Even in the highly successful sales teams with all the sales processes in place, there is always room for improvement and growth. If you’re an ambitious sales manager, you must keep looking for new ways of motivating your team. Especially in the face of the fact that sales team motivation can be the holy grail for a business.
Engaged employees who are genuinely interested in their work are more productive, and there is a clear link between productivity and revenue. Employers who are empowered by their managers, excel at work to make them proud. We are aware that it’s a challenging task, that’s why we’ve gathered 10 ways that should be your starting point to empower your sales team.
1. Be a leader and guide your team towards success
A successful manager needs to play an active role in the team. However, when team members struggle with closing a deal or solving an issue, the typical reaction of managers is doing it by themselves. It’s not the right approach as it leads to frustration on both sides and pulls employers away from professional development and improvement. An effective manager would rather divide an issue into smaller steps and guide a less experienced team member through the task, step-by-step. You may be afraid that it’s time-consuming, but employees should understand the task well enough not to need any or much assistance later. It’ll make them feel empowered and therefore capable of solving even complex issues by themselves.
2. Trust your sales team
Trust is the fundament of leading an all-stars sales team. Especially a new manager should always give his or her team credit, but well-established teams deserve a high level of trust as well. You’ve hired the best people and lead them by example – it should be clear they deserve trust and freedom. They’ll appreciate the information and know-how you give them and use them for the company’s best and to achieve the goals. Sharing information freely also helps them to understand your motivations and ways to achieve the goals. Employees empowered by the trust are more likely to share ideas and possible solutions freely, help others and trust you and a company as well. Besides, salespeople who are in the know are always more effective.
3. Lead by example
Generally, there are two types of newly promoted managers: employees with outstanding sales performance and those with strong leadership and management skills. Both can lead by example. Having a strong sales background is a huge asset, and if this is your case, we recommend you joining your team in the frontlines and closing some sales. Managers with smaller sales experience can also be role-models thanks to their positive can-do attitude, respect, and willingness to learn.
4. Use gamification
Gamification is a type of friendly competition that has emerged from the game industry and gained popularity in many different areas, including the workplace. You can introduce the system with the points – for example, each rep gets 10 for closing a deal, 5 for nurturing a lead, 1 for making a call; and share the leaderboard with everyone. According to the Aberdeen Group Sales Effectiveness survey, after introducing some gamification strategy, 85% of reps attain quota and 51% of new hires achieve their numbers in their first year. You don’t have to reward only sales-related achievements. Helping another team member or sharing useful tips on the meeting may also deserve additional points. Of course, to what extent people engage in such motivation strategies depends heavily on their personality and the types of gamification, but in general, salespeople enjoy it.
5. Make sure that a good job is always rewarded
Everyone wants to be recognized for his or her work. Of course, a competitive salary is essential, but there are other ways of rewarding employees for doing great jobs. Not only financial, like bonuses and regular salary raises, but also symbolic like certificates of excellence or sending an email with recognition to everyone in the company.
When an outstanding job is done, don’t hesitate to involve the executives to offer congrats. Make sure that people who give everything out of themselves feel rewarded – they’ll likely lead other team members by example.
6. Invest in solid work relationships
It’s hard to imagine an empowered sales team that lacks strong relationships between its members. When individuals at work make a real team, they don’t only work for themselves. Instead, they’re aware that the entire team wants to achieve the same goal or goals. Team leaders and managers need to take action to make sure their team is a team, not a group of individuals. Investing in team-building activities may be worth considering, but everything should start with trust, transparency and respect towards every team member. It’s clear that people are more motivated when they work with someone who shows his or her respect and is simply a good person.
7. Never underestimate communication
Communication is always the key. Just like every empowered team needs to build strong relationships, the relationships can’t exist without efficient communication. Meetings are one of the ways to achieve that. Their frequency strongly depends on the needs of the team – some prefer daily startups; others would rather not have any meetings. However, in most cases, the ideal situation is to meet once a week. On Mondays, to kick off the week, or on Fridays, to summarize it and set goals for the next one. Each time team members should share their achievements, bottlenecks and short-term goals. Managers should ensure an atmosphere where people don’t hesitate to ask for help when they got stuck. In some cases, it’s the most efficient and straightforward way to get things done.
8. Don’t forget about giving timely feedback
Feedback is part of efficient communication, but a special one and therefore deserves more attention. Although providing the right feedback at the right time is crucial in team management, 65% of employees would appreciate getting more feedback. No wonder – managers often complain that they don’t have enough time to provide in-depth feedback their employees deserve. Less often they admit that giving honest feedback, especially when it’s negative, is stressful and confusing. The truth is, there is no other way – feedback is powerful and necessary to provide transparent communication. Without it, team members are often lost and unable to do their best.
9. Ensure stability and efficiency
Although in some industries and especially in startup environments, constant change is considered a new standard, team members should still feel they operate in a stable and efficient workplace. Even flexible professionals who find it easy to adapt to the necessary change, prefer when the approach to management doesn’t change too often and when the fundamental goals are consistent. Ultimately, they depend on managers and they know that new decisions and changes will always affect them to some extent. A stable workplace is a space for growth, professional development and achieving long-term goals.
10. Equip your sales team with the right technology and quality training
Nowadays, sales require more digital tools than ever. It also means that salespeople are expected to be tech-savvy and to be able to solve even complex issues requiring tech skills. Managers shouldn’t underestimate tools that are on the market as they have the power to automate lots of tasks – mostly tedious and repetitive. Thanks to them, salespeople can focus on what they do best – closing even the most challenging deals. On the other hand, they’re unlikely to meet their goals and expectations when they have to manually enter data, inefficiently switch between different tools, and don’t have access to relevant data in real-time.
At Livespace, we like to stress that the devil is in the details. The right CRM helps salespeople to spot them more quickly and to take advantage of smart automation. The CRM also facilitates and speeds up the onboarding process of new team members, which helps them to become professional team members faster and better than when onboarding is done the traditional way.
It’s safe to say that behind every successful sales team, there is a manager who is a never-ending inspiration, who trusts and rewards the team members and who always leads by example, no matter his or her professional background. It’s not an easy task. In fact, becoming such a manager requires experience, skills, knowledge of both management and sales techniques and, among others, trust. Luckily, technology helps by making both managers’ and employees’ work easier. Salespeople who are empowered and not overwhelmed with tedious manual work are ready to provide excellent job and to close the most demanding deals.