If you work in sales long enough, you’ll eventually have a bad day where you just want to throw in the towel. Over the last few years, I’ve seen many good days and a few bad. One thing I’ve noticed is that depending on the organization; the number of bad days is often directly related to your manager.
After talking with several sales managers over the years, I noticed a trend in those who stand out as true sales leaders. The most extraordinary sales managers constantly strive to keep their sales teams motivated.
Why? Because they recognize that a motivated sales team will be more likely to meet quotas and more likely to become a team of extraordinary sales people. For the last few years, I’ve chatted with tons of sales managers who strive to motivate their teams and these are the three things that they expressed were to key to keeping their teams motivated:
Try to Over Communicate
A sure-fire way to make a team second guess their stance in an organization is to keep them in the dark. Effective, open and honest communication is an extremely important part of business and team management. Engaging your team on a regular basis to ensure that they feel connected to the organization and each other is very important. In fact, if I could make any suggestion it would be to try and over communicate!
Build a relationship with your team that is based on appreciation and respect. From there, you will be able to be more open with your team as the foundation of your relationship has been laid. Your team should feel comfortable to discuss any issues they have with you and know that you will try to help them get through it. Great sales managers are constantly working to keep the lines of communication open and embrace two-way dialogue instead of a dictator’s monologue.
Be A Walking & Talking Inspiration
One of the most important aspects of developing a successful sales team is the ability to ensure that the team is aligned. Creating an team that has a mindset that is align with the organizations values and beliefs is a sure-fire way to keep the team motivated. It allows each individual to achieve personal fulfillment and be willing to put in the extra hours when necessary to move the organization forward.
As a team manager, it’s important that you foster deep relationships with your team. Sales is no longer just about building relationships with customers but also building relationships with your team. Sales people respond to individual feedback on performance and embrace the idea of monthly one-on-ones to help them evolve.
A common mistake that sales managers make is they focus on their teams strengths while ignoring their weaknesses. The best approach to keeping a sales team motivated is to help them develop their weaknesses and tackle them head on. For example, if a team member is strong at relationship building but struggles at generating leads; help them improve and figure out how they can help their team with relationship development.
Strive to make your sales team better by investing in them and helping them grow. In doing so, you need to strive to keep them motivated with praise and leading the pack into the trenches. Take blame when necessary and never throw your team under the bus.
Create Friendly Competition
Sales is a business vertical that was built on competition. The best sales people are competitive by nature and are motivated more by winning than anything else. They see money as a scorecard and their quota as a challenge.
Internal competitions and contests can spark sales people to increase morale and spark a bit of friendly competition. These contests can drive not only great results for your bottom line but also drive great results for developing a sense of team morale. Contests can also help in the development of new skills for your team such as collaboration and creativity. Overall, it’s a great tactic to generating a bit of conversation around the office and ultimately driving your sales team to be motivated and improve their morale.
Empower Them with Process & Technology
Get out of the way.
That’s what organizations need to tell their sales managers if they want a team to be motivated and succeed. There is very little that can cause as much frustration in an organization than a sales personal having to wait to ask their supervisor for permission to close a deal or “bend the rules” to a certain degree.
As a sales manager you need to empower your sales team and trust them. Whenever possible, let your sales team know that you trust that they will do what’s right for the company and the business. If they need to “bend the rules” and give a discount or free shipping to close a deal, allow them to make the decision.
Another way to empower your team is to ensure that they have the tools they need to excel. Does your team use old computers and have outdated sales tools? Does your sales tracking, CRM, and order fulfillment tools empower your salespeople or make it harder to do their job? Ask these questions and see what tools they feel they need to do better.
What other ways can you keep a sales team motivated?