The Sales Motivation Equation – Why Salespeople Find It Hard To Get the Right Mind Set

The Sales Motivation Equation – Why Salespeople Find It Hard To Get the Right Mind Set

The sales motivation equation is real. There is a way to keep your sales team constantly motivated and engaged.

One of the biggest challenges for sales managers is not so much on hitting the number, but rather about keeping their sales teams motivated. Even some of the best salespeople lose their initial enthusiasm after some time. An underperforming sales team means an underperforming company and a lot of added time and resources to get it back on track..

The issue with being in sales is that you get a lot of people who say ‘no’ to you. A sales person has to deal with a lot of rejection, yet still keep up excitement for the next potential customer.  You need to be able to drive for the high of making a sale while not letting the loss of a sale impact you too much. At times, one of the drivers of an underperforming sales person is that they can’t get back up again after they’ve gone down. If you look through your sales team, there will be a portion whom likely seem depressed part of the time. Sales superstars, however, push through the bumps and are always ready on their feet. A lot of things come along your way, but the difference between a sales superstar and the rest lies in how you deal with the challenges.

The Sales Motivation Equation – What stops people from giving it a 100%?

Most sales people themselves know what stops them personally from delivering a 100 percent. What blocks a person’s performance is not generic to everyone and differs person-to-person. For some it may be interruptions, other people nosing around in their business. Bosses, peers, and clients also add into the stress. Constant action, inactivity or the feeling that you’re not adding value can bring some people down. Hearing bad news about the economy on the radio or simply from an acquaintance at the dry-cleaners can put many people off. Although there are different triggers for different people, some similarities do emerge in the general population.

We see this quite a bit when a CEO wants to bring in new and fresh sales leadership to coach some of their lower performing sales people, and no matter how many techniques they teach them or how much they work with them, it just doesn’t make a difference.

The fact is that everybody faces rejection. But how you get back up again is what makes a difference and defines a great salesperson. They have the ability to recover quickly and focus on the positive.

The Sales Motivation Equation – How to motive sales people

A sales manager needs to keep his team stimulated. One of the most effective (and cheapest) ways to do that is by recognizing their achievements. A high-five, ‘employee of the month’ title, or a day-off are some simple ways to let your employees know that you appreciate their efforts. They will be motivated to keep the good work up, and others inspired by their example will follow suit.  When you look at most studies of what employees value most, ‘reward and recognition’ is almost always in the top five. This is even more so with sales people.

Leading by example is also shown to be a cost-effective method. Even if you don’t have a sales background, you can exhibit the behaviours and habits you want your team to pick up. Show them by example how you achieve your goals, inspiring them to do the same.

Goals must be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Linking each team member’s goals to their personal motivators can be an excellent way to increase performance. Experiment with the kind of targets you give your sales team. For example, instead of the traditional close 5 new accounts every month, try tasking them with the goal of making 10 new appointments per week. Mix it up and figure out what works best for your team.  By focusing on a single objective that can have the most impact, they are more likely to achieve it, feel accomplished and hopeful start to see results.

Compensation has long been used to push salespeople into bringing new clients and generating revenue. But the way you compensate matters. Research shows ratcheting quotas can be devastating for the company. A pay system with multiple components can help keep low and high-performers engaged year round.

“I would urge managers to remove the caps on commissions or, if they have to retain some ceiling for political reasons, to set it as high as possible. The research is clear on this point: Companies sell more when they eliminate thresholds at which salespeople’s marginal incentives are reduced. There might be problems if some reps’ earnings dramatically exceed their bosses’ or even rival a C-suite executive’s compensation, but the evidence shows that firms benefit when these arbitrary caps are removed,” writes Doug J. Chung in Harvard Business Review. “I would urge my client companies to consider experimenting with their pay systems.”  Anyone responsible for the sales team should have no problem with a sales person making more than them for total compensation.  Keep ego out of it.  They more they make, the more you make.

I have never met a CEO or business owner who said they were 100% happy with their sales team. It is often an enigma with the changing dynamics of the marketplace as well as their motivation levels.  Look beyond the skill sets and get the mind set right first.  If needed, a part time sales executive with a fresh eye and outside perspective can be a great resource for reinvigorating the team and getting them on track.

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