Sales Reps: The New Rockstars of the Workforce
The perception of Sales as a career is evolving. With the introduction of the SaaS industry along with new technologies that have ushered in the “Sales 2.0” era, Sales has become one of the most important roles for companies to fill. The Sales Rep is no longer seen as just the shrewd man with a briefcase with especially great people skills, but as someone entering a formidable career. According to Salesforce Training, over one trillion dollars are spent annually on sales forces and Skilledup says 12.3% of all jobs in the U.S (1 in 8) are full time sales positions. It seems sales reps are leading the future of work.
New Skills Are Required of Sales Reps
As Harvard Business Review says, “The sales tool kit has advanced dramatically: It now includes sophisticated analytics to identify opportunities, software to discipline processes and produce forecasts, and negotiation expertise to broker complex deals.” This means a role that was once seen as only made for certain personality types is now a position that can be learned, studied and truly mastered. Business schools, although slow to adapt, are starting to offer sales-related courses to meet needs for trained sales candidates.
Sales Reps are now expected to master predictive and automation technologies as well as become efficient and creative about prospecting. Sales, especially in the tech industry, now takes a more advanced level of product and audience knowledge that previously may not have been as important as someone’s ability to be personable and convincing.
Sales Training Is A Top Priority for Budget Spend
Since Sales reps now require these advanced skills to be successful and their universities are not the ones teaching them, proper sales training is more important than ever. The American Society for Training and Development found that continuous trainings gives 50% higher net sales per employee. However, The Bridge Group, Inc., reported, the average company spends $10K – 15K hiring an individual and only $2K a year in sales training.
It’s important to consistently and effectively train your reps. Teaching them skills such as time management, prospecting tricks, correct sales processes, product use, prospect pain points, etc. will make all the difference when it comes to their performance. The Bridge Group, Inc. found that companies who provide three hours of coaching per rep per month have not just more productive reps, but happier reps.
Keeping Your Sales Reps Motivated
According to Gallup less than 1/3 of employees feel engaged at work. Since your sales reps are on the front line it’s important that they feel motivated and invested in the company. The Tas Group says that sales rep contribution to strategy means a 15% revenue increase. So how do you get them involved, excited about work and focused on their long term as well as short-term goals?
One way is with smart incentive programs. When planning your incentives make sure you think beyond the standard cash or small merchandise prize. Creative incentives such as experiential prizes, leasing programs, flexible work hours, etc. can increase motivation in the office. It’s also important to have prizes awarded to certain team-level achievements to encourage collaboration.
Another way to keep reps motivated is by focusing on celebration in the workplace. Sales reps crave recognition, they are extremely competitive in nature and are often motivated in similar ways to athletes. You can tap into this nature by spotlighting those who achieve important milestones and creating a culture where people congratulate each other. Tools like Hoopla can help managers easily cultivate this culture and make their reps feel like stars by displaying their achievements and metrics on TV’s and smartphones throughout the office.
Lastly, create an open environment where sales reps feel their ideas and stories from the frontlines are valued. Include them in strategy meetings, make sure there is two-way communication with executives and pose some high-level brainstorming questions for them to answer. Making sure your sales reps are aligned with your bigger goals as this will motivate them to outperform and truly care for not only their own success, but the success of the entire company.
Tips To Bringing Out The Inner Star in Your Sales Reps
1. Focus on training: A well-trained sales rep is going to be more productive, efficient and excited to take on whatever tasks you throw at them.
2. Coach: The Bridge Group, Inc. found that companies who provide three hours of coaching per rep per month have happier reps. Make sure you are setting aside to time to coach your reps and focus on their long term career goals, not just daily goals. Trish Bertuzzi, Founder of The Bridge Group, Inc., talks about this in her 5 Ways to be a Better Sales Manager post.
3. Smart Incentive Programs: Think beyond the compensation plan and cash prizes, look into more creative and experiential incentives. For some ideas check out one of our latest blog posts.
4. Focus on Celebration: Sales reps are looking for recognition, create a reward culture with tools like Hoopla.
5. Include them in strategy: Sales rep contribution to strategy means a 15% revenue increase. Make sure your reps feel heard and involved in larger company goals, it will inspire them to perform better.
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