A sales manager’s job can be pretty hectic. Balancing meetings, follow ups and deadlines are daily tasks that form a fast-paced, high-pressure, demanding environment that not many can keep up with. The result – burnouts and lack of enthusiasm, leading to unsatisfying results and lower sales.
According to a study conducted by Gallup, of the 5 billion people on the planet, only 1.4 billion have a good job, and just 16% of those are engaged. Overall, disengaged workers are costing the economy $300 billion or more per year.
And while we all dream of having a super motivated sales team willing to be proactive and lead our companies to success, the reality is that without the right motivation approach from team leaders, this will never happen.
But motivating your sales team isn’t an easy task, though it might seem that way at first. The human factor makes it difficult to form one overall strategy and requires leaders to combine different methods for every case. It’s not enough to put up a few motivational posters and leave it at that. Each member of your team is a different person, with his or her own set of values and vision, who requires a personal approach.
It’s also a misconception to believe that sales managers only require money to be motivated. The truth is they require much more than that – a sense of achievement and accomplishment. They want to be respected for what they do and for the input they provide.
39% of employees feel under-appreciated at work, with 77% reporting that they would work harder if they felt better recognised. (source: Hawk Incentives)
By incorporating financial and non-financial ways of motivating your team, you are essentially getting a much more effective result that will guarantee higher productivity and engagement. Here are a few ideas that can help:
Make them feel like they belong
Did you know that only 40% of employees are well informed of their company’s goals, strategy, and tactics? Without a clear vision it is hard to see yourself as part of something big.
Sales managers need to feel like they belong, like they are part of big mechanism driving the company boat to its desired destination. Without this sense, you have a group of individuals rowing in different directions.
In its Millennial Survey 2017, Deloitte discovered that six out of 10 millennial’s say a “sense of purpose,” is part of the reason they chose to work for their current employer.
Try to explain to each member of your sales team where he or she fits in. How their work specifically is affecting the company and its success. Discuss different paths they can take as individuals to get better results and progress.
Make it a tradition to hold short strategy meetings, where you share corporate goals and objectives with them and give them better visibility. Show them your sales metrics, so they see how well or how bad the sales are going. This way they will be able to see if they are doing a good job or if they need to step it up a notch.
Share customer feedback and highlight the achievements of each employee, so that they feel appreciated and remind them that, successful customer experience, is one of their target goals. Allow them to share their recent accomplishments with the team and discuss what they found exciting about that specific project.
Make a habit of celebrating big deals and the employee who closed them, by doing something special for the whole team, like going out for drinks or ordering cupcakes. You can even create a symbol of achievement, a small trophy of some sort, that will be passed on to the praised employee.
This way you will motivate your employees to have a more team-orientated mindset and to work harder, so that they can be praised that way too.
Learn to manage without really managing
According to a Trinity Solutions survey published in Harry E. Chambers’ book My Way or the Highway: The Micromanagement Survival Guide, 79% of respondents revealed that they had or were currently experiencing micromanagement in the workplace while 69% had considered changing jobs. To make things even worse, 85% of respondents said that their morale was impacted negatively by being micromanaged.
Total control is really not the way to a motivated team. Micromanagement births a sense of mistrust and makes the employees feel like their professional skills aren’t being considered. It’s one thing, when you set specific goals and monitor their progress, and another when you are trying to control how the goals are being achieved, what tools and techniques are being used.
The more your employees feel that they are trusted with responsibilities and are given a shot as captain, the more they will feel involved and willing not to disappoint. Allow them to find their own path to the set destination.
Delegate as much as you can and permit your sales managers to make their own decisions where they can. Find what supervision approach works best for them. Would they prefer to have short daily meetings to discuss progress or would weekly sit-downs bring a better result? Never force one method of communication on all your team members and don’t hesitate to ask them questions, that will help you to figure out their personal work style.
Help your team by providing them with the tools they require. If you see that they are burdened by a load of administrative work that eats up time from their main goals, find ways to automate them. Invest in a sales CRM, that can help them manage their leads and that will allow you to monitor the process in real-time, without having to constantly pull each employee away from his work.
Focus more on creating an honest, trustworthy relationship inside your team. Trust is the most important aspect of any healthy relationship and only with its help can motivation be created. The more transparent and open you are with your employees, the more comfortable they will feel and the more security you will have.
Don’t be scared to confront your employees if you feel like something is off. Talk to them and let them see that you are ready to listen, support and advise.
Provide them with options
We understand that not everybody’s budget can afford to give out constant rewards. But not all rewards have to involve big sums. Provide your employees with different options and let them choose which one’s appeal to them the most.
Learning and obtaining new professional skills, can act as a great motivation boost. Try to understand and gain insights on your team members’ personal goals. Sit down and form Individual Professional Growth Plans with each one so you can choose rewards accordingly. Offer mentorship to less-experienced employees and training sessions for more experienced ones, where they can be provided with a fresh perspective on their daily activities.
Another great motivation idea that brings great results are out of the office team building activities. Organising outside events with your team, where everyone participates and has fun, doesn’t only bring your employees together and helps them to form stronger bonds between them, but also motivates them to work harder as a team.
Finally, if you do opt for financial bonuses as a motivational tool, make sure that the system of acquiring them is crystal clear to everyone. Each employee needs to understand why and how a money bonus was given and that if he or she did the same, they would get one too.
Reward ideas that can help you motivate your sales team:
- Buy or cook them lunch or dinner
- Organise a bring your pet to work day
- Organise a corporate charity event (car wash, garage sale) to help them feel part of a good cause
- Give them the days off after overtime
- Organise a sport activity
- Throw a pool party, BBQ or picnic
- Play paintball or dodgeball
- Hold a cinema night
- Hold a funny shirt Friday at work
- Celebrate Halloween, Christmas and any other fun holiday
The goal: Do something playful and memorable.
Let the games begin
Recently, a new motivation technique has been rapidly growing in popularity called Gamification. Based on healthy competition, it creates a fun, collaborative atmosphere that boosts morale and gets things done.
The concept is simple – pick an area you want your employees to be more motivated about, like lead generation or cold calling, and turn it into a game, with clear rules, goals, time frames and rewards.
You can create digital scoreboards or even hang a real one in the office, so that everyone can see the progress. The prize can be anything from a funny plush toy to a day off, as it’s the process of winning that will be more important. It can even be a business lunch with the CEO, where they will be able to share their ideas and opinions freely.
Sales people are usually quite competitive people, so a contest game is something right up their alley. And everyday activities will shine in new light if there is an element of fun added to them.
85% of employees attain quota and 51% of new hires achieve their numbers in their first year when gamification is used (source: Aberdeen)
If you are also interested, you can explore the subject of evoking creativity in your employees.