases, though, salespeople have their hands tied because they are not getting the support and tools they need to succeed. If you're serious about improving sales, then you should think strongly about giving your salespeople everything they need to close more sales.

Their wish list includes:

1. Show them the Money

There's no way around this one. Money is a great motivator. With commissioned salespeople, more sales equals more money in the bank. But is this the only way to motivate your sales team, financially?

Why not get a bit more creative about how you motivate them?

A common complaint from leaders of sales teams is that their teams aren't making enough calls or taking the time for face-to-face visits. Incentives/rewards based on these numbers, regardless of whether a sale was made, can go a long way to improving productivity and increasing motivation.

2. Make it Personal

Too many companies use a one-size-fits-all approach when trying to motivate their sales team. An interesting Harvard Business Review article suggested companies should treat their sales force "like a portfolio of investments that require different levels and kinds of attention."

Laggards, the article suggested, need to be motivated with regular bonus opportunities (regular carrots) and constant attention, while superstars will perform well until their motivation is gone, (i.e., a cap on commissions).

3. An Assist from Marketing

Multiple studies have demonstrated that content is driving a higher and higher percentage of sales. Millennials, in particular, look for content like blogs, to help decide on purchases.

When brands create high-quality content geared to the interests of their audiences, it creates brand loyalty, which, in turn, generates sales. In a time where content is still king, marketing departments need to provide the kinds of articles, videos, infographics, and eBooks that can help to fuel the sales process.

4. A Pat on the Back

It may be a small thing, but a well-timed pat on the back can mean everything for people so hungry for recognition. There are a number of ways to publicly acknowledge both success and hard work. Shout outs at sales meetings are great. Be specific in your compliments, so you can drive the behaviors you're looking for. Give kudos for everything from a great email to persistence to a creative new way of getting your foot in the door.

5. Call in Tech Support

If your sales team isn't armed with powerful and versatile customer relationship management (CRM) software, then they're selling with one hand tied behind their back. Providing your sales team with the most sophisticated, yet intuitive, CRM tells them that you are behind them 100 percent. Among the endless benefits of CRM are:

· Cuts way down on administrative tasks

· Makes planning and time management a snap

· Enables collaboration

· Streamlines the entire sales cycle

· Simplifies and speeds reporting

· Provides access to data-driven analytics and insights

6. Going Mobile

Having access to information at the office is great, but you've got to provide your team with the tools it takes to sell from everywhere. Don't think of these as expenses, they're investments.

Mobile sales apps and the devices to access them are a lifeline for salespeople working from home, in transit, on the road--even on vacation.

They do everything from increasing efficiency and productivity to making a face-to-face meeting with a client more natural and collaborative.

It gives them instant access to data, allows for real-time communication with both team members and customers, and promotes sales from anywhere and everywhere.

Give them the tools and the attention they need and deserve, and you just might find you've got nothing to complain about. Well ... maybe just a bit less.

To learn more about how give your sales team what they need to drive growth, download our newest ebook (based on an Inc. Oracle joint survey our joint survey) - Sleepless Over CX: How to Fix SMB's Top Sales and Service Concerns - today.

Published on: Feb 16, 2017