Sales is your most important department for gaining and maintaining business. You want to be equipped with an outstanding team that can accomplish the goals needed to reach your company’s overall objectives. The best way to do this is through sales motivation, which is our term for motivating your sales team.
As a leader in your company, it is imperative to reflect on your sales strategy and how you are motivating your team. Do not be afraid of trying new things and collaborating with your team members. Incentives and support are the two underlying factors that inspire sales motivation and there are many ways to implement each in your sales program.
Sales Motivation Incentives
The most obvious tactic to motivate your sales team is through incentives. Although commission and other forms of making extra money is great for motivation, keep in mind that not everyone is just motivated by money. They can be motivated by time off, jeans Fridays, free lunches, personal recognition, and more.
It’s important to make sure you invest time with each individual as you hire them and get to know them very well. Find out what motivates them and what they want out of the job. Then you can design their goals and craft reward incentives accordingly.
Tiffany Poeppelman, a Sales Readiness Leader at LinkedIn’s European headquarters says:
“Motivating sales professionals is not a one-size fits all approach – the key to unlocking their potential is understanding that each sales rep has a unique selling style that matches their innate needs and personality – therefore, strategies should be designed and tailored to each style.”
Work together with your sales team to design the best strategy for your team, as unique as your members are. The 6 best ways to motivate your sales team are:
Commission is probably the clear course to compensate your sales team, regardless of what industry you work in. A structure in place to say that you receive “X” amount of dollars for every close, every sale, every new business, etc. is a common practice. Your sales team will expect it and you can benefit from it.
A salesperson likes to see measurable results from their work because they’re trained and wired this way. Their efforts reflect their income and when this happens they are motivated to go after their potential. When their commission check emulates the cold calls they’ve made, the late night hours they’ve spent preparing for a presentation make it all worth it.
Beyond just a regular commission check offer additional incentives for your team reaching goals as an individual or as a team. The more your team sells means more revenue in your company, so you really should be excited to give a portion of it away.
For example, if a rep reaches their numbers for Q1 and Q2, offer an extra $500.00 to their check. If a rep surpasses their new business goal by a certain percentage, offer extra bonus money to their check.
3. Personal Recognition
Sometimes all it takes to make an employee happy is for you to take the time to recognize an their individual victories. Who doesn’t want to hear how good of a job they are doing? It can be as little as shooting them an email or text to congratulate them. Most of the time they just want to see that their hard work is being recognized.
Another idea is to have a salesman of the month award where a different member of your team is awarded each month for a different sales accomplishment. A great way to start a meeting is to ask your team to announce any wins they had that week. These positive reinforcement habits will build the confidence up in your team as well as their desire to succeed.
A sales team is generally built up of competitive individuals. Contests are a great incentive for your team to compete against each other. You can have contests for the highest sales of the month, most closed new business in a particular timeframe, most product sold of a particular brand, the possibilities are endless.
Once you decide what the guideline you have to implement an effective contest, a kickoff party would be a great boost of encouragement. Keep results current and visible to inspire. Whether that be a poster in the office, or weekly emails, make sure they know where they stand throughout the challenge.
Danielle Kunkle Roberts is the Vice President of Boomer Benefits and has experience motivating her sales team with contests. She says:
“We might offer a $100 bonus for the first person to turn in two dental plan applications in one day. Another day we might run a contest for the first 3 people to have a one-call close, and they win something for that. Often it’s extra cash but we also spice it up by offering prizes like “wear jeans to work for a week” or a free day off on Friday. Right now it’s October and the contest is they get to draw a pumpkin basket filled with candy, and some of them have cash prizes buried at the bottom. The whole team enjoys them and you can sometimes hear them cheering with someone wins a prize this way.”
5.Extra Time off
Money is grand but time off can be just as valuable to employees when you’re coming up with sales motivation ideas. A lot of people work very hard for countless hours a week, and spend a lot more time growing your business than they do with their own families. They may feel that a greater reward is time off to enjoy some of the other things in their lives.
This is especially true of millennials, who have changed the employee thought process. They value experiences over anything else, and so dangling time off as an incentive can be an easier route to success.
6. Flexible Schedule
A job in sales in rarely a regular 9 – 5 gig. They receive calls and help support their customers at all hours of the day. Their creativity may ignite at midnight to work on their latest proposal. They may be working for hours after everyone else at the office has called it a day. Because of this, do not be a stickler on when they’re working.
Instead you should focus on the quality of their performance. A work/life balance is becoming more valued to employees and being able to work when it fits into your life is usually preferred. As long as they get all their work done and are meeting their goals they should be able to go to their kid’s soccer game at 4:00PM on a Tuesday, or go on a hike at 10:00AM on a Thursday morning.
Trust us, your top performing reps are working well over 40 hours a week. Do not be a stickler on when they are getting things done, let them work out what is best for them. Put faith in the fact that you hired the right person for the job. If you don’t trust them to do so then you likely made the wrong decision when you hired them.
