If you are the sales director or manager, your job is to influence the performance of each member of your team, whether this be by motivating them or improving their skill set. The latter is measurable, as there are tools to measure their performance metrics. You can check their performance and identify the areas where they need to improve. On the other hand, motivating them is far more difficult, because each person is different and he or she is affected by internal and external factors. An individual responds to adversity and stress differently. As their leader, it is up to you to successfully motivate them and charge their spirit and enthusiasm, while keeping it in sync with the company's sales goals.
Many dedicated sales managers have learned to rely on proven methods to improve their sales teams' performance. Quota programs are among some of the methods, with financial rewards and other lucrative bonuses. Other companies offer innovative rewards, such as dinners, trips, contests, gift cards and events tickets. Motivating your sales team is not only about using tangible and financial rewards, as sales people also dream of getting recognition and achieving success in the profession of their choice. An astute sales manager fully understands each member of the sales team and is able to devise a plan to turn them into top performers by using a combination of different methods.
Build trust within the team
Trust is central to getting your team motivated. This is something that Sean Hopwood, President of Day Translations, a human translation service provider, firmly believes in. You have to trust all your team members and they have to believe in you. If you have built this from the start, it will be easier to inspire and drive them to work and reach their sales targets. Discuss the company's goals and challenges. Transparency is needed in the team. Be direct with each team member and ask each one how you can build trust among yourselves. Show them that you want to work with them, as part of the team and not because you are their superior. Listen to what they have to say, gather their suggestions and opinions, and discuss their problems. Work together as a team to iron out problems and find solutions, and get everyone's agreement.
Know how they want to be managed
This is an approach that some managers are wont to do, because they feel they have to show that they are of a level higher in the organizational chart. However, this method is another way to build trust within the team. Let them know that you recognize that their personalities are different, that you want to work with their personality and work style, and that you are willing to change your behavior to fit the needs of the team.
Effective sales people understand that their prospects behave differently and require different sales approaches, thus telling them that you want to manage them in the way they want to be managed is something they are familiar with. It is much easier for sales people to accept changes in directions and strategies if you vary the style according to their individuality, particularly your direct reports. Some of the things you need to know:
- Frequency of individual interaction (several times a week, weekly, or once every two weeks).
- How do they want to get feedback from you and what type of feedback do they prefer?
- Do they want the feedback to be done in private or with the rest of the team?
- If there is a problem, how does the team member want it known (by email, one-on-one discussion or through another method)?
- If they think you are putting too much pressure on them, would they tell you?
Learn your team's professional and personal goals
It is easier to devise motivational plans if you know your direct reports' goals. Like you, they also want to accomplish something, as a professional sales person and as an individual. If you know their goals, you'll be able to find the things that will definitely motivate them. You can learn about them through observation, but it is better to meet each one and ask them directly. But do not force them to tell you right away. Give them time to think because in most instances, they are not keenly aware of their goals themselves. You'll get more insightful answers when they are allowed to think.
Provide daily, weekly and monthly targets
It is realistic for companies to have short-term and long-term goals, which should be made known to all departments, particularly the marketing and sales department. It will be easier to motivate your sales team if you divide these goals into smaller chunks. Give them daily, weekly and monthly targets, with corresponding rewards. Motivation takes on different forms, through quotas, quality improvements, financial rewards or acknowledgement of their contribution to the company.
Involve your direct reports in planning the sales performance incentives. Giving your team a daily target is to quickly get them to move if they are in a funk. A weekly target will have your team show more tangible and measurable results. Of course, the reward for this should be more substantial. Think of other gifts for reaching monthly targets other than cash. It could be something that does not seem to have too much value but can be a proud reminder of their accomplishment, like a trophy that can be displayed on their desk, something that they will covet, because there's just a few of them.
Effectively motivating your sales team is about finding what will drive them to work more and achieve more. As the team leader, you have to find what drives each team member to succeed; what drives them to work; what inherent talents they have that you can cultivate. Motivating is more about pushing each individual's button and trusting them to be responsible for their commitment to the company.