Money will not buy you a motivated sales team. Motivation is more than just numbers. Sales managers need ways to create a desire in salespeople to win, to have fun and to be rewarded. Sales people love money. You must therefore compensate them fairly, with an understandable structure, for their work but also for their victories. Beyond money, you can use motivational tactics that are perfectly suited to salespeople. In this article, we will detail 25 of them.
#1 Focus on actions before results
Focusing solely on your sales results can be stressful, especially since as a salesperson you can influence but never control the outcome. You can control your actions that have the most visible positive effects on the achievement of your goals, namely the number of sales. For example, you can control your cold calling and see if you talk more than the caller, but the prospect’s decision to buy or not is entirely up to them.
Motivate your sales team by encouraging them to build their schedule around key sales actions. Focus on the means and the results will come.
#2 Encourage those who do more
“Don’t expect to be motivated every day. Rely on discipline. ” – Jocko Willink
There are two types of salespeople: those who come in and do the work, and those who go beyond. When a salesperson works weekends or stays late, you, as the sales manager, should recognize this and not hesitate to thank them. Time and effort are the only factors a vendor can control, so pay attention to those who give it their all. And, when you have two salespeople who are neck and neck in terms of performance, the one who has worked the most overtime will be at the top of your list.
#3 Encourage collaboration
Salespeople are by nature competitive, but competing against each other can create negative motivation. This leads some to disregard their colleagues, and even resent them. Put collaboration above competition! The goal is to compete with your competitors, not with each other. Encourage collaboration by rewarding mentoring, knowledge sharing and efforts to work together to overcome competition.
#4 Celebrate the victories, even the small ones
You don’t need to party every time your salespeople go to a meeting. But morale rises when small achievements are recognized, according to a Harvard Business School study. Small victories have a great power on improving moods and changing the perception of the challenge given to them. Acknowledge small wins – like moving a prospect a little further down the pipeline – with written or verbal praise.
Wondering how to “celebrate” a victory? It can be very simple: offer the tour at the next afterwork for example.
#5 Publicly congratulate your teams
Recognition of small victories is powerful (especially for salespeople who are not comfortable with public praise). Public praise for the entire team gives a double dose of morale boost. Your praise at a meeting, while everyone is there, is the first dose. Colleagues talking about the victory and congratulating each other is the second dose.
#6 Give your teams more perspective
People who find meaning in their work are more motivated and committed. As salespeople, they might only see their goal as creating accounts and making money for the company. Their true motivation will come from understanding the social purpose of your product or service and its impact on people and communities.
Gather testimonials from customers on a regular basis – what they’ve accomplished or how your product or service has made their lives easier. Present them to everyone in the company, as it is important that people outside of sales see the results as well.
#7 Keep an eye on the companies that are in the pipe
For salespeople, closing deals with customers they like is important for their morale. Final results will most likely follow. Entrepreneur and sales consultant Troy Hazard shared personal proof that this approach works to motivate salespeople: he realized that 60% of his company’s customers were people his team didn’t like, respect, or particularly trust. He didn’t get rid of those customers, but he did ask his sales team to refocus on the company’s values. In a note, he wrote:
“From now on, our new criteria for taking on new business will be that we like the customer and they are willing to pay our price. Don’t deviate from that and follow your intuition, and try to get potential customers to fit into our culture or what we stand for.”
His team’s morale immediately increased.
#8 Ask your salespeople how they want to interact with you
Just as different prospects will require different selling styles, effective managers will understand that the best way to get results from their team is to blend into their communication style. Here are some questions you can ask your sales representatives to make your exchanges as smooth as possible:
- What is your preferred pace of interaction? (Once a week, more? Less?)
- How do you want me to give you feedback?
- Do you prefer public or private praise and feedback?
- If I hear something wrong, do you want me to tell you, send you an email, wait for our one-on-one or something else?
- If something I do makes you angry, will you tell me?
