While it’s true that many people are attracted to sales by the prospect of financial rewards, there are many equally important factors to keep your sales team motivated.
In our view, B2B sales are both an art and a science. Success not only depends on persistence and persuasiveness but on a raft of other qualities as well. It is important to recognise these human qualities and give them the kudos they deserve.
The best B2B sales leaders we have come across have a high level of intrinsic motivation, resilience and integrity, as well as great communication skills, to name just a few qualities.
If you are working with high-quality salespeople, then recognising their value and treating them accordingly is vital to keep motivation levels high.
Our winning formula to keep our sales team motivated includes the following factors.
At Pace, we have found that the best way to keep our team motivated is to a) treat them as individuals and b) build a strong team culture.
That might sound contradictory, but in reality, all the best teams are made up of a variety of personality types who not only share a mutual desire to succeed but understand the value of pulling together.
If you recognise your team as individuals, you will understand that they are motivated by different factors. The financial reward may be a higher motivator for someone, whereas job satisfaction or a high-energy work environment is a key factor for others.
Try asking each member of your sales team what motivates them. By building a career development framework around these qualities, you are going a long way towards creating a winning sales culture for any sales organization.
There is a reason we have combined these two qualities. In our view, you can’t have a strong team culture without trust. And it starts at the top.
If your team trusts you and knows you have their best interests at heart, then they are more likely to go the extra mile for you.
So how can you build trust? Some of the fundamentals include being reliable, open and honest. On top of that, fairness will encourage a collaborative rather than a competitive culture and give your sales team faith in your leadership.
Don’t be persuaded to sacrifice fairness for short-term popularity – it will backfire in the end.
Strong team culture is based on a desire not only to succeed personally but to see the company succeed. It is the indefinable buzz that separates a great team from a good one and it will see your team through the inevitable rough patches in the sales cycle.
In today’s hybrid world, many of your sales team will be working from home, with far fewer opportunities to interact with colleagues than in the past.
While some people will thrive on the freedom remote working provides, others will miss the ‘buzz and banter’ of an office environment. Make sure you provide these people with plenty of social opportunities to keep them energised throughout the working week.
It could be a 15-minute ‘Huddle’ at the start of the day, a wrap-up team call at the end of the day, regular meet-ups and social opportunities. Investment in off-site days can pay dividends by helping create strong healthy bonds between your sales team.
The ideal solution is to ask the sales department what would help their motivation – and empower them to make it happen, whether that's a sales contest, incentives or simply support to get the job done.
The best salespeople are driven and focused on long-term as well as short-term success. They will take an active interest in their chosen career and will be keen to develop their skill set.
It is essential to map out career goals, both quarterly and longer term and to map progress towards these. One of the most de-motivating things you can do is postpone performance reviews indefinitely. Yes, we all have to re-arrange meetings occasionally, but let your team know you take performance reviews as seriously as they do.
And don’t forget training sessions can be a great way to build trust and rapport within your sales team. As we march boldly forward into the new world of hybrid sales, there is no better way to motivate your team, than to arm them with the tools they need to be successful.
Again, be creative. And think about the career stage of your sales team. Maybe you can create sales training workshops that encourage contributions from more experienced members of the team. Or conversely, maybe your recent graduates have a thing or two to teach your team about social media!
As we all know, B2B sales are changing at an accelerating rate, as hybrid work, digital channels and technology platforms transform the relationships between buyer and seller.
Make sure your sales team is ahead of the curve by helping them develop their understanding of the latest sales tools and techniques.
Do not take success for granted. When your sales team is flying high and smashing those sales and revenue targets, make sure you give them due acknowledgement.
Initiatives such as Deal of the Month or Employee of the Month are a great opportunity to motivate your sales team if handled skilfully.
The key is to clearly identify the qualities that have led to success and communicate those to the broader team. That way you will inspire and motivate other members of the team to emulate success.
And by introducing team rewards, as well as individuals, you can go a long way to motivating the team.
Regular feedback is invaluable for salespeople, no matter what stage they are at in their career. Make sure the team knows your door is open. If a sales representative asks for a chat, then try and find the time to talk to them.
Staying open to the daily realities of your team can often be the difference to an exceptional as opposed to a competent sales leader. If your salespeople know that you genuinely care about them and want them to succeed, you are well on the way to motivating them.
And keep an eye on them. Does your top performer seem jaded? Is someone taking a little too much time off, or just not as energetic and enthusiastic as usual? By checking in with them, you are demonstrating that you care about them as individuals and will be rewarded with their loyalty.
Today’s sales people are being asked to embrace new ways of working, new technology tools and to spend much less time meeting people face-to-face. Don’t assume they’ve got it all handled. They may be putting a brave face on things.
As well as celebrating success, it is equally important to recognise those periods when your team is experiencing challenges.
There are often factors beyond your sales team's control that slow down the sales cycle and it is important to recognise this, rather than turn up the pressure on the team.
Don’t get us wrong, pressure can be very motivating, but only if the target is realistic and your team believes that success is achievable.
This is perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of sales leadership – creating sales team motivation when success seems elusive.
At these times, it is important to evaluate external factors that could be affecting performance. Is the product still a great market fit? Is your sales pipeline effective? Are your prospects facing new challenges? Are you dealing with a seasonal trend?
By exploring these questions and being open with your team, you can keep sales motivation high when you need it most.
It can be difficult for a sales manager to motivate an unmotivated sales team, but it is not impossible. The first step is to try and understand the reasons why they are unmotivated.
Are they feeling stressed or overworked? Do they feel like they are not being recognised or rewarded for their efforts? Once you have identified the root cause of the problem, you can start to put in place some solutions.
For example, if your team is feeling overworked, you could look at ways to lighten their workload or give them more autonomy. If they are not feeling recognised or rewarded, you could look at introducing new initiatives such as Deal of the Month or Employee of the Month.
By taking the time to understand the problem and finding a tailored solution, you can start to re-motivate your team.
Sales reps can stay motivated by setting themselves realistic goals and targets, and by regularly reviewing their progress with their sales managers.
They should also make sure they are being recognised and rewarded for their efforts, whether that is through financial incentives or recognition from their superiors. Lastly, salespeople should try to maintain a positive attitude and focus on the successful deals rather than the ones that got away.
There are a few things you can do to energise your sales team. Firstly, make sure they are set up for success by giving them the resources and support they need.
Secondly, recognise and reward their successes, both big and small. And finally, keep lines of communication open so that they feel like they can come to you with any problems or concerns.
By doing these things, you can create a positive and motivating environment for your team.
At Pace Digital Sales, we understand the challenges faced by sales teams. We also know that not everyone is cut out for a career in sales. That’s why we offer a range of sales outsourcing services, from lead generation to inbound lead management and outbound sales.