Salespeople are generally thought of as a necessary but mysterious part of an organization. Mysterious in that business leaders are uncertain how to best find, motivate, retain and grow the right sales team that delivers maximum performance.
A common mistake is to assume that salespeople are solely motivated by money. This isn’t the case. Like everyone else, salespeople are motivated by non-monetary, intrinsic behaviors and rewards that must be taken into account when seeking to drive better sales performance.
Consider the following ideas as you work with your sales team to new performance and reward.
1. Set Goals. Establish very clear, actionable, and measurable goals. Not setting goals creates ambiguity, difficulty in measuring progress and discourages salespeople. Any goals should consider overall revenue, gross profit contribution, territory and account management goals, lead conversion rates, opportunity conversion rates, average deal size, closure ratios and timeframes. Make sure your salespeople and team know what’s expected.
2. Provide Training. Salespeople need training beyond initial onboarding. They, like others, are interested in how they can better their craft, be more effective at selling and further their skill set for advancement. Businesses tend to want to keep salespeople in the field, thinking that salespeople in training equates to “lost opportunity.” Instead, offer training opportunities to your salespeople and give them time to participate—viewing this as an investment in your business and their future.
3. Build Relationships. Don’t hire, train then let them go into the field without supervision and continuous relationship building. Salespeople can quickly feel isolated and disconnected from the business. Create opportunities to connect with each of your salespeople in 1:1 meetings and scheduled ride-a-long activities to see them in action and to build crucial interpersonal relationships. You are their conduit to the company and their point of loyalty to your team.
4. Ensure Accountability. People want to know how they are doing. Salespeople are no different. Proactively create opportunity to get your salespeople together and create accountability for actions and results, individually and as a group. Regularly schedule team sales meetings to share progress, obstacles and solutions, “wins” and ideas on how to improve your market and sell your products and services.
5. Promote Excellence. Your customers must trust your salespeople. You must trust them as well. Communicate and promote shared values, creating a culture where excellence is required in everything. Challenge the sales team to new levels of personal and professional integrity and ensure that expectations are clearly conveyed and understood.
6. Build Trust. Salespeople want to know that they have representation within the company and that they’re not alone. Salespeople want to have a ‘voice’ on matters of policy, order fulfillment, customer support and strategies for success. Salespeople want to know they have the support and encouragement of their peers and managers—thereby allowing the salespeople to focus on selling instead of interoffice politics or non-selling challenges. Work with sales teams to build their trust in you and with each other.
7. Coach, Don’t Pressure. It’s true, a ‘pressure cooker’ sales environment can bring short-term results. It’s also true that the same environment creates long-term damage to the organization and business. Coach salespeople to greater levels of performance instead of using threats or punishment. Through coaching to better performance, you will actually improve overall revenue and will reduce costly turnover challenges.
8. Solve Problems Quickly and Decisively. Salespeople live in the world of winners and losers. They know who performs and whw doesn’t. Salespeople want to be on a winning team, not hanging out with losers. If you have salespeople who aren’t meeting expectation, quickly coach them to the expectation or remove them from the team. Don’t let low or non-performers linger in the hope of some sort of miraculous recovery. Leaving poor performing salespeople on a team that demands high performance diminishes your credibility with the team as well as creates an atmosphere inconsistent with excellence.
9. Integrate with Marketing. Break down the persistent barrier between sales and marketing. Help salespeople to understand that marketing is their single biggest advocate and partner in finding more deals and giving the salespeople the tools to close more business. Help the marketing team to solicit input from the sales team on promotions, campaigns, and sales tools to accelerate impact and heighten return on investment.
10. Provide Opportunities for Growth. It’s a well known axiom that, “eagles don’t flock.” Your best and most productive salespeople will be constantly on the lookout for new and rewarding opportunity for professional and personal growth. Make sure it’s you that provide those opportunities within your company, or risk losing the best to the competition.
The Afterburner Group has been new levels of sales performance for companies in the technology, energy, services, manufacturing and non-profit industries for over 25 years.
If you think that your sales team or results are suffering and could benefit from an assessment, process simplification or new energy, fill out the contact form below and we’ll let you know what that might look like and how you’d benefit.
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