How to get your Sales Team Motivated & Crushing Targets
“How many calls have you made?”, “How many meetings have you had this week?”, “What’s happening with X & Y accounts?”. Sound like familiar questions? Whether you’re the one asking them or the one receiving them, these questions are generally the most common questions you’ll hear in sales meetings. Yes the answers to these questions are important, but there are other ways in attaining this information and they certainly don’t arouse excitement and inspiration in your team to run back to their desks and pick up the phone.
I’ve lost count of how many sales meetings I’ve been in where these questions were the only ones asked. Why is this the case? Mainly because the Sales Managers in these meeting didn’t know any better. Most likely they secured their management position by being a great sales person and therefore earned the right to be promoted into it. Let me be clear here though. Just because they may have been a great sales person doesn’t mean they’re going to be a great manager.
You see, those sales professionals who get promoted into a management position without being equipped with the right management/leadership skills will undoubtedly become what I like to refer to as a Sale Measurer not a Sales Manager. They’ll do a great job of measuring their sales team’s activity and asking them to do better. Why? Because that’s how they succeeded. When they were on the front line and knew that they were going to miss their target, they would say to themselves “I need to get more meetings. Come on Jimbob, pick your game up” and would go about doing so. Although this can certainly be what’s needed for yourself to get motivated. When it’s coming from someone else it has the reverse effect, generally making them feel inferior and disheartened.
In saying this though, it doesn’t mean that great sales people can’t become great managers. In fact some of the best Sales Managers I’ve seen used to be at the front line. These great Sales Managers all have a few key skills that make them so great:
- LBE – Lead By Example: Just because they’ve got the promotion doesn’t mean they can kick off their shoes and never touch the phone again. By far the best Sales Managers I’ve seen are those who are still very active in the front line sales activity. Those who are prepared to join the sales team in their office, pick up the phone and make some cold calls. This is particularly the case if your sales team isn’t being proactive enough. Those managers that are willing to confront possible rejection and embarrassment in front of their team are the ones who will gain the most respect and admiration. I once had a sales manager that made a cold call in front of me and stuffed it up. After the call he looked at me grinning and said “Shit. I stuffed that one up didn’t I?” and then picked up the phone again to have another go and nailed an appointment. That act made me so determined and inspired to get in and do him proud.
- Give them the Keys: Remember the first time your Dad gave you the opportunity to drive his car? How did you feel? Nervous? Excited? Proud?? Giving that same type of responsibility to a sales team can be an extremely valuable exercise. Give them the opportunity to create their own New Business Development Plan or a Client Expansion Campaign, where they have complete autonomy to put forward how, who, why and by when the plan/campaign would work. This gives them a great sense of purpose and responsibility and shows them that you trust them and are interested in their ideas. Once they come back to you with their plan/campaign, always highlight their good ideas and suggest how you think it could even be better. Then have them commit and sign to the plan and let them go on their way to complete, mentioning that you are here if they need any help at anytime. I think you’ll be surprised of the outcomes.
- Sales Management ART – Acknowledgement, Reward & Trust: If you’re a Sales Manager and you nail these three skills, your work will become very valuable- just like an expensive piece of ART. Acknowledgement – Oh, how a little acknowledgement can go so far! I spoke with a sales professional last week who seemed a little down and when I asked him why he was so glum. He replied “All I want is to know whether I’m doing a good job.” He was doing a GOOD job, not a GREAT job, just a good one. However, I bet if his Sales Manager said to him, “I think you’re doing a good job and I know you have the ability to be great, is there anything I can do?”, that would of been enough for him to get back on track and put more focus into becoming great rather than just being good. Reward – Having the right reward structure in place is essential to great sales management, something that is realistic and motivating. I think a tiered structure that invites the sales team to strive for higher commissions is great. Also non-monetary rewards such as weekends away, movie tickets, gift vouchers and corporate team trips away upon reaching team targets are all great incentives. Just make sure that when you start as a new Sales Manager or have a new sales person join the team you explain the structure clearly and ask for their feedback on it. Trust – Well if there’s no trust there will be no reaching target. Creating a trusting environment between the Sales Manager and sales team, and between the sales team itself, is extremely important. Trust is developed through keeping your word, being honest and taking responsibility when you know you have stuffed up. If you keep these principles then it will create a team of highly capable, mature and respectful individuals that will want to do a great job, which equals doing a great job, which equals crushing of sales targets.
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