Remember, communicating with your team and understanding what motivates and drives each salesperson is vital. Every person on your team isn’t going to be motivated by the same thing, make sure to recognize that and follow through when needed.
Support & Involvement
Support might be the most important factor while motivating your team. If a sales rep feels unsupported, their morale can go down fast. If they feel like they can’t accomplish their customer’s goals because of internal issues, they’re either not going to go after new business or they’ll find another place to work.
On the other hand sales reps do not want to be micromanaged. They can feel suffocated and be quickly unmotivated if you are overwhelmingly involved. Remember, you should not have to do the reps work for them, you hired them for the job, make sure they know that you feel that they are capable.
Bryan Miller, Senior Vice President of Sales at Caliper, an employee assessment and talent development solutions company, says:
“Create a culture of inclusion – instead of coming up with all the answers yourself, engage your sales team in solving business challenges. Ask them how they would approach an issue and really listen (I can’t emphasize this enough). Whenever possible, put their ideas into action and in doing so, show them that their ideas matter and they are more than just numbers on a forecast.”
A sales rep can feel like an island sometimes, especially when they are traveling and working mostly on the road. It’s important to recognize their daily struggles and offer them the support they need.
Here’s the 7 best things you can do to give your sales team the support they crave:
1. Ride along
A ride along once in awhile is a great way to build rapport with your salesman and know how they handle their business and issues. It is also beneficial to meet their customers and potential customers so that they are more familiar with your company and know that you support your rep.
If you do consider practicing ride alongs, make sure not to do so only when a rep’s numbers are down, you do not want to make this seem like a punishment. Rather, make this a monthly or quarterly habit so reps are comfortable with the process.
2. Help With The Sales Process
Your reps have a lot of responsibilities. It can be daunting and frustrating. Make sure that you are a good resource for them and that they feel comfortable approaching you for suggestions.
They may need help reaching their new business goals and need new ideas on their approach, they may need someone to look over their presentation pitch to a potential new customer, they may need someone to role play with for handling sales objections, they may need someone to give insight on a certain industry they are pursuing.
Make sure you are sharpening the tools in your toolbox and are able to provide all of these and more to your rep. If you don’t have answers, make sure you have a team, a resource, a website, or something you can direct your rep to for assistance. There are plenty of seminars, university support, or you can reach out to other sales managers and ask them how they deal with these matters.
Ensure that your rep can reach you! Don’t be that guy that never answers their phone and calls back in a day or two. Respond to texts, calls, emails as quickly as you can and make your team your priority. You reach your goals when they reach theirs, so when they need you, make sure you are there for them.
4. Hold Them Responsible
It is important to not micromanage your team although there needs to be a balance where you hold them responsible for their goals. If they feel that you are too hands-off or inaccessible their motivation can decrease. They can start to slack off without having someone to check up on them or who cares.
Find the best approach in checking in with your sales reps. Whether you catch up over lunch, have weekly meetings, they email you weekly progress sheets, etc. Pursue the best option that works for your culture.
5. Performance Updates or Evaluations
Avoid a decrease in performance by producing bi-yearly or quarterly evaluations. Be consistent and fair with these. It is meaningful to a rep to understand how the company evaluates their conduct. Communicate what they need to improve and tell them what they are doing great in. It is beneficial for them to know what to stop doing as well what to continue doing.
6. Managing Internal Flow
When a salesman makes a reasonable promise to a current customer, or closes the deal with a new customer based on a proposal, these commitments should be met without any excuses. Following through on a pact between sales rep and customer is of utmost importance for your business to flourish.
You need to be the resource for your rep to accomplish these things. It is your job, along with the other managers of the different departments, to make sure that the company is able to provide your goods and services correctly. If the sales rep cannot follow through on their promise, competition can sweep in and take your business from you. Together with your sales team, have customers be your priority and provide exceptional service to retain and gain them.
When a rep is fully equipped with the right tools, their performance will excel. They need the right training in the beginning when they are hired to know what they are doing and feel comfortable in a new environment. They also need ongoing training to keep up with the changes and refresh on things they already know.
As time goes on industry trends change, your own products and services develop, even your sales process may be revamped. Motivation will be a product of proper training as the rep will become confident and ready to take on any challenges that come their way.
Adnan Raja is the Vice President of Marketing for Atlantic.Net, a trusted web hosting solution that offers HIPAA-Compliant, Managed, Dedicated, and Cloud hosting. He implements continuous training with his team. He says:
“We send employees on business retreats that include some training and some rest and relaxation. We also offer to pay for tuition for classes that are related to our industry.”
Do you research, check out the top performing professionals, and implement good training tools for your team.
The Smart Hack
It can be difficult managing a sales team, especially if they’re remote. It can be difficult to find ways to keep them motivated and moving in the right direction. The more motivated your employees are, the harder they’ll work at bringing in revenue for your business. Putting these sales motivation tips into place for your team will strengthen their drive and improve your business.