Keeping sales teams motivated can be hard. Without them doing their best, business suffers. There are countless different tips out there on how to motivate sales reps from over the years, how can you tell which ones work? Every business is different so no tip will work for everyone, but the latest thinking is that adapting what you do to suit the individual will go a long way in keeping employees keen and your sales figures up.
Get to know your team
Start by identifying exactly what type of sales people you have in your team so you can work with their strengths. Research published in the Harvard Business Review found that top sales performers fall into the categories of ‘experts, closers and consultants’. However, of the 800 sales people the researchers observed in live sales meetings, 63% fell into the under-performing categories ‘storytellers, narrators, focusers, aggressors and socialisers’.
They judged the sales peoples’ performance by how well they did in these sales success categories:
- Meeting prep
- Customer interaction
- Company presentation
- Presentation and rapport
- The sales pitch
- Rising to the challenge.
As you might expect, the experts were good at it all. The researchers found that consultants listen well and are good problem solvers. That said, closers can pull off big product sales, but their smooth-talking style doesn’t work as well for selling services.
In the under-performing categories, performance was pretty poor in most of the areas. Looking at the statistics, it’s highly likely you employ quite a few of these under-performing types.
Training, training, training
All is not lost though, as with regular training to address the development needs of the team members who fall into under-performing categories you can transform their performance.
Reports from Training Magazine show that engaged employees perform much better. One of the key ways to ensure engagement is to provide ongoing development. So get your storytellers, narrators, focusers, aggressors and socialisers on some courses that develop the sales success skills above.
Negotiate different commissions to suit individual’s needs. Although cash in the pocket is enough to spur some sales people, it doesn’t keep everyone’s motivation levels up. Talk to each member of your team to find out what works for them. It could be that a luxury item they would be reluctant to buy themselves would be a better way to get them hitting targets, or maybe an extra day’s leave or flexible working patterns. A company that does this really well is Virgin. A former Virgin employee posted a blog about the trip he won to Barcelona instead of a cash bonus. He said he: “Had a memorable time and dozens of memories that a simple cash bonus alone wouldn’t give me”. You don’t have to be a huge corporation or give out expensive prizes, though, to make your sales team feel rewarded.