Motivate Sales Teams: New and Experienced Ones

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The lifeblood of any business is the success of its sales team. It is a high-pressure occupation where competition is fierce – it takes a certain type of person to thrive in this jungle. For every deal that is closed, you can guarantee there has been a plethora of knockbacks and rejections. Understandably, it can be a hugely demotivating profession- being a salesperson that can submit even the most experienced salespeople into daydreaming about doing something else with their lives, never mind those that are new to the sales game. So how to motivate sales teams?

The carrot of earning a sizeable commission is the most common incentive offered to sales teams, which can often result in squabbles over whose sales are whose and salesmen and women becoming protective over their leads. They don’t want to see someone else walk away with ‘their’ commission, even though they are batting for the same team.

There are no two ways about it, sales teams are financially driven. That’s why they entered the game in the first place. Recognition, however, goes a long way in motivating any sales team.

Recognise and Motivate Sales Team

Everyone wants to feel recognised for doing a good job, it is human nature. While the incentive of a hefty bonus is always at the forefront of their mind, they want to be seen to be doing a good job among their peers, and certainly by management.

There are several ways in which a business can recognise the success of any sales team, such as:

  • Salesperson of the month/year awards
  • Post leaderboards
  • Mention in internal communications (i.e. emails and newsletters etc…)
  • Set team goals
  • Acknowledge smaller achievements

Salesperson of The Month/Year Awards

Recognising the department’s outstanding performer of the month/year is a great way of motivating the team without the need for further opening up the purse strings. The award itself should be something classy, having a prestigious look about it, such as engraved glassware. But it is more about recognition in front of their peers. Salespeople are naturally competitive creatures, so offering an award that comes with bragging rights will serve to motivate any salesperson into wanting their day in the sun.

Post Leaderboards to Motivate Sales Teams

This method could work one of two ways. If it works well, your sales team will be ramping up their efforts so that they are not left lagging behind without anywhere to hide. They want to be at the top of the standings. Beware, however, that this can also have a counterproductive effect on those that are struggling with everyone able to see their figures. And how far away they are from hitting their target. Whether or not posting a leaderboard is a good idea for your business ultimately comes down to you and your knowledge of how best to motivate your staff and what they react well and not so well to.

Mention in Internal Communications

Small businesses with just a handful of employees may feel they do not need internal communications such as a company-wide email or newsletter. But this can go a long way. A mention in internal communication, talking up a recent achievement such as a new customer they have brought on. If you are a small business with just one or two salespeople, where specific salesperson awards aren’t justifiable. This acts as a great means of recognising them as well as making them feel part of the team.

Set Team Goals

Going back to the point of salespeople being highly competitive creatures, setting team goals helps to relay the fact that they are all part of the same team. A team goal can look like either an overall target and helps to motivate sales teams. Whereby everyone contributes to hitting that target and everyone benefits (regardless of their individual performance). Or a goal of every person in the team of hitting their target. That can work well in way of encouraging the sales team to support one another. Although if the team misses out on an incentive due to the poor performance of one person it can have a detrimental effect on morale.

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Acknowledge Smaller Achievements

Not every little thing needs to be shouted about from the rooftops. But we must see them. This is all about your ability as a manager to be able to set relevant individual targets and objectives. A good target for one salesperson could be completely unreasonable for another. For example, a salesperson with 20-plus years of experience and relationships they have forged over that time is to be expected to have a higher target than a young and inexperienced salesperson that is new to the industry. For new salespeople in particular, acknowledging smaller achievements, such as their first sale, their first new customer etc. They will go a long way to keeping them happy. And building their confidence up as they grow and develop within the role.

Striking the Balance Between Financial and Non-Financial Incentives

Not every incentive has to be or indeed should be, financial to motivate sales teams. In saying that, it cannot be ignored that financial incentives are big for salespeople. It is why finding the correct balance between bonuses/commission and recognition is important.

The two can go hand-in-hand, such as offering a suitable bonus along with a salesperson of the year award. How you choose to set up your reward strategy is completely up to you. And it should be carefully considered. So that it is of value to the business by pushing your sales team to produce better results with an incentive than without it.

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