8 Ways to Improve Sales Team Motivation.

It sounds obvious but as a sales manager one of your key roles is to motivate your sales team. As such you have the ability to influence your team’s effectiveness in two obvious ways.

Firstly, by helping to develop their skills so they become better at their job.

This is a largely objective exercise that can be done by baselining their performance against the wider team. This helps to determine their proficiency and highlight any areas of friction. The findings can then be used in prescribing appropriate coaching.

Secondly, you can make salespeople more productive by ensuring you keep your sales team’s motivation and morale at a constant high. Doing so ensures your reps stay at the top of their game. Allowing them to constantly provide value for your customers and revenue for your business.

Sales team motivation however is a far trickier, always on the move target.

Andy McDonald

There’s a reason Zig Ziglar compared motivation to bathing. It doesn’t last long, so you have to do it every day!

However challenging – especially in large sales orgs – keeping the sales team motivated is a crucial part of a successful managers’ role.

To help you keep your sellers fully engaged and motivated so they can be successful, we have asked Growth Advisor and Sales Coach Andy McDonald to give us his top tips on motivating a sales team for success.

Let’s dive into Andy’s top tips to increasing sales team motivation!

Better Sales Team Motivation in 8 Simple Steps

1. Set Clearly Defined Goals:

In order to lead your team to success and keep them motivated through the journey, you must be clear on what that success looks like; and be able to plainly communicate the steps everyone should take to get there.

Start off by mapping out your overall company objectives. Every goal you set for your team must have a link back to your overarching objectives.

Sales Team Motivation

2. Build Trust and Maintain Open Communication:

Motivation has a lot to do with trust. And communication will help build mutual transparency and accountability.

A good leader should be able to clearly communicate what it is they expect from each one of the reps – even going as far as detailing expected usage of the CRM tool or guidance around the sales process.

It’s important that expectations are communicated at the start of the financial year (or in the case of new recruits, at onboarding) to set the tone for the upcoming months.

This transparency will help avoid excuses or miscommunication in the long run, ensure total alignment, aid performance and even keep attrition in check.

3. Make Sales Reps Accountable:

Accountability can play a huge part in sales team motivation. If a goal is clearly defined, the measure of success clarified and communication is free-flowing, you should be letting reps take ownership of how they spend their time and how they manage their pipeline.

It demonstrates that you respect and value their judgement, pushing them to work harder on achieving their individual targets.

Hold regular meetings with your reps to walk through their pipeline. Arm yourself with data into their performance and their progress towards your KPIs to support and course correct in good time.

Sales Team Motivation group

4. Invest Time & Resources on Sales Coaching:

Personalised, one-to-one coaching has proven to help sales reps improve close rates by an impressive 70% – even with as little as 3 hours coaching a month!

And what can be more motivating than meeting your targets?

But more than that, leaders who put the time and resources behind better equipping their reps are esteemed and respected by their team; thus attracting and retaining top talent.

For coaching to be effective, it needs to be more than just pipeline and deal analysis. It must consider behavioural insight on an individual level, touching on skill and personal development that evolves through the year.

5. Build and Follow a Sales Strategy:

Success does not happen by chance. It’s a combination of the right skill set along with the flawless execution of a sales plan.

A good example of this can be found in elite sports teams.

The best teams in Sport spend more time preparing for success than most of their peers, and their time playing tends to be 10% of their preparation time.

They follow a clear plan. They know who’s best at what, how they are going to do it and what part each teammate plays in the strategy.

Sales is no different. The team will only achieve its goals with a good manager who sets out the strategy and coaches the team to success. 

Successful Teams in Sales

6. Give Reps Autonomy, Purpose, and Opportunities to Test their Abilities:

Is money the only motivator

As much as it’s true that salespeople are driven by financial rewards, money is not the only motivator. Monetary rewards should not be the only incentive used to push your team to success.

More importantly, sales reps need a purpose. The ability to enjoy what they do and play with the freedom to try new things – even if they occasionally get things wrong.

It’s important that they see the potential in their roles and that they’re given the chance to absorb additional skills and knowledge to advance in their careers.

The more they master their role, the more motivated they’ll be to keep improving.

7. Know your Place as A Leader:

Believe it or not, sales leaders are not the best salespeople. Reps are.

The role of the leader is to guide and support sellers; not to swoop in and close the deal for them.

To set the foundations for their success, you should aim to build an environment where reps feel like they can express themselves and seek advice when they need it.

Good leaders act as a filter between the board and the sales floor, communicating company decisions and strategy with the team, whilst taking the noise out of things that could eat away at their productivity.

8. Celebrate Wins, Learn from Failures:

Keep your sales team motivated by allowing room for trial and error.

It’s easy to assume that there’s a proven formula for sales execution in global companies, but it’s always positive to try new things and be prepared to fail.

Sales managers that take risks and do things differently tend to experience more positive outcomes.

Being too strict around the status quo can keep us from exploring new avenues and discovering new paths to success. Not to mention it’ll turn off those trailblazers that are so beneficial for our organisation.

When a project succeeds, celebrate it. If it fails, dissect the situation and learn from your mistakes. Build a culture of testing and learning.

Every Sales Team is Different

Sales is in constant evolution. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to selling anymore and the only way to keep up with the speed of the market is to be daring and audacious.

Of course, Sales is a goal-orientated profession but what we don’t realise is that the singular emphasis we place on the desired outcome (i.e. closed revenue) can often have a detrimental effect on achieving that very target.

Ensuring your sales team motivation remains high and that your reps are supported through the entire journey – not just patted on the back when they close that deal – will have a more positive effect, and ultimately a more positive outcome, across the entire team.

More on Improving Sales Team Motivation

For more ideas on keeping your sales team motivated, take a look at ‘Sales Incentives The Modern Way’.

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