Sales is a highly personal discipline, and the intangible, psychological factors are often most important in determining your team’s success. Even if you have an airtight strategy and all your processes are running smoothly, if your reps are not motivated, you will not get the results you desire. Fortunately, as a sales leader, there are many simple steps you can take to ensure that your sales reps are highly motivated to succeed. The fifteen tips below are a great place to start.
Another key aspect of your reps’ motivation levels is how well they are trained. As you know, training can be a huge time and resource drain; Attention helps you save time by providing real-time feedback and training for your reps.
In order to be motivated, salespeople need a why behind what they are doing. That is the role your company’s mission should feel. If your reps understand the central vision that your work is oriented around and the mission that guides it, whatever those may be, they will have much more clarity about the purpose they are working towards and how to get there. One of the biggest obstacles to motivation is uncertainty and lack of clarity, so you should make sure to discuss your company’s mission often and relate it to all the activities your reps engage in.
One of the biggest preconditions for motivation is a positive atmosphere and mindset. As a sales leader, it is partly your responsibility to create a cheerful, energetic environment. There are many ways to do this, from your general demeanor as a manager to activities and outings you could organize. One important factor is the way you give feedback. You need to be able to give negative feedback to your team, and one of the important characteristics of a great sales rep is that they can handle criticism and learn from it. However, you should still generally emphasize positive feedback more, and when you do need to make criticisms, you should preface it by pointing out something the salesperson did well. You should also be checking in to make sure your reps have positive relationships with each other. Salespeople encounter a lot of negativity interacting with leads and customers, so you should do your best to outweigh this by creating a healthy company culture.
It is almost impossible to motivate your team and get results out of them if they do not feel accountable to anyone. At the end of the day, to achieve consistent success and put in the work regularly, salespeople need to feel that someone is keeping track of their performance and that their results have consequences. Making reps feel accountable can be as simple as publicly acknowledging small wins (see below) or checking in with them if they are having a rough patch. Just feeling that management is paying attention to their performance on a day-to-day basis is usually enough to give most reps a sense of accountability.
A great way to boost motivation is keeping track of and celebrating your salespeople’s wins, however minor they may seem. This could take many forms, from simple public shout-outs to celebratory pizza dinners or nights out at a special bar. You could also try incentives such as cash prizes or awards. The rewards themselves, however, are less important than the public acknowledgment of great performance. We are social animals, and being recognized and celebrated by a group might be our most powerful motivator!
Great sales leaders focus on building great habits. It is much easier for your team members to maintain morale if they have a clear and effective system to fall back on. Focusing on their process and setting process-based goals also helps mitigate the motivation dips that occur when your reps don’t hit targets, or when their results are dipping. At these moments, the salespeople that pull through are the ones who keep focusing on their habits and processes and keep doing the little things well.
As a caveat to the point above, you don’t want to be too rigid as a manager. Some of the least successful sales leaders are the “my way or the highway” types, who don’t accept any deviation from their way of doing things. You should train the right habits and processes, but if your reps have a different way of doing things that work for them and garner results, you should welcome it with open arms! Don’t fall into the trap of being a micromanager or a disciplinarian. Your reps should feel you are on their side, not there to impose your methods on them. They should also feel you are reasonable and can change your mind, as this will encourage them to be more honest and transparent and share their problems with you, a key aspect of sales leadership.
One of the most important aspects of a motivated team is trust. This trust should extend in every direction, to other team members and also to you as a sales leader. If your reps trust you, they will be honest and straightforward rather than hiding things from you, which can be extremely damaging. Companies with low integrity usually also have terrible morale. Building trust can be done in many small ways, from being consistent and following through to showing that you are a reasonable and helpful manager, as well as by just being friendly and creating a personal connection with your reps.
In 2021, the best sales teams are not cutthroat, competitive atmospheres where each salesperson is out for themselves. Increasingly, sales leaders are recognizing the importance of teamwork and collaborative culture. You want your reps to be cheerleaders for each other and share experience and knowledge with each other, rather than bringing each other down and guarding their secrets. Collaborative teams are a win-win for everyone involved. At the same time, you don’t want to completely eliminate the competitive aspects of sales. Your reps should want to stand out and do better; the key is to keep the competition friendly and positive by balancing it with team bonding.
As a sales leader, you simply cannot afford to have an unmotivated or inconsistently motivated team. Skill level, systems, and the latest techniques will only get you so far if you can't keep morale high in your team. So don’t neglect motivation or just assume it will happen by itself! You need to proactively build and foster it, and make sure to upkeep it during the inevitable low points your reps will encounter. The tips above can help you build a culture that encourages consistent motivation and enthusiasm.
If you need help training your junior reps and ramping them up faster, consider trying Attention. We use artificial intelligence technology to deliver real-time feedback and track your team members’ progress over time.
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