Sales managers will go to the extreme to motivate their teams. They pull out all the stops - huge kickoff meetings, trips to exotic locations, giant commissions. But big and flashy can’t fix a motivation problem.
Every day, your sales reps are bombarded by outside factors that are affecting their motivation. The customer might be telling them ‘no’ over and over again. It may be the wrong time to sell in the market. There may be some disaster going on affecting their ability to sell.
But in order to sell well, salespeople need to be hyped up and ready to go at any time. I’ve run sales departments in three organizations, and I know the motivation of your sales reps will affect productivity, culture and the bottom line.
If you want to improve the success of your sales department, it’s time to make motivation a priority. Here are six tactics to boost the motivation of your salespeople:
1. Set goals
This one may be obvious, but it’s important. You need to give your salespeople a goal to reach. Without a goal, they won’t know what to aspire to or what constitutes success. Choose something that’s achievable, but not easy. It should still be a reach.
On his Facebook page, author Joe Vitale wrote, “A goal should scare you a little and excite you a lot. Think BIG. And then think bigger than THAT.”
This isn’t just about sales quotas, either. Different salespeople are motivated in different ways. While quotas may work for some reps, a contest or even a personal goal may be a better choice for others. Work with each individual salesperson to find out what will work best for them.
2. Focus on purpose
People who love their jobs tend to do better at their jobs. In fact, according to Gallup, organizations with low employee engagement experience 18% lower productivity.
As a manager, it’s your job to keep your salespeople engaged and fully supportive of your company’s mission. Start by explaining what that mission means to each person on your team and how they play a part.
In Apple’s “Think Different” ad, Steve Jobs said, “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
Research from the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017 finds six out of 10 millennials say a “sense of purpose,” is part of the reason they chose to work for their current employer. Giving your salespeople that sense of purpose will inspire them to work harder at their jobs and inspire their loyalty to your business.
3. Build trust
In an article for HubSpot, HubSpot executive Dan Tyre writes, “The foundation of motivation is trust. If your team doesn’t trust you and doesn’t believe you have their best interests at heart, it’ll be difficult for them to feel inspired and driven by their work.”
To be an effective leader, you need to have your employees’ trust. The best way to build trust is to be as direct and straightforward as possible. Don’t try to hide things or beat around the bush. If there is an issue going on, let your team know.
When working with team members, focus on having a helping mindset. Don’t scold or push. Instead, try to solve problems and help that sales rep grow and improve. You want to make sure you create a comfortable environment where employees feel appreciated and engaged.
4. Get others involved
It’s easy for your salespeople to point fingers and try to pass on blame to others when something goes wrong. Maybe marketing isn’t giving them enough leads or customer support can’t respond quickly enough to a complaint.
To combat this, you need to break down siloes between the departments in your organization. In my experience, when I brought sales, marketing, customer support, and engineering together, that’s when we truly start to see growth.
With everyone getting a seat at the table, you remove hurdles and increase productivity. Your salespeople feel like they’re in the loop and are involved in what’s happening. And based on their collaboration, they can adjust their approach and improve results.
5. Create a culture of recognition
Your sales reps want to be rewarded. But a commission alone is not enough. Commissions are expected, so you need to push beyond that for your sales reps to truly feel recognized for their achievements.
One tactic I implemented at one of my organizations was having a dinner whenever an individual hit their quota or did something great. But that dinner wasn’t just for that one person. Instead, the whole team would be able to join.
This created a team-oriented mindset in the sales department. Everyone wanted to be that person who was recognized in front of all of their peers. They wanted to be the cause of that dinner. That praise and recognition motivated them to not only work harder, but also work together.
6. Get creative
Rewards don’t always have to be monetary. Sometimes you can have a little fun with your team and find new ways to recognize them.
Maybe you reward them by offering to do a task they hate, such as prospecting or cold calling. Or perhaps you pledge to shave your head if your team reaches a certain goal. Maybe you can hold fun outings such as a trip to an escape room or a sports game. Think outside the box to get your team excited.
Don’t be afraid to get input from your team members, too. Be direct and ask them, “What would motivate you?” You may be surprised at their answers. And remember, not everyone feels motivated by the same things. Be open to their input and try different tactics. You never know what might work.
How do you motivate your salespeople? What tactics have worked best for you? What tactics haven’t worked? Let me know in the comments below: