Sales Motivation: 12 Actionable Tips to Inspire Your Sales Team
As a sales manager, you know that sales motivation is one of the most important factors of sales success. On the other hand, working in sales means dealing with a lot of rejection on a daily basis, so your team’s motivation levels can drop easily. And in addition to workplace factors that affect motivation, there are also external elements that you can’t influence. On top of it all, you also need to consider the fact that not all of your team members will require the same motivational tactics.
The truth is, keeping your team motivated is hard work. And while bonuses can help, there is more you can do to make sure you have a satisfied sales team. That’s why we have gathered these 12 actionable tips that will help get your sales motivation sky-high.
1. Build relationships
When your team isn’t motivated, the best way to get them back on track is to have an open conversation about the challenges they are facing. However, if you don’t build trust with your team members, they won’t feel comfortable telling you.
So, instead of focusing on being their boss, focus on creating meaningful business relationships. Doing this not only helps you get to know your team better, but it also allows you to see:
- How they work best
- What their strengths are
- Where they could improve
2. Adapt your management style
Always keep in mind that your team members are different people with different personalities. As such, not all of them will have the same response to your management style. For example, if you are a hands-on manager, your more independent employees might feel like you don’t trust in their skills. On the other hand, if you like to give your employees a lot of freedom, those who need more guidance might start feeling lost.
So, in order to get the best results out of your team, learn what their working styles are like and adapt to them. At the end of the day, you wouldn’t use the same sales tactics on each prospect, so you shouldn’t use the same management style with every employee either. To find out just how much management your individual team members need, ask them:
- How often they want to meet
- What kind of feedback they prefer
- Which communication channels work best for them
- Whether they’re comfortable with public praise
3. Set clear expectations
One of the best ways to create sales motivation is by setting challenging (but realistic) goals. That way, your team knows what they are working towards and they have a sense of achievement once they get there.
In order for them to understand the goals you set, you need to make sure that your team knows what you want them to do and which results you expect. So, avoid setting vague goals, such as “we need to make more sales”. Instead, use the following techniques to ensure clear communication and understanding.
Personalize the message
When communicating expectations, the biggest mistake you can make is generalizing the message. For example, telling your entire team that you need to make more sales is more or less pointless because it leaves room for interpretation. Instead, set separate expectations for each sales rep and communicate with each of them individually. That way, everyone knows what they should be doing and nobody can interpret it as not applying to them.
State the desired results
While clear expectations are a good start, telling your team what the end goal is gives them a sense of purpose. And if you want to take it a step further, you can also give your team tips on how to get there.
Define a deadline
Research has shown that no deadline is the worst deadline. The reasoning behind it is simple: if there is no deadline, people are more likely to put things off. And as time goes by, most will simply forget. So, if you want your team to stay on track, set realistic deadlines and include them in your assessment metrics. Besides keeping your team on the same page, it also helps them see how you measure their performance.
4. Don’t focus only on results
While final outcomes are important, managers focusing only on the results risk low sales motivation of their teams. Since the end result of your team’s sales efforts isn’t entirely in their control, rewarding only positive outcomes can be demotivating.
Instead, show your team that their effort is valued by tracking sales metrics that focus on the quality of sales activities. For example, the number of calls an agent made in a month doesn’t tell you anything about the quality of those calls. Likewise, the number of closed deals largely depends on each individual prospect and the luck of the draw.
So, to motivate quality interactions across your sales team, shift your focus towards metrics that indicate long-term success. Letting your team focus on moving prospects down the pipeline starts with tracking metrics such as:
- Lead response time
- Lifetime value
- Stage-by-stage conversion rate
5. Create a sense of ownership
Studies have shown that employees with workplace autonomy are generally more motivated and loyal. So, if you have a natural leader on your team, consider delegating some of your responsibilities to them. For example, you can have your sales rep manage a part of an upcoming project and let them do the work the way they see fit.
Besides giving them a sense of ownership, this also ensures that your team wants to do their best because they are held accountable. What’s more, important responsibilities are empowering for employees because it shows you trust in their skills.
6. Encourage collaboration
Who says selling is a one-person job? If your sales team gets together only at quarterly meetings, you are probably missing out on a lot of deals. More heads are better than one – this isn’t just a saying. Implementing it into your regular operations can do wonders for your sales and your team.
