Wednesday, March 5, 2014

How can you motivate your sales team so they can reach their best performance?

How to motivate your sales team.
One of the comments I received from last week’s post, entitled "What training should your salespeople in your business receive" made reference to lack of motivation as one of the factors that can reduce the effectiveness of your salespeople or team, and it came from my dear friend Miguel Martin.

 And certainly motivation is a vital element for any sales person since the sale itself is fundamentally an emotions-driven act: to reach the most effective performance the salesperson must be in an optimal emotional situation.

It doesn’t have to be excellent, or some sort of "life-is-very-beautiful" thing. No.

It just has to be a well balanced emotional state.

To be effective, a salesperson must be on an appropriate emotional situation. 

Just think for a moment how would it be if, while your sales representative is giving a presentation of your products to a group of potential buyers, those buyers can clearly see in his face signs showing that this month he’s not meeting its sales goals therefore he’s not going to have money enough to bring food to his family’s table?

Or what about your sales representative going through a breakup and instead of talking with customers about your products he prefers to discharge on them the frustration he feels because of all the terrible things his partner has done and that were the reason why they break up on the first place?

For a sales person to be effective, the first requirement is to be properly supervised. 

And supervising doesn’t mean you have to become the “eye on the sky” looking over your representatives’ shoulders 24 hours a day. No. Not at all.

Supervising or monitoring is a task you must perform continuously, every single day, either face to face, by phone or email, the way you feel more comfortable with but has to be done regularly. Only this way you will be able to detect when "emotional levels" of your sales team drop below the minimum level required to do the job right, and it’s then your responsibility to take the necessary measures to increase their motivation. 

You supervise simply to detect situations that require your intervention to improve performance and results.

Please be aware: Your job is to to monitor, supervise and detect situations that require your intervention to improve performance and keep the spirits up, not to become an annoying voice that interrupts your team’s work twenty times per day.

The second thing you need is to set realistic and achievable goals.

How did you establish the goals you expect from your sales team? Because you did have an inspiration coming from above? Or because you just happened to think that was the number you could reach during that particular period of time? There's nothing funnier than sitting down with a business owner and ask him how much money he wants to sell over the next year or within the next six months.

The expressions on their faces say everything: They have not even the slightest idea, or the idea they have is simply the manifestation of their own illusions, hopes and, more probably, their own needs. On top of everything a sales target must be realistic.

What makes you think you can sell that kind of money? Which are the reasons behind your sales goals? How does it fit within the current market situation? How much money did you sale last year within the same period of time? How much money are you planning to invest in advertising to boost sales during such time? What is your competition doing and how are you planning to deal with it?

An unrealistic sales goal just leads to your team’s own frustration and, consequently, a decrease on its performance. 

That's why a sales goal is not a number that you simply make up. There is a whole reasoning process behind it. Do you remember in a recent post we talked about your salespeople being just “the tip of the iceberg” in your business? Well, I hope you can now see it more clearly.

There are many factors directly related with the company’s performance itself that can significantly affect the performance of your salespeople. That’s why it is so important to set realistic and achievable sales goals.

And generally, and from my own experience, when goals are realistic they are perfectly achievable.

Don’t try to sell to your own sales people. 

Your sales team does not need you telling them your company is the most wonderful wonder in the market, or that your products are the most desired piece of engineering for each of your customers, or your prices are the most competitive ones on the whole world. All companies say the same thing.

You must provide an honest sales training to each people on your sales team. Instead of the “wonderful company” speech, your salespeople need to be prepared with the truth and nothing but the truth to do the job. It's like being trained for a battle: If you don’t speak with the truth to your sales people, as clear as you can make it, honestly evaluating the size and strength of the enemy, and how they will be able to deal with it and win, you’re simply preparing them to be defeated.

Can you imagine a boxer going into a fight thinking that the best shot of his opponent is the straight right, when in fact it is the left hook? What a huge surprise his ribs are going to receive when feeling the first few bombs!

It goes the same way for members of your sales team: They all must be adequately prepared to deal, effectively and in a positive way, with all the challenges they are going to be facing along the road.

There are not bad sales representatives but bad bosses instead. 

And this is a truth that has always been my north as sales manager: I have always taken my salespeople and their performance as my direct responsibility. If they don’t reach their best performance, there must be something I’m not doing right.

That your sales team’s number are dropping? It’s your responsibility to realize what can be the cause and apply the corresponding correction. That one of the guys in your sales team is not having it all with him? If it has gone this far, how come you haven’t noticed it before? And why you haven’t taken the required corrective measures? And if it was already bad from the beginning, why did you hire him?

To put it all on just a few words:

  • If you clearly understand your jobs is to properly supervised your sales team, 
  • If you clearly set the goals your sales team must meet and these goals are realistic and achievable, 
  • And if you have in mind that the performance of your salespeople is your responsibility, and not theirs... 

Then you will be able to properly motivate members of your sales team, will help them be really effective and will have no problem on achieving their best results.

Related post in this blog:
What training should salespeople on your company receive? 
Corporate reputation and sales representative’s responsibility.

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