Staying motivated can be a challenge for sales teams, both as a group and as individual members. Too often, their managers tend to see them as mere tools and treat them as such:
“When the [expletive deleted] are you going to close that deal with XYZ?!”
“You STILL haven’t met your quota for this month.”
“It’s not the management’s fault you’re not driven to sell!”
“You exceeded last week’s quota? Then let’s increase your quota by 50%.”
Multiply these by several months, and even the most proficient rep can end up disgruntled and disillusioned, or worse, joining a competitor’s sales team. Or they’ll stay, exerting the minimum effort it would take to keep their posts.
So how can you ensure that your sales team doesn’t lose its steam?
Real motivation extends beyond daily inspirational quotes or framed motivational sayings in the receiving area. Buying your staff drinks and pizza every Friday night is fun, but doesn’t guarantee better sales performance. (In fact, once they learn to expect routine treats of this sort, it can even cause them to become complacent and counterproductive).
Here are some tested and productive ways you can encourage your sales team to perform better:
- Actively build trust
A trustworthy leader begets respect. When a team respects its leader, they wouldn’t want to let him or her down. Be honest and transparent, firm but reasonable with your principles, and actively exemplify the behavior and performance you want your staff to emulate.
- Direct each member’s purpose toward a common goal
People lose steam when they start questioning their purpose. Quell this by periodically reminding everyone about their specific function in the group and how they all contribute to a greater cause in your company.
- Find a common management style
Everyone wants to be managed differently. But you cannot bend back to please them all; instead, find the common ground amongst their working styles, and work with that.
- Set smaller individual and group objectives
If you have a yearly goal for your staff, make it easier to process and measure by breaking down parts of it into monthly, weekly, and daily objectives. This gives your team a clearer picture of their performance progress, making it easier to aim for improvement.
- Give public displays of appreciation
While tangible rewards like pay bonuses are certainly welcome, open appreciation for a job well done encourages your staff to improve their output. Also, a sincere and well-meant “Thank you for [insert specific action + accomplishment]” is always helpful.
- Implement a measurable activity-based rewards system
Focus on your team’s sales-oriented activities, not just the results. If they excel in lead generation, or increase email or phone responses from prospects, acknowledge it as a strength. This tells your people that they are valued for their innate abilities, not just the numbers they produce.
- Give your team a hefty carrot
Hosting friendly sales-related competitions in your company keeps your staff sharp while fostering teamwork. Giving them a significant but attainable incentive to outdo each other maintains their competitive drive, which they’ll use later against competitors from other companies. It also improves everyone’s performance.
- Balance rewards.
Deny appreciation and tangible rewards, and your team will move to more appreciative companies. Give too much too often, and they’ll take you and their work for granted. Know when, how often, how, and how much you dish out rewards to keep your staff striving for more.