“Every sale has five obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.” – Zig Ziglar
No desire translates to no motivation. Salespeople constantly need to be motivated. I pondered on why motivation is such an integral part of sales and came up with two reasons:
- Because of what they do
They are constantly making cold calls, building reports, generate leads, attending sales meetings, building their sales pipeline, trying to hit their numbers, and generating revenue. A large portion of these activities includes building relationships with customers and that requires nerve-racking concentration to cut through the competition and win the deal. Moreover, these “cold” activities are not rewarding, but rather tedious. A Baylor University study reveals that for every 330 cold calls made, approximately one appointment is set (a 330:1 call-to-appointment ratio).
- Because of what they don’t do
Salespeople should always perform… always. Their performance directly impacts the business. If they don’t perform, there is no revenue.
Sales force compensation represents the single largest marketing investment for most B2B companies. In aggregate, U.S. companies alone spend more than $800 billion on it each year—three times more than they spend on advertising. As a sales manager, you need to constantly find new ways to motivate your teams to perform well.
Below are 10 sales motivation tips to boost your sales team:
Build trust by being transparent
The foundation of building relationships is trust. As a manager, you need to earn the trust of your sales folk so they feel comfortable and encouraged to share their concerns and challenges with you. You need to pay constant attention to their needs–i.e. the tools and support they need to achieve their goals.
In Roy Bartell’s words, “Most people think ‘selling’ is the same as ‘talking.’ But effective salespeople know that listening is the most important part of their job.” You listen more and act on what you hear. And the more you act, the more inspired your your team gets. You build trust by keeping their best interests at heart.
This transparency helps to build a positive work culture. A brain-imaging study found that when employees recalled a boss that had been unkind or lacked empathy, they displayed increased brain activity in regions associated with avoidance and negative emotion. On the other hand, the opposite was true when they recalled an empathetic boss. Moreover, Jane Dutton and her colleagues in the CompassionLab, at the University of Michigan, suggest that leaders who demonstrate compassion toward employees foster individual and collective resilience in challenging times.
Provide positive feedback
This one also many seem like common sense, but you would be surprised by just how many sales managers and directors don’t stop by to congratulate their reps on a job well done, or compliment them on a specific tactic of theirs.
Many sales managers assume that their team already knows how much they are valued and appreciated. But, it’s never a good idea to assume anything in the world of sales. Simply taking two minutes out of your day, to stop by the desk of a rep to let them know how impressed you were by their presentation, will generate a mountain of motivation. Nothing kills employee morale and motivation more than working hard and feeling like no one is taking notice. It just takes a few minutes out of your day, but the impact is enormous.
Meeting with peers
Invest time in conducting a sales meeting, across teams, across geographies, and across hierarchies. You can discuss:
- Trends in the market
- Reception of your product – geography wise
- Recent closures
- Industry-specific responses to your products
- How to cut through competition
- Handling saturated markets
- Sales processes
- Sales hurdles
- And a lot more
These discussions create an educational tour for new employees. They also allow sales management to understand how changes to the product are impacting market reception. They even allow other teams, like marketing and customer support, to improve and align their strategies according to emerging trends.
Give great rewards
Though rewards in the form of monetary incentives or recognition boost the motivation of your sales team, it’s the small things that matter most. Take time to recognize and reward qualities of your sales rep like positive attitudes, positive cold calling results, more sales meeting contributions, being creative, etc.
When your team is recognized beyond the volume of sales they produce, they will be further motivated to improve their performance. These small things may include:
- A pat on the back
- Positive, reinforcing conversations once in a while
- Joining them in sales calls/meetings
- Taking your team out for lunch/dinner
- Recognize their birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
Establish realistic goals
Salespeople are at high risk of losing track of their deliverables because the only thing that’s required of them is revenue. But reaching revenue goals is not easy. Establish realistic goals. Most salespeople are overwhelmed with unrealistic targets set by their management.
