Motivating someone is impossible if you haven’t earned their trust. Your sales force needs to believe that you have their best interests at heart, and if they don’t then you just can’t expect to motivate them effectively. You can build trust in two simple ways: active listening and supplying their needs. Have open discussions with the sales force and actually listen to and implement their feedback. Just lending an ear can work wonders as it gives them an avenue to talk about things, and gives you an idea of any problems that may be looming on the horizon.
Another way to build trust is to make sure the sales force has all of the supplies that they need to be as effective as possible. You are basically setting them up for success on a daily basis, and it could be something as small as having ballpoint pens or printer paper around. While it may not seem like a big deal to you, it is one less frustration that the sales force will have to go through on their daily schedules. And on a very basic, social level, we’re all more motivated to work for/with someone who we know has our best interests at heart.
I’m sure we’ve all had times when work just seems boring, even monotonous. One of the best ways to not only motivate your sales force but also keep some of your best employees around is to make the work atmosphere more light hearted. Think outside of the box and get creative when it comes to the workplace. Some ideas include creating a rewards system, giving out gifts, creating games, having certain days with a relaxed dress code... You could even ask for input from the sales force to see what they may be interested in. Having a more enjoyable and fun workplace makes the days go by much faster and will certainly lead to a more motivated workforce.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Another great way to build motivation in your sales force is to put yourself in their shoes, both physically and figuratively. Physically in the sense that, if possible, you spend time with them actually making calls, overcoming objections and following through on sales with the team. You will not only gain a greater understanding of what it is they have to do on a daily basis, but you’ll also earn respect from the team for having done their jobs. They’ll know that you have an actual understanding of what it’s like to do what they do, so the next time you change the way some process works they know that you haven’t just ‘cut corners to make more money for the shareholders’, and that you aren’t increasing workload ‘because you just don’t get what it’s like to work the phones’.
Create a Culture
If your company doesn’t have a culture of recognition in place it may be useful to create one. A culture of recognition can provide great motivation for any sales force. It’s important to create a team atmosphere and not just an individualized one when it comes to recognising accomplishments.
There will always be some employees who perform better than others, and they should certainly receive recognition for the successes they achieve in the workplace. However, you should try to include the entire team as well as much as possible, because it’s the team as a whole that needs to deliver up to your expectations. It could be something as simple as taking the sales force out to dinner in recognition of a great month. Best practice is to reward top earners and top teams, so that you don’t discourage top performers but you don’t leave out the others completely either.
Lastly, setting goals is another great way to motivate a sales force both individually and as a whole. This can be done daily, weekly, monthly, or annually, and it can be targeted to specific individuals or the whole department. The options are practically endless. The real difficulty comes with how much you want to push your sales force to achieve greater success for the company. You could create easy goals for the sales force to meet every month or you could create extremely difficult goals that may stretch the sales force to its breaking point. There is certainly a balance to be had between the two, as you want to push and motivate your sales force, but not to the point where the goals are so unrealistic as to begin to demotivate them. Start slow and then build from there, finding their natural limit, and work to that.
There are many different ways in which you can motivate your sales force, and these are only a few to consider. Motivating sales forces doesn’t require inordinate amounts of money or even a significant investment of time on your end. Keep it simple, look out for their interests, and you can rest assured that you will have a sales force that enjoys what they do and constantly strives for more.