Guest blog by Dennis Bridges, MBA
Communication and transparency: Schedule meetings with your sales staff regularly. Instead of just focusing on what they’re doing well and what they are doing wrong, make sure that some 1-on-1 time is used to address their worries, pain points and work environment issues.
If you encourage honesty and constructive criticism you’re likely to catch motivation problems before they take hold and/or spread. Ask your staff what motivates them during these meetings. You will find that most salespeople value a unique combination of monetary rewards, promotion opportunity, acknowledgement, autonomy and team culture. Take notes on what motivates each person.
Training: There are several ways to plan training to increase motivation. Consider incorporating some form of a mentorship program that allows staff to get answers when you’re not around. This is also an excellent way to recognize special skills in your salespeople and encourage interaction. Ask the salesperson to take a few hours from selling and plan a 1-hour training session about a topic they excel in.
Tailor your motivational plan to each employee. If you have the ability to adjust incentive schemes, use it. Each person is motivated differently, so choose 1 to 3 things that will help the sales person work harder and put them in writing.
Create an effective commission structure. If few of your salespeople are meeting their quotas, you should review how well they are working to motivate employees. Reconsider caps on commissions or quotas, placing them at lower levels if the market has seen a drop or raising the commission levels in a market boom. If you are not rewarding your good people your competition would be happy to; so put words into action. Implement daily, weekly and monthly incentives. Examples include offering a trip, day off, large gift card, coffee, free lunches or gym/club membership. Interim bonuses like these can also help people meet their larger quotas by helping them hit milestones during the season. Incentives also foster friendly competition.
Above all make absolutely certain that you honor anyincentives that are discussed. If lesser incentives are substituted, ignored because of last minute fine print, or never put into place, conversations about goals and targets will begin to have the opposite effect, possibly aggravating and demotivating your team.
I once had a boss who was a master of recognizing the efforts of his team. He used 3 simple techniques that you can quickly apply as well.
- Congratulate a team-member publically
- Write them a personal note
- Introduce them and their achievements to another member of the leadership team.