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A self-driven sales force is an essential factor in a company’s overall success. For this reason, it is important to ensure your team is continually motivated to do well. Unfortunately, there is evidence to suggest that only a third of your sales team are engaged at all times, meaning it’s all too common for a sales force to flop. So how can you change this around? A study published by Sciedu identified a number of contributing influences that determine motivation. These included a clear and effective appraisal system, good communication between team members and a sense of value within the organization as a whole. The following top tips will help you to give your sales force a boost, which will ultimately enhance their performance.
Well structured and achievable goals are paramount in keeping a sales force motivated. The University of Southern California reported that vague goals not only deter the salesperson from achieving anything substantial, but can lead them to creating their own objectives which may not reflect the mission of the company. The same goes for targets that are ‘ever stretching’ and never really obtainable. This is demotivating to the sales staff, whereas challenging, concrete, and current goals promote focus and drive. At Hoopla, we break our targets into smaller, obtainable goals that can be met incrementally. These goals are shared as metrics on digital sales leaderboards throughout the office, motivating our team to stay on track and focus on the activities that drive more sales.
Sales incentives based on commission structures have been used for decades, proving to be a key motivator for the salesperson and ultimately profitable for the company. But another school of thought originally published in the 1985 book ‘Marketing Science’, implies that flat incentive schemes don’t take into account more complex factors in the daily life of a salesperson, such as market uncertainty or effort level. This can lead to demotivated staff who don’t feel as valued as some of their colleagues. It’s worth noting that the Institute Of Leadership and Management report shows that those under the age of 30 are more financially motivated than their older colleagues. Another study by Indiana University has shown non-financial incentives to be highly effective, such as rewarding a salesperson with the opportunity to lead a project. These can be customized to suit the individuals on the sales team in hand. Recognition is an effective and low-cost way to reward a salesperson. Oftentimes, we only reward our sales reps for the closed deal, but never for the accomplishments and success along the way. Whether it’s reaching the call quota for the day or booking a qualified meeting, celebrating these smaller wins gives our reps the recognition they deserve for the activities they’re rocking on.
While daily meetings with your sales team may feel like overkill, it is highly recommended by experts such as Nick Bentley, a best-selling author and co-founder of Ventry Capital. These meetings needn’t be formal and are often referred to as a ‘stand up meeting’ and range 5-10 minutes. Their purpose is to brief the team and management about tasks that need completing that day/week, and allows free communication at the beginning of the day to enable clear direction. A 2014 study conducted by Washington University showed that these mini-meetings can drastically improve creativity, performance and sales outcomes. Why not make it fun by incorporating coffee, cakes, music or stimulating visual aids? After all, salespeople are an energetic bunch and need to keep their strength up.
Failing is sometimes inevitable, but it can also be used to a sales team’s advantage. The more strategies that are experimented with, the more likely you’ll find one that really works well. Giving free reign for experimentation is a great motivator, as most people who enter into the sales profession are natural risk-takers anyway. By giving an individual autonomy to try new methods and explore fresh territory, they will feel a sense of adventure that significantly boosts their overall performance.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and process your emotions in an intelligent way. This assists in developing better empathy, people skills, self awareness and motivation. Some of your sales staff will already possess these abilities, and you can spot them a mile away as they tend to be the ‘super-sellers’ who have a natural sense for what a client needs. Emotional intelligence can be cultivated in areas where it may be sparse. According to a study by the Human Resources Management Review, building on these skills through training and development will directly impact on the satisfaction and job success of the salesperson. This will then amplify their motivation to do well. The lead generation process is expensive so return on investment needs to be optimized. And motivating your sales force is an essential component in building the kind of results where sales can flourish. Salespeople are naturally adventurous and energetic, but require autonomy, trust, personalized incentives and effective communication to go above and beyond in their role.