For example, you can encourage knowledge sharing among your sales reps by setting up regular brainstorming meetings. That way, your team can find a way to approach that difficult client or close a tricky deal. What’s more, collaboration positively influences sales motivation by promoting team spirit. Think of it as a supportive space where individuals work towards the team’s success.
7. Organize a friendly competition
Speaking of working in teams, why not have a friendly competition to bring some excitement to the workplace? At the end of the day, sales is about winning, so this should be right up your team’s alley. However, make sure that everyone has an equal chance of winning. The best way to do this is to create smaller teams instead of making it a one-on-one contest. Let your employees choose a team name, set up a scoreboard, and let the games begin!
8. Embrace feedback
Every good manager knows that feedback is a two-way street. Yet, many employees don’t feel comfortable expressing their opinions in front of their managers. More often than not, this results in a lack of motivation and eventually moving on to another company.
In order to avoid this common scenario in your team, it’s your job as a manager to create an open feedback culture. To do that, ask your team to give you some insight into how you’ve been doing as a manager during regular performance meetings. Those can be, for example:
- Do you feel comfortable raising concerns with me?
- Do you think our team is well organized?
- Do you think I communicate efficiently with the team?
By keeping the feedback channel open, you are doing more than making sure it’s actionable. You’re giving your team a place to turn to for support and letting them know their opinions matter.
9. Give credit where credit is due
Recognition is one of the most important factors that influence your team’s sales motivation. And while most managers celebrate contracts that bring in a lot of revenue, celebrating small ones can also be motivating.
For example, you can ring a bell every time someone has a quality customer interaction. That way, even the sales reps who are having a slower day can see others succeed and be motivated to push forward.
10. Revamp the office
The fact that interior design affects our mood has been known for centuries, so it’s time to use this knowledge in the office. In order to perform well, your team needs to feel good. One of the ways to make it happen is by creating an inviting working environment. And if your team is remote, you can always upgrade their home office with quality chairs, new monitors, standing desks, noise-canceling headphones.
11. Use the right tools
Not giving your team the tools to do their jobs is the best way to ruin their sales motivation. So, having the right tools to support your team is key for streamlining your sales processes. Here are some of our favorites.
If you need beautifully designed sales documents that can be signed digitally, look no further than Better Proposals. Our template library offers over 200 web-based document templates that you can customize in our drag-and-drop editor. What’s more, all our proposals are responsive, meaning they’ll look great on whatever device your clients open them on.
We like Intercom so much that we use it ourselves. If you want to keep all your conversations in one place and make sure nothing falls through the cracks, this is the tool for you. In addition to that, it lets you qualify website visitors and allows them to book meetings with sales. The best part? It integrates with your CRM so you won’t be spending any extra time entering data.
With the power of AI, Gong analyzes your customer interactions and gives you tips for improvement. All your sales calls are automatically transcribed so you can get actionable data for improving your sales pitches.
When it comes to CRM options, Salesforce is your best bet if you want to handle all your sales activities in one place. It supports teams of all sizes, and it’s also adapted to virtual selling, meaning you don’t need a separate platform for meetings with clients.
12. Set up an incentive program
Let’s be honest: setting up an incentive program that works for your team takes a lot of time and effort. Since you want the reward you’re offering to be appealing to your sales reps, you’re going to have to personalize it. And to personalize it, you need to know more about your team than their performance stats.
So, before you start an incentive program, spend some time getting to know your team. What do they like to do in their free time? Do they have pets? What motivates them to do their jobs? Once you have your answers, you can start working out the individual prizes to make sure everyone has something to look forward to. Some of those prizes may include:
- Gift certificates
- Educational courses
- Gym memberships
- Subscription boxes
- Travel arrangements
Another important thing to note is keeping your incentive program as simple as possible. Since implementing a complex scoring system could have the opposite effect from what you’re going for, make sure everything is transparent. Avoid making up too many rules and make sure the goals are clear and simple.
Keeping your team’s sales motivation up isn’t easy, especially when you’re going through a rough patch. However, showing confidence in your employees and rewarding milestones increases their job satisfaction. By implementing a reward system that’s tailored to each individual on your team, you are more likely to motivate them.
And if you’re still on the lookout for the perfect tool that will make your team’s proposal writing and tracking easier, try out Better Proposals. Sign up for our 14-day free trial and see how easy creating and managing your sales documents can be with the right platform.
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