A sales team makes up a company's front lines. They need to feel passion and excitement for their product, their company and their clients. Keeping them upbeat and focused means keeping a fire lit under them. Do this through rewards, encouragement and great communication. Keep reading to learn 10 ways to light the fire that keeps your sales team operating at peak performance levels.
1. Reward Your Team
One of the best ways to get a sales team revved up is to reward those who do a great job. Acknowledge employees' skill and efforts. Simply showing gratitude when the team puts out effort can do a lot to keep them loyal and working hard. Failing to acknowledge good work is a sure way to cause the best people to print their resumes and start looking elsewhere.
2. Don't Micromanage
Continually correcting your crew and giving them little freedom to do their jobs the way they want to do them can be sure-fire ways to end up with an unhappy team. Don't over-manage, and don't keep comparing their performance with that of other teams. Instead, focus on motivating and rewarding them.
3. Personalize Your Encouragement
Different team members are motivated by different things. Some on your sales team probably just want to do their jobs and collect their paychecks. Others may want to please you or the others on the team. More self-directed team members may find motivation in outdoing themselves year after year. Pinpoint the motivations of individual team members, and use them as a way to target your efforts to inspire them.
4. Match People to Projects
Knowing your team as individuals also pays off when assigning tasks throughout the team. Find out who loves making cold calls, and give him that task. Hand off the research and data analysis to a sales rep who really loves doing the number-crunching. Light a fire under your team by targeting tasks to their individual passions and skills, and find a group that's happier and more productive.
5. Stay in Touch
You can't manage your team effectively if you never leave your office. Walk around and talk to your team. Deliver good news and bad news in person to let your team know you're approachable. Avoid using email as your primary means of communication with them.
6. Hire the Best
It's hard to keep a team fired up if there's a lot of dead wood dragging down morale. Focus on hiring the best people, taking care to make their personalities mesh well with current team members. You also benefit when you hire salespeople who don't need training and are ready to hit the ground running.
7. Celebrate Together
While it's certainly a good idea to recognize the special achievements of a team's stars, it's also important to find times to celebrate successes together without causing team members to compare themselves to one another. Focus on the wins, and set the losses to one side to help build your team.
8. Make Your Expectations Clear
If your team isn't quite sure what you expect and when you expect it, no one can head out into the field with much enthusiasm. Keep communication clear and constant. Define expectations for each member of the team precisely, and let them know what rewards they might receive if they exceed their targets.
9. Don't Overfocus on Numbers
You may be the type who gets excited by reading charts and crunching numbers. However, most of your sales team, if they're natural salespeople, probably get more fired up by relationships than by statistics. Let the team know the basics of the numbers, of course, but don't force them to wade through endless calculations if you want them to stay revved up to sell.
10. Keep Things Simple
While you want clear expectations, don't overdefine the process you expect your sales team to apply. A process that's too regimented or complicated can make a sales rep feel as if he can't do his job. Be flexible in a way that highlights team members' best strengths.
Every team needs a good leader. When focusing on how to motivate a sales team, think about the team members individually to design strategies that can encourage them to do their best. Figuring out how to light a fire under each member can lead to an explosion of energy and productivity that everyone can celebrate.
Photo Courtesy of Simplistic SitesY at Flickr.com
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