it’s every sales manager’s dream to have a sales team that is 100% motivated 100% of the time. Unfortunately, that dream is not a practical reality.
The reality is that less than a third of employees are highly engaged at work, and more than a quarter are highly disengaged, according to a Gallup study. However, there is good news!
Here it is: There are ways to increase your sales team’s productivity and motivation, and I’m going to tell you what they are.
Before we get into the top methods for increasing team motivation, a word of caution: the only thing worse than a non-existent strategy for motivating your sales reps is a repetitive, boring strategy. A fun incentive doesn’t stay fun for long if that incentive never changes. So mix it up!
Keeping that in mind, let’s look at what motivation strategies are the most effective and easy to implement:
1. Increase Visibility
Your sales team shouldn’t be in the dark about how well (or poorly) sales are going. Best-in-Class companies are 63% more likely to report on non-quota sales performance, focusing not only on sales-to-quota achievements, but also on qualitative goals that identify how well team members are selling (time efficiency, response rates, etc.). Open up your sales tracking metrics to the entire team, letting them see who is doing well and what the quantifiable goals are. It will provide affirmation and praise for those who make it and a goal worth pursuing for those who don’t.
Offering more money, time off or a great gift is another great way to give employees a goal to work toward. A recent Aberdeen study shows that non-cash incentives are usually more effective than financial compensation, with top performers 31% more likely to prefer non-cash options. Your best bet of getting the right incentive for your employees is by giving choices and let them vote on what incentive they’d most prefer. It will give your employees a greater sense of involvement, kickstarting a refreshed sense of excitement.
It can be hard to get approval for a financial expenditure without an immediate payoff. However, when you run the numbers, you’ll quickly find that the positive outcomes of incentive programs result in more than enough revenue to cover the cost of the compensation.
There’s nothing quite like a little healthy competition to put the drive back into sales. Gamification is becoming increasingly popular among businesses for two reasons: it’s fun and it works. Team-centered gamification (where the pressure to win is dispersed among several individuals) is particularly effective due to employees encouraging each other to participate.
While employees may individually resign themselves to the fact that they can’t (or won’t) win and self-select out of the process, they’ll participate if they’re part of a team to avoid disappointing their team members. The result is total team involvement, leading to increased sales and productivity for the company. After all, who wouldn’t want to be rewarded for playing games at work?
First things first: We’re not talking about the “You haven’t met your sales quota and I’m disappointed in you” kind of communication. While that sort of communication is necessary to establish expectations, it shouldn’t be the only interaction you have with your sales reps. Make an effort to verbally acknowledge your employees’ achievements, even minor ones.
If you want to increase your employees’ engagement, you need to be communicating with them on a frequent basis, both about work progress and about life outside of work. According to Gallup, when managers hold regular meetings with employees, those employees are almost three times more likely to be engaged than employees who don’t participate in meetings. Moreover, face-to-face communication is the most highly effective in increasing engagement.
5. Sharing the Big Picture
Buy-in is a powerful thing. It gets people excited and makes them feel like what they do actually affects the success of the company. The key here is to show each employee where they fit within the big picture, and more importantly, the path available to them to make a bigger difference in the future. If employees don’t have a clear line of sight toward advancement within the company, they aren’t going to have any incentive to work harder.
Make it a habit to discuss company goals and what strides have been made to reach those goals on a regular basis. This will reaffirm your employees’ belief that they are making a difference and rekindle the flame driving their engagement. It has the added benefit of giving your company advancement a structured approach, by quantifying and tying employee tasks to overall business objectives.
In short, give your sales team better visibility, more interaction with management, incentives and opportunities for buy-in, and you’ll be astonished at how it will transform the productivity levels of your company.
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