Sales are integral to revenue generation in every organization. A highly motivated sales team can make the difference between a poor market reputation and a great one. Every organization has programs in place to boost seller motivation, but how many of them succeed?
A big reason for this is the lack of trust between sales teams and their managers, which can arise due to the highly competitive nature of enterprise sales. Quotas and targets rule and any sense of human interaction between team members and managers can get lost in this shuffle.
The key to motivating your sales team is to align your methods with building trust. With this in mind, here are five battle-tested ways of motivating your sales team.
Get to know their professional goals
Sales teams are often characterized as a bunch of hungry, quota-seeking professionals with little interest in anything other than their incentives. This characterization ignores several nuances of enterprise sales.
Sales managers often discuss employee goals in terms of money earned and incentives gained. However, this approach is rarely adopted in other teams across organizations. Why should you treat sales differently just because of their impact on the bottom line? Sales employees have goals and wishes beyond money, like every other employee.
A good place to begin is in employee performance reviews. Managers must get to know their team’s aspirations and professional goals and record them in software like BambooHR so that they can track progress. While money plays an important role, it isn’t the only benchmark to measure progress. Some team members might desire greater autonomy in the way they work while others might want more flexibility in work environments.
Some people might want to stick to a product line or business segment and not want to chase traditional promotion paths in your organization. Get to know your employees better and you’ll establish a human touch. With this in place, you’ll build strong relationships and your sales team will work harder because they’ll know you have their back.
Provide timely feedback
Sales representatives receive intense training throughout their time in an organization. However, many organizations neglect the forgetting curve when delivering training. This curve refers to our ability to lose information if not reinforced over time.
For example, you can train a new sales rep in your playbook as much as possible during onboarding. Once the rep is live, they’re unlikely to receive the same level of training and feedback. Their only source of feedback is the live customer environment and there are too many variables flying around there.
The live environment is filled with pressure and many reps experience cognitive lapses as a result. This can spur a haphazard implementation of your playbooks, leading to less-than-efficient sales calls. The solution here is not to deliver more training. Instead, offer feedback and reinforcement at the right time.
Sales enablement platforms like Demoleap are a good example of this process. By offering real-time feedback based on seller cues and suggestions based on established playbooks, you can ensure consistency in the sales process. Instant feedback is critical in this context.
As Demoleap explains, “In sales, you don’t need to hire top talent. Top talent should result from your training efforts. By providing instant access to knowledge, links, and examples whenever sellers need it, the right sales enablement software can help optimize your training efforts and eliminate that forgetting curve. When your sellers have plenty of opportunities to improve and achievable goals to strive for, they constantly become better at their job.”
Offer relevant rewards
Sales incentives are a murky world of unwanted rewards for seemingly impossible objectives. For instance, your reps are unlikely to desire a set of rare kitchen knives on hitting their quota. Companies make a big deal of personalizing customer experiences and expect sales reps to deliver them.
Why not extend personalization to sales rep incentives? Every person is unique and offering everybody the same rewards does not make sense. Incentives are meant to energize your team and you must strive to get it right. The first step is to review your commission structure.
Your commission structure tells your reps more about you than any other factor. Involve them in discussions about your structure and install the right tracking systems such as sales incentive software like Kademi. Data is the key to creating a commission and incentive program that motivates your sellers and partners.
By creating transparent KPIs and offering visibility into progress toward them, you will remove any miscommunication and tailor expectations accordingly. For example, you can create customized KPIs based on rep performance instead of creating generic targets for everyone based on opaque sales goals.
Tailor incentives and quotas to your salespeople and you’ll create an efficient team that works hard to deliver your goals.
Sales is all about communication. However, many sales teams and their managers fail to communicate properly due to the high-pressure environment they operate in. Goals and the reasoning behind incentives are often missed and the result is a team that operates on different pages.
Most organizations are aware of this issue and mitigate it by scheduling more meetings to bring everyone on the same page. The problem is that meetings do not foster organic communication and instead force everybody to follow a certain line.
Instead of scheduling more meetings, improve communication by encouraging people to use IM tools like Slack or Loom. These tools enable quick communication that does not decrease the amount of time your team has for productive work.
Communication boils down to understanding each member’s motivations and checking in on their goals. Managers play a critical role here and scheduling time to check in on employees is the best way forward.
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Sales teams are driven by competition, but this can get out of hand if mismanaged. Having too much competition can create a hostile environment for your team members in which everyone tries to outdo the other. Sales works best when conducted as a team and to do so, collaboration is critical.
For instance, a rep who discovers a new customer incentive is unlikely to share this information with the rest of the team if the environment is not ideal. Keeping competitive juices flowing is critical but not at the cost of teamwork. The solution is to remind your team that they’re competing against your competitors, not themselves.
One way of building such a culture is by encouraging team members to share knowledge and recognition when appropriate. Rethink your incentive structure to encourage collaboration and attribution. For example, a winner-takes-all attribution system leads to resentment and breeds competition within your team.
Collaboration is critical to sales success and also motivates your team members to show up to work each and every day. After all, a highly stressful environment is unlikely to motivate people to come to work and perform at their best.
Rethink motivation and boost sales
Motivation is critical to every sales team’s performance. However as a sales leader, you need to rethink how to motivate your team. Ditch conventional ways of motivating your team in favor of more personalized processes. In little time, you’ll realize there are more sales, happier teams, and greater revenue.