“What is the best way to motivate a sales team?” We get asked this question all the time by sales leaders. They often tell us how their sales team seems demoralised, and they’re worried some might even be looking for new jobs. A stark contrast from the vision of a motivated sales team that oozes confidence, exuberance, and energy regardless of whether your sales are at a peak or slowing down. So with 44% of salespeople giving up after only one “no”, we decided it was time to share this article with the 11 best strategies to motivate your sales team – swipe them below!
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13 strategies to motivate your sales team
Sales are, of course, an ever-evolving environment – however, these seven strategies to motivate your sales team are tried, tested and trusted. They’re primarily focused on cultivating happiness, drive and synergy, so we encourage you to take these practical steps to motivate your sales team and help them reach targets.
1. Build trust
The foundation of motivation will always be trust. That’s why the first step to helping motivate your sales team to reach more targets is to establish mutual trust.
While there are hundreds of ways to build trust among your team, generally, the number one rule is that faith must be a two-way street: to get it – you need to give it. Nothing erodes sales teams’ confidence in a leader faster than when they are not living up to their promises.
An excellent method for increasing your sales team’s trust in you as a leader is to let them feel ownership – in other words, let them sit in the driver’s seat. When starting up a new project or campaign, ask yourself:
- What type of responsibilities could I delegate to them?
- How can I get them involved in decision-making?
- What tasks can I hand off to help team members grow as salespeople?
However, it’s critical to note you must always be mindful of protecting the trust you’ve established because if you lose your team’s confidence for any reason, it’s a long road to get it back.
2. Set daily, weekly, and monthly goals
As a sales leader, it is your responsibility to develop or help your sales team create long-term and short-term goals. Devising these plans allows you and your staff to see where they stand objectively and will improve sales performance and productivity in the long term.
When it comes to setting targets for your sales team, we recommend breaking larger annual or monthly goals into weekly or daily goals; however, your goals don’t have to be around revenue. Instead, they could be about how many calls, emails or meetings they achieve.
However, not all salespeople are motivated by the same things. Some may be inspired by team-wide sales contests, quota achievements, qualitative improvements, money, or their impact on the organisation. That’s why when setting goals, you need to consider each type of goal and its related SPIF (sales performance incentive fund):
- Daily: A very short-term goal designed to help sales rep’s break out of their slump and get back on a roll. Use a SPIF that is fun but small since the sales rep isn’t doing that much to earn it.
- Weekly: A more tangible goal with a clear business impact. Start by setting metrics for improvement, then help sales reps improve the necessary skills daily to achieve the goal. Use a SPIF that is more involved, such as taking your sales rep out for dinner, and you will influence more valuable results.
- Monthly: A significant goal celebrated with a higher-value reward; this could be a physical gift, unique experience or cash.
Overall, the key to setting targets for your sales team is selecting those that deliver the optimal motivational bang. These kinds of goals are not readily achievable yet not impossible to reach, which means if your staff surpass their goal every day, you may have to raise the bar a little. Comparatively, if they are falling short and growing frustrated, perhaps it is time to find out what’s not working to help motivate your sales team.
3. Identify issues
Every sales manager must handle two main elements of sales team motivation: individual inspiration and team-wide motivation. To do this, assist your sales team in determining what keeps them from reaching their work goals. Set aside a time to speak with each of your sales reps each week to connect and find out what’s working, what’s not and how you can help.
When you have identified the issues, work together to find actionable solutions your sales reps can use to help them overcome these obstacles.
This method is a great way to help build trust and allows for quick sales course sessions, but it also encourages your sales team to view you as a valuable resource – not just their supervisor!
4. Recognise & encourage initiative
It’s critical to recognise and reward those who go the extra mile to reach targets. To do so, reward sales reps who use clear initiatives to reach more targets, bring new ideas to help increase market share, and find new customers with large rewards for implemented ideas and even more significant rewards for ideas that work.
5. Foster a team environment
Working one-on-one with each sales rep in your department is important, but it’s equally important to hold weekly sales team meetings. Each week have a different focus, one week could be an objection handling session where everyone shares common objections they’re getting and the team can brainstorm ways to overcome them. You can also select a team member to share how they recently won a complicated or large deal.
