Many sales managers think they know exactly what they need to do to keep their sales team motivated. They think that offering higher commissions and bonuses is the ticket to building a passionate team of salespeople. That’s a flawed assumption.
Nobody questions that money is a strong motivating factor for most people (especially those who work in sales). However, there are other factors that need to be taken into consideration as well.
Try to Give Them What They Want
The most important step to motivating your sales staff is to understand what it is they want. Don’t make any assumptions and don’t expect the same things that motivate you to be driving forces for them as well. Ask what you can do to make them happy and keep an open line of communication.
There are plenty of other motivating factors beyond money. Some employees are just going to want a friendly work environment and maybe join the rest of the sales team for happy hour once a week. You won’t know if you don’t ask.
Give Them What They Need
A sales team is likely to be disgruntled when their sales drop. Managers can easily mistake this as an indication that they have lost motivation. One of the first responses is to offer them higher compensation.
Oftentimes, sales drop because employees don’t have the resources or support they need to succeed. Giving them what they need will make their jobs easier and help them feel more optimistic about getting their job done.
An updated list of leads and effective training can be exactly what they need to lower stress and do their job better.
Create a Balanced Stress Environment
Some sales managers think the best way to get the most out of their employees is to act like a drill sergeant. The problem is that cracking a whip tends to make employees more stressed and leads to quicker burnout.
Acting like a crazed dictator may not be the best way to get their respect. However, a laissez-faire attitude isn’t likely to work either. Your staff may have a hard time staying motivated if you give them the impression that they don’t have to worry as much about quotas and deadlines.
People need a healthy level of stress to stay productive and function well. Don’t go overboard in either direction.
Keep Your Compensation Plan Fair and Consistent
Many people are drawn to sales, because they know there is no limit to the amount of money that they can earn. They are willing to work for a fair commission instead of an hourly rate. Make sure that you provide that to them. Don’t start offering a lower commission or you will lose support from your staff fast.
Switching from a pure commission model to a hybrid compensation approach (i.e. adding a salary or stipend with reduced commissions) is likely to benefit the low performers at the expense of your top salespeople. That is a surefire way to alienate your best salespeople and drive them to your competitors. Keep your approach consistent and fair.
Building a strong committed sales staff is essential to meeting goals; make sure you understand what it takes to get your employees motivated.