#9 Build trust
The foundation of motivation is trust. If your team doesn’t trust you, it will be difficult for them to feel inspired and motivated by their work. Managers must build trust and then maintain it by engaging with their team in a consistent and rewarding way. The best way to build trust is to be completely transparent. Simply discussing this particular trust can be a great way to get off on the right foot.
Ask your salespeople directly, for example, “Julia, I want to make sure we have a trusting relationship. How can we build trust between us? “It’s pretty straightforward and a great way to explain to the team that you’re interested in working on a constructive business relationship, rather than just being their boss.
#10 Create daily, weekly & monthly goals
Different sales people are motivated in different ways. Here’s how you should think about each type of goal to keep your salespeople motivated:
- Daily: this is a very short-term goal designed to get a salesperson out of their routine. It should be something fun and light, because the salesman doesn’t do much to earn it.
- Weekly: This is a more tangible goal with a defined business impact. It should be a slightly higher reward, such as a round of golf, that will influence his results.
- Monthly: the largest of the three objectives. Monthly goals come with higher value rewards based on extraordinary performance. Choose material rewards such as a speaker or a smartphone rather than money.
#11 Let your salespeople choose their rewards
In sales, it’s often easy to focus on setbacks, as they usually occur more often than the small and big wins. Get salespeople to focus more on wins by asking them to track them on a daily basis, even if it’s just little things like a successful conversation with a customer.
Compile at least one of these wins for each vendor in a weekly “winning message” sent to the team. Include wins in categories that are important to your business, such as professional development, understanding the industry, staying ahead of the competition and/or signing a first deal.
#12 Pay attention to your processes
In the New York Times, Barry Schwartz explores how companies often pursue efficiency that, on the face of it, should make workers more effective. Yet this routine and division of labor comes with the undesirable human cost of employees getting less satisfaction from their work. It’s an often overlooked trade-off: the goals of efficiency – and ultimately, greater profits – come at the cost of decreased employee happiness.
Taylorism has lost its charm. While it may seem effective in the short term, it quickly becomes very costly in terms of motivation, absenteeism, etc.
#13 Give autonomy …
Karl Staib says that some people just don’t realize that they already have a lot of autonomy in their work. What Staib, author of Work Happy Now, recommends is as simple as it is brilliant: remind employees of the autonomy they already have.
#14 … But not too much
Sales managers are usually the primary coaches of salespeople. However, they can only be used after mistakes or losses. That’s why, most of the time, sales people only associate coaching with failure, which is a blow to morale.
Motivate salespeople by showing commitment during coaching: time spent praising, developing and improving, as well as strategically planned time to help when it is most needed.
#15 Pay attention to your personal life balance
Salespeople have hectic jobs and lives. This can lead to a poor balance between nutrition, exercise and sleep. And when they are not at their best, motivation will suffer. Leaders need to keep a close eye on the numbers, but also on the physical well-being of salespeople. If vendors admit or seem to feel sleep deprived, suggest a break or simply a nap. You can even go so far as to modify the menus at the canteen by putting in only healthy products. Also encourage them to take time to exercise and relax in the way they prefer.
#16 Make your salespeople heroes
Heroes are motivated to do the least natural things in the worst of circumstances. Sounds like the sales environment, right?
“Leaders can (and should) recognize, support, and reward a heroic salesperson in a variety of ways, including encouraging and rewarding risk taking. Tolerate a reasonable level of failure and support those who act on bold visions.”
Says Andy Gole, president of Urgency Based Selling and author of Innovate Now – Scale up with 16 Sales Breakthrough Techniques, in Forbes Councils. To motivate vendors, Gole suggests:
- Smartly support creativity and risk-taking. When these are done well and generate positive results, salespeople will feel like heroes.
- Help salespeople convey strong beliefs. The more sales people see the benefits of your products and services, the more they believe in what they are selling.
- Encourage rest. Meditation, yoga and other relaxation methods help them avoid burnout and stay heroes.
