Judging by the sales managers and the companies I help, it’s clear to me that the one recurring question that comes up is... How do I motivate my sales team?
Yes, we all acknowledge that to maximise the potential of every member of the sales team, their individual and collective motivation levels need to be high. But how do you achieve this? And, just when you think you have a highly motivated bunch, how will you ever know if there’s yet more in their lockers, a greater level of performance to be achieved if only you had the key?
Tricky one. So I’ve developed my sales team motivation check list, which has served me very well over the years.
Hand on heart...when it comes to your sales team members how many of these questions can you say a resounding 'YES' to?
- Does each member of your team know exactly where they fit in to the bigger company objectives?
- Do you know the higher purpose of each of your team?
- Are your team’s targets realistic bearing in mind your industry’s current market conditions?
- Do your team members only very occasionally contact you for guidance?
- How well do you know the meta-programmes of each of your team?
Go on...how many? Clearly the more you could answer yes to, the more motivated your team is likely to be and the better their results will be.
This morning I quickly jotted down just a few of the many principles that I think are important when it comes to motivating a sales team. Of course there’s many more but I’m pushed for space and you’re pushed for time. So let’s throw a bit more light on these five.
1. Where do they fit in?
Be sure you’ve explained where everyone fits in to the bigger company picture. Where is it all leading? Company growth? How much? And what’s their role in achieving that growth – individually and as a team? Make it simple. No need for fancy charts! If they don’t know where they fit in, this will definitely be costing you sales.
2. What’s their higher purpose?
Each of your team needs to have identified a higher purpose for themselves. In simple terms why they are doing what they are doing? And you need to know that purpose. Are they working towards a new or bigger car? A bigger house? An engagement ring? To retire early? Find out - and remind them regularly. Help them to constantly make that link between their day job, their target and that higher purpose.
3. Targets should be er...on target
Set your targets too low and it will be feet-up time for everyone. Set them too high and you ‘lose the team’ i.e. everyone knows they’re unachievable, so unconsciously they don’t try. I’m for flexible but stretching targets which take into account the prevailing market conditions, which may well conflict with those the Managing Director came up with 8 months ago but which now look pure fantasy. Let him/her explain their budget away elsewhere - in the meantime set stretching, realistic targets which will get the best out of your team right now.
4. Do they have to ask you about everything?
If you hired them to do a good job, trust them! Surely they don’t have to ask you about everything? Let them scuff their knees and they will grow into the role. Sure you might have some challenges along the way but you’ll end up with a motivated and developed member of the team – and you get some of your time back too! Read this previous article for more about giving your team more autonomy.
5. How are they wired?
Heard of Meta-Programmes? These are the ‘internal wiring’ mechanisms that make up the individuality in each of your sales team. Know these programmes and you’ll never look back in terms of motivating your team. Remember each of your team are different – so your approach needs to be too. Click here for an example of just one meta programme (there are up to 16 in total!) You'll see how useful meta-programmes are for communicating with your team - and your customers.
What about money?
Phew - I’ve ran out of space and I haven’t even mentioned money. That’s deliberate though. Most meaningful research suggests money is only ever an effective motivator in the short term. And that’s borne out when I talk to sales directors and sales teams.
For now, work on getting these five right and you’ll have a more motivated team – and more sales.
By Leigh Ashton, author of iSell, a speaker, trainer and coach, founder The Sales Consultancy She helps people incorporate psychology alongside technical selling skills – leading to positive changes in attitude, approach and sales results. Leigh has trained thousands of sales professionals and her findings remain consistent. Even when outwardly confident, people often lack the inner confidence and practical strategies to achieve great sales results on a consistent basis. She works with sales teams, business owners, directors and managers to identify and eliminate psychological barriers within sales teams and the reasons or excuses used to rationalise their lack of consistently great sales.