2011-06-15

Tips to inspire the sales team

Drew Stevens

This article was reprinted from the Stevens Consulting Group blog with the permission of Drew Stevens. For more on Drew Stevens and Stevens Consulting Group, check out Drew's bio below, or click here to visit the blog.

 

Many of my clients all seem to be facing similar issues – lack of client relationships and lack of revenue. As the recession continues the lethargy of sales teams is hurting productivity and performance. Sales managers need aid with inspiring their staff so that they can reach those audacious goals.

 

Motivation helps both the team and the customer. For the customer a motivated sales agent leads to a better buying experience and more involvement with the sale. As customers delight in the fascination and motivation of the sales agent they become more aligned with the company culture and philosophy. When they do this leads to a better buying experience and more importantly more influence for future purchases. With customer to customers influences so strong to the buying process- happier customers refer others downplaying the cost of customer acquisition while also helping customer retention. These save the company money by not having to work so hard for new customers and interestingly new employees. That leads us to issue two - a motivated work team. Here are methods to help inspire your sales team.

  1. Constant Communication – Research on worker productivity for over 20 years states the importance of employer/employee relationships. . Individuals do not leave companies – they leave poor managers. Relationships begin with simple and direct communication. Morale will fail when managers fail to communicate with their employees. Take the time to know who is on your team.
  2. Crucial Confrontation – The inability to confront individuals about performance has undermined organizational performance. Morale diminishes when underperforming employees continually diminish performance. It is important when managers confront employees that do not meet expectations.
  3. Focus on Feedback – Confrontation begins with feedback. It must be timely, candid and accurate. This includes both good and bad feedback. Catch employees doing something good and tell them, need something corrected, tell them.
  4. Create Collaboration – Employees respond better when they are part of the organizational process. They desire to be a part of the process and have a voice. Luis Arzua (the last Chilean miner) took control from underground, and asked each trapped miner to contribute to the health and wellness of the team. Every man had a part in the rescue. Each added to the relationships, best practices and most importantly survival! It is simply a matter of placing the best individuals in the proper positions; everything else simply falls into place.
  5. Remember to Reward and Recognize – Employees invest over 50 to 60 hours of their waking life for organizations. Money is not the alternative for reward. Individuals desire commendations for good work. They are more apt to remember compliments and commendations then a one percent rise the previous year.

 

In addition to the above here are some additional items to consider:

  • Motivation is driven by individuals and the individual team. Sometimes these are the silent choices or even the more explicit. Motivation is based on not only good hiring practices but also good communication to ensure all sales agents want to be a part of the team. In my opening example the Chilean boss who lead the team constantly communicated to his team to ensure there was less discontent and provide information so all were on the same team.
  • Motivation must be daily and consistent – This means that managers must not become complacent and only speak to agents once in a while. Weekly team meetings and feedback must be incorporated to the team plan. This includes virtual work teams. Which is even more important here. Sales does not work in a vacuum neither can sales managers.
  • Motivation comes from having a purpose – this is where on boarding and training are appropriate. All must understand the standards, goals, mission and values and work harmoniously towards them.
  • Motivation comes from coaching – every good sales organization provides mentorship and coaching. Lifelong learning is vital to every sales job.
  • Motivation must be challenged with goals – this includes standard operational goals, big goals and when necessary stretch goals.
  • Motivation stems from team analysis – which includes using team meetings as opportunities for SWOTT analyses and competitive strategies that ensure proper customer focus and achievement toward the overall management plan.

 

Sales organizations are in a battle for survival not only from recessionary issues but attrition and production. Sales Leaders must create a communicative and collaborative environment. When individuals feel better about their workplace they are more productive. And when there is production in a selling environment there is a higher level of confidence, awareness, pride, inspiration and willingness to achieve more.

 

What are those best practices for inspiring your sales team? List them in the comment area below.


 

Drew Stevens is one of the world’s leading authorities on business development and sales. Drew is the author of the successful sales process book Split Second Selling. He is also the creator of the Sales Leadership Certificate one of only 14 programs in the United States offering an accredited degree in the profession of selling and has a top ranked podcast called Sales Fitness. To discover how Dr. Drew can assist your organization to increase their business development skills visit him at www.stevensconsultinggroup.com

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