#17 Take care of human relations with other teams
When trying to motivate a sales team, the seemingly trivial things that have a demotivating effect are often overlooked. A few of them: finger-pointing, silos and retorting between critical areas such as marketing, customer support and development.
Sales managers who maintain good relationships between their salespeople and other departments have higher morale than those who create adversarial relationships. Bring groups together to discover ways to communicate better, collaborate more often on projects, and celebrate group victories.
#18 Be available
Sales managers who stay immersed in the sales process – without micromanaging – tend to be more sympathetic to the day-to-day difficulties of salespeople. Salespeople are motivated when they know their bosses are empathetic and easy to reach when they need immediate help. Knowing that the boss has your back is a good boost.
#19 Train your sales people
Most salespeople are motivated by the opportunity to learn more about their industry, their customers, their products or services, and other topics that will help them do their jobs better. Encourage them to learn even more by setting aside time in their schedule to attend virtual and off-site educational events (not just events where they would sell). Also direct them to relevant webinars and podcasts.
#20 Stay positive
Everyone in sales faces negative situations every week, if not every day – rejection, anger, confusion. It is difficult to overcome all the challenges and stay motivated day after day. This is where sales managers need to step in:
- Acknowledge salespeople’s concerns and failures, but avoid “stirring the pot.”
- Acknowledge the frustrations, but use positive language and offer suggestions for staying focused on personal goals and company values.
- Identify challenges and fears, but continue to take and suggest risks.
#21 Fewer meetings, more breaks
Dan Schawbel, writing in Forbes, points out what some salespeople are afraid to mention to their colleagues – that some meetings are simply a waste of time. Sometimes we have meetings just for the “fun” of having meetings. As a result, Schawbel advocates fewer but more structured meetings. He also says it’s critical for companies to encourage employees to have more time to themselves so they can network.
Look at how many meetings on your calendar are really necessary.
#22 Say thank you
Perhaps salary and benefits are not the ultimate solution. Laura Troyani, marketing director of TINYpulse, explains how you can do this with your employees. For example, positive interactions in the workplace play a key role in their satisfaction. Troyani also mentions that saying “thank you” and explaining why you’re grateful goes a long way toward improving employee perception in the workplace.
In a way, gratitude as an elixir of happiness seems quite obvious. And yet, how many of us are thanked enough for all our hard work? On the other hand, how many of us thank others enough for their hard work?
#23 Know your salespeople’s motivations
You can only motivate someone if you know what motivates them. Understand what each of your direct reports wants to accomplish in their personal and professional lives. This will not only show you the type of person they are, but also give you insight into what will motivate them the most. Once you understand their goals, ask them the following questions:
- Are you motivated right now?
- What motivates you in the long run?
- What can you do to motivate yourself?
- How will I know if you are not motivated?
- What do you want me to do if you don’t seem motivated?
Even if it seems obvious, you should always ask them. If they can’t give you the answers to these questions, give them 48 hours to figure it out. Forcing your salespeople to think about themselves increases the likelihood that they will give you thoughtful answers, which will be better for both of you in the long run.
#24 Tool your teams cleanly
“Expect to make mistakes when trying different approaches.” – Harvey Mackay
Prospecting can seem tedious when salespeople see how far down the funnel they need to go to make a sale. Select the right tools to increase motivation, such as a B2B lead generation tool. When you search for prospects on Linkedin,Lusha’s Chrome extension locates their contact information and saves it directly into your CRM.
#25 Encourage your sales people to coach your SDRs
Sometimes the perception of an RDC is wrong. They put in long hours, think they’re crushing everything in their path, but they don’t necessarily work very well. You often realize that they :
- Dither when dealing with objections
- Lack of confidence when making calls
- Still don’t understand your product
For the good of your company, it would be good for one of your CSRs to exchange with a sales person that he/she appreciates, that he/she esteems, and that this esteem is reciprocal of course. During a lunch, for example, he will have to insist on the product, work on the objections, etc. In short, an informal “coaching” in order to try to change the mentality of the SDR and thus increase his performance. You can also track these 10 sales performance indicators.