Sales team motivation is really the art and science of inspirational leadership in action. If you want to be a great leader, you must motivate others to do more, achieve more and be more. Best of all, people crave this kind of leadership, motivation and inspiration. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”
With that in mind, then, here are 6 essential rules for sales motivation:
Sales Team Motivation Rule #1: Set a Great Example
We learn best by example; and we find inspiration in people who are role models with high standards and high achievement. So, whether you are a sales manager, director of sales, sales VP or other sales team leader, work hard to model the behavior and outcomes you seek. If you want your sales team to collaborate, perform and achieve at high levels, model what that looks like. If you want your sales reps to operate with integrity and treat others with respect, be the role model for those traits. If you want your sales team members to learn and innovate, do those things first.
Sales Team Motivation Rule #2: Commit to Communication
This one should be obvious, but it bears repeating because great communication IS essential to inspiring and motivating your sales team to excellence. If you want your sales reps to do more, achieve more and be more, explicitly let them know what that means. Let them know what you expect from them (more on that in a moment), but also keep them informed about anything – and I mean anything – that might affect how they understand their role or achieve their goals. Have an open door. Be an open book. Communicate with transparency, clarity and honesty.
And don’t forget that communication isn’t just sharing your views; it’s also about listening. Ask, listen and learn from those you lead. As historian, teacher and philosopher Thomas Carlyle said, “Every man is my superior in that I may learn from him.” You can’t learn if you don’t listen. So, listen!
Sales Team Motivation Rule #3: Show Respect to Those You Lead
Listening is a sign of respect. So is honesty. So is a commitment to communication. But respect is also demonstrated when you understand and value, as well as find ways to utilize the unique talents and skills of your sales team members. When you recognize their gifts, you can personalize your leadership and motivational efforts to what suits them best. You can coach one-on-one from a position of recognizing their one-of-a-kind importance to your sales team.
Another way to show respect is to praise publicly and constructively criticize privately. Be a cheerleader, not a bully. But don’t just celebrate big achievements; also seek to catch your sales team doing small things well and going the extra mile even if no one would normally notice. Go beyond finding errors and pointing out their impact on goal achievement; find small examples of excellence and applaud those as well.
Sales Team Motivation Rule #4: Set Clear Goals and Expectations
Everyone deserves to know what is expected of them – it is unkind not to share that information. Furthermore, your sales reps can’t attain quotas and reach goals they don’t understand. So, make sure your expectations are well-defined, clearly communicated and in writing. It’s also vital that you believe in their ability to reach these goals. Your belief in them will fuel their own confidence. And as Henry Ford is credited with saying, “Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.”
On the other hand, if you just can’t muster confidence and belief in your sales team’s ability to reach their goals, you’ve either got the wrong goals or the wrong team or you are failing to support their skills development. Which leads me to the next rule…
Sales Team Motivation Rule #5: Equip Your Team to Succeed
A sales rep who is ill-equipped to succeed can hardly feel motivated to achieve the impossible. So, provide the training and development they need to grow their current skill set. How? First, get out in the field to observe their behavior and skillset. It is difficult to know what help your team needs if you don’t see them in the arena where they perform. Provide the tools and resources they need to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. Ensure clarity by holding regular team meetings. Review and discuss performance dashboards. Document and monitor sales goals. Above all, whenever they ask for help, give it. Belief and support are super motivators!
Sales Team Motivation Rule #6: Incent, Recognize and Reward
There’s a reason I’ve saved financial incentives and other perks for last. These incentives, alone, will not provide the motivation for sales team members to succeed. If you don’t have the other leadership aspects of motivation in place to support sales team goal achievement, then bonuses and commissions won’t optimize performance.
Nonetheless, incentive plans are vitally important to generating the behavior you seek. A well-crafted compensation plan should be exploited in the manner you desire – pay more for new business and you will likely get new business, pay more to retain current clients and you will have a sales team focused more on client retention. Figure out what results you want first, and in what proportion, then design a compensation plan to incent those behaviors. So, incent, recognize and reward with financial or other relevant perks. They, too, can be critical tools in your motivational toolbox.
The Bottom Line:
Sales team motivation requires skilled leadership. It also requires essential strategies and day-to-day tactics to fuel sales excellence. Set a great example, communicate and show respect; then establish clear goals, equip your team for success and deliver rewards. Leaders motivate – and motivation inspires sales teams to “win big!”
For a quick visual reference on how to motivate top sales team performance, download these Sales Motivation Rules here, You can also connect with a Sales Xceleration outsourced VP of Sales near you by clicking here, or simply calling us at (844) 874-7253.