By fostering a team environment, junior team members can learn from the more experienced, high performers get praised for their achievements and everyone shares and learn best practices from each other.
6. Praise in public
One of the most critical determinants for workplace happiness and motivation is feeling appreciated for your work. That’s why public recognition should always be on your mind; however, don’t just celebrate significant milestones; celebrate the small ones, too. Offer praise in public by:
- Giving specific compliments.
- Telling sales reps that you trust them
- Possessing an open door policy to encourage transparency
- Always saying “thank you.”
7. Remind your team of the purpose
Sure lots of people are motivated by money, but what motivates people is working towards a common goal or a common mission. They need to know what they do matters and that they’re making a difference.
For instance, if you’re a sales leader in insurance, your sales team makes sure families have insurance to avoid being homeless if a family member gets sick. Similarly, if you sell a CRM solution, your sales team saves people time and the frustration of losing data. More so, if you’re a sales leader in logistics, ensuring supplies get to customers on time is important! Therefore, everything everyone sells (mostly) is important. It makes a difference in someone’s life which is why that business exists in the first place. Above all, ensure your sales team remember that.
Studies show that people are more willing to work harder and longer when they share a common goal with their coworkers. As the team leader, it’s important to share its mission and how your team plays an important part in reaching it.
Besides working towards upholding the company’s mission, give the team a group target they can collectively work towards so that everyone wins or gets rewarded when that target is met.
Of course, everyone likes to be recognized for doing a good job! This is why to become a great sales leader, you need to know how best to reward each member of the team. Not everyone is motivated by the same things, and it may take a bit of sleuthing to discover the right reward for an individual; therefore, requiring you to find creative ways to motivate your sales team.
Money is the ideal motivator for most people. However, others would rather have extra vacation time or a more extended lunch break. If you’re unsure of the perfect reward for someone, try asking your sales team what they prefer.
Also, never underestimate the power of a few kind words. Always remember to thank your staff when they do something well. It’s a little thing that can have a considerable impact.
9. Less meetings, more breaks
Honestly, how many of the meetings on your calendar are necessary? As Dan Schawbel wrote in Forbes, some salespeople are afraid to mention to their colleagues they think that some meetings are simply a waste of time. While it’s important to have structured meetings, consider having fewer of them to encourage sales rep’s to spend time on other worthwhile sales activities. Keep reading to learn how to run a great sales team meeting, motivate your sales team, and reach those targets.
10 Ask how they’d like to be managed
In the same manner that different prospects require different selling and communication styles, so do your sales team. As a sales manager, it; ‘s your responsibility to adapt to the way they work and not to force one method of communication across the board – but rather cater to the individual preferences of your sales reps. To determine their work style, consider having a transparent conversation where you ask sales reps questions like:
- How do you prefer to receive feedback?
- Do you prefer public or private praise?
- If I do something that annoys or upsets you, will you let me know?
- How often do you prefer to meet? Once a week, every other week? etc.
11. Provide opportunities for development
Most people want to improve the way they perform their jobs. Therefore, giving your sales team the chance to learn new skills and take on more responsibilities is a great way to motivate your sales team. Whether your company offers formal training sessions, take it upon yourself to conduct informal training sessions.
12. Celebrate small wins
According to a Harvard Business School study, employee morale improves tenfold when small accomplishments are recognised. That’s why it’s crucial to recognise your team’s small wins, such as moving a prospect further down the sales pipeline with thoughtful verbal or written praise – but leave the more significant wins for group celebrations.
13. Be a committed coach
While training is essential initially, leading a sales team that knows what it should do and one that does what it knows is two very different things. That’s why you must motivate your sales team by showing a commitment to being a strategic sales coach. Spend time praising, developing and improving your sales rep’s skills to help team members become more autonomous and self-sufficient.
SOCO/ is an expert-led, award-winning sales training company. We’ve spent decades working with some of the most innovative and forward-thinking companies across Asia and the world.
Build & motivate high-performance sales teams
While great employees may have natural sales skills, they often lack the further knowledge and application skills to motivate others and manage long processes.
Leading a team to new heights takes not only understanding – but leveraging your team’s unique strengths to strategically navigate uncharted territory together.
That’s why in this Management Mastery Training course, we cover the essential management and leadership skills every leader needs to possess to inspire them to reach their maximum potential.