4 Ways to Motivate Your Sales Team for High Performance

There is no question that managing sales people is one of the great mysteries of business ownership.  Sales people are indeed a breed of their own, one that often small business entrepreneurs struggle to understand.

On a very simplistic level, it’s easy to keep things simple in managing sales people.  They are motivated by money.  That’s true however, the flaw in motivating sales people solely through their compensation is that it focuses both the sales person and management’s attention only on the results of their efforts instead of the process they follow to achieve those results.

Most people, especially sales folks, don’t lack a desire for money.  They lack the knowledge to find effective ways to earn it.

In my 20+ years of managing sales people and 10 years of helping my customers manage sales people using online CRM, I’ve seen firsthand how managing the steps in the sales process and even basing compensation on the performance of the process vs. sales results can lead to tremendously successful, high performing sales teams.

Following are 4 ways any business can motivate their sales team without hiring or firing anyone and without spending a mint.

1)      Break the Sales Process Down and Set Goals within the Process

It sounds so simple but, in practice is quite difficult.  Because you are so conversant with the benefits of your product or service and the nuances of your customers, nothing seems to follow a standard linear process.  And therein lies the problem.  Your customers and your sales people are dictating this crucial process in your business’ success.  You need to take control over it so that you can manage it.  Identify the things that your company and your sales rep are in control of that happen in virtually every sale and the typical sequence.  Begin to measure how many cold calls it takes to get an appointment for instance and set goals for each of these steps.

2)      Incentivize the Process

Once you’ve broken down your process and set goals, you need to reward those who perform.  Choose the points in the process that tend to be the bottleneck and provide strong incentives for those that outperform in these areas.  For instance, with most sales people that generate their own leads, making their prospecting calls (cold calls) is normally the bottleneck.  It may make sense to provide an extra commission on sales to those reps that outperform here.  Of course, it doesn’t have to be a monetary reward.  It could be more leads or preferential territories, etc.

3)      Public Accountability and Praise

You can help your sales people motivate themselves to focus on the most important parts of the process by measuring the process for the entire sales team and sharing the results with everyone.  This way they begin to compete with each other.  They also begin to see how performance within the process goals you’ve set up correlates with sales performance.  Of course, you want to publicly praise not just the sales rep that closed a huge deal this month but, the sales rep that’s working the process hard and beating their goals too.

4)      Help them Find Strong Prospects and Strengthen Those Relationships

In the end, the sales person finds qualified prospects, communicates the value of your solution to the prospect and builds trust in your company within the prospect.  Create marketing materials and campaigns that help cause the best prospects to “self identify”.  Nothing is more valuable to a sales person that a strong lead.  Building a strong search marketing campaign combined with an email marketing campaign helps your sales team build trust and communicate the crucial messages to all prospects consistently.  In addition, your website and your email marketing campaigns can alert the sales person when a customer takes action that indicates they’re ready to buy.

Implementing even a few of these ideas is guaranteed to produce sales results.  None of these concepts should be expensive to implement nor do they require a highly training sales guru to figure out.  Of course, they will feel uncomfortable at first.  Get started keeping in mind it’s a journey, not a destination.


Featured Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/greentechmedia

Category: Leadership

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About the Author: Craig Klein

Craig Klein brings his engineering training and his sales management experience together to build measurable, consistent sales processes for his clients. As CEO of online CRM and Email Marketing compa…

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  1. I have been a sales professional for 20 years and have used a number of CRM applications.  I can honestly say that SalesNexus not only easier to use than salesforce it has more functionality.  I find it as user friendly as ACT, but far more robust.  If you need a new CRM this is the one to choose,  you will be amazed at the ease of integration.

  2. Telecom1776

    August 17, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    I would agree with much of what was written here, but to suggest most sales reps “They lack the knowledge to find effective ways to earn it” is not really telling the complete picture.  Many sales reps find success because of timing.  I know plenty of seasoned sales reps that had great success for a time and then a very dry season because of politics and other things they went through dry periods because they couldn’t find a company with a great set of products/compensation/market share, etc.  On the flip side I’ve probably seen more average reps hit it huge largely because they landed in with a good company where even an average rep could be very successful.  But if they lost or were to lose that position and really had to sell to earn their salt they might not even last 6 months with other companies before getting shown the door.

  3. Sales

    August 18, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    I don’t get it.

  4. Sales

    August 18, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    I don’t get it.

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  6. These are great tips for motivating your sales team to aim higher in their performance levels. I would love to add that equipping them with the proper tools to get the job done effectively and quickly can make a big difference. In addition, relieving them of basic admin tasks and encouraging them to get out there and sell will make them feel more empowered as salespeople. Thanks for sharing your insight, these are things all sales managers and their teams can benefit from.

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