“When 10%–20% of salespeople miss goals, the problem might be the salespeople. But when most salespeople miss, the problem is their goals,” wrote the Harvard Business Review. Before setting targets, you need to have a standard business plan that includes significant research around:
- Determining your company’s goals
- Interacting and assessing individual reps’ strengths
- Your product’s reach in the market
- What you want to achieve, etc.
Once you assess the above, you will get an understanding of in which areas your sales team is struggling, and accordingly, you can course correct to meet their needs.
Sales gamification software is a highly effective method for providing incentives and motivating your sales team. Set goals for your individual reps, and reward them for meeting their objectives. You can offer them a monetary incentive, or something as simple as half-day off.
The incentive itself is less important than the fact that they feel they have earned a reward for their hard work. It tells them that you value their hard work, and that they are valued as an employee. You can award incentives for just about anything, including:
- Side-by-side comparisons of individual rep performance
- Deals won
- Calls made
- Revenue generated
- Tasks completed
Gamification encourages open mentoring, coaching, sales team project management, information sharing and collaborative sales techniques. Custom leaderboards give a quick view of the performance of every salesperson. With Agile CRM’s gamification features, you can also customize leaderboards to display actionable insights about each rep’s deals, tasks, calls, and revenue.
Lead by example
“Who you are speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you are saying.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s important for every leader to mold themselves into an example of what they expect to see from their team. And, as rightly said by Albert Schweitzer, “The three most important ways to lead people are… by example… by example… by example”. Behind every successful team is an inspiring and motivational sales manager.
You are where you are because of what you have accomplished professionally. You are a sales manager because of your successful background in sales. You can align your learning and transfer that to your team. They will be filled with enthusiasm when learn about a past challenge you faced that was similar to one they are currently struggling with, and what you did to overcome it. This gives them the relief of believing that they too can overcome it.
If you do what you expect from your team – come every day on time, never miss meetings, participate in open conversations, meet your targets, etc. your team will respect your work ethic and will be encouraged to meet your expectations.
Empower your sales team
Arm them the right set of tools to enable them to focus less on routine administration, and more on higher valued tasks. Software tools like customer relationship management (CRM) is imperative to any sales process. It’s bewildering that 22% of salespeople still don’t know what a CRM is, while 40% still use informal methods like spreadsheets and email systems to store customer data. CRM solutions not only streamline your team’s routine, daily tasks, but also better aligns them with marketing and customer support for improved communication and collaboration.
Below are few statistics that highlight the importance of CRM to salespeople:
- CRM applications can help increase sales by up to 29%, sales productivity by up to 34% and sales forecast accuracy by 42%. – Salesforce
- The average return on investment for CRM is $8.71 for every dollar spent. – Nucleus Research
- Sales reps saw their productivity increased by 26.4% when adding social networking and mobile access to CRM applications – Nucleus Research
- 24% more sales reps achieve annual sales quota with mobile access to their CRM. – Aberdeen Group
Along with software tools, you should also invest in premium accounts at websites, like LinkedIn, which are currently at the heart of the lead generation.
Sketch a personal and professional career goal
No human can find a perfect balance between personal and professional life. And sometimes personal issues might demotivate the employees and affect productivity as a whole. As a manager, you need to sit with your team and understand what they want to accomplish in their personal and professional lives. This will not only help you in understanding them but also gives you insight into what things will motivate them most.
You can ask questions like:
- What motivates you?
- Are you motivated by your work?
- How can I help you be motivated?
Answers to these will lead you to decide if the role they are in is a good fit or not, and accordingly, you can make changes.
Team building events are not overly popular with employees, and they often believe that investing time in such activities could hinder their performance. In fact, nearly one-third of office workers report that they dislike team building activities.
But research says otherwise. A meta-analysis of 103 studies spanning sixty years of research shows that team building does indeed have positive and measurable effects on team performance.
Indulge in team building activities to get your team to genuinely relax and have fun.
Proper motivation consists of finding the things that makes your team go the extra mile. Sales representatives who are demotivated need more than dollars to stay focused and meet numbers. Let us know what ways of motivation you prefer to implement your job by commenting in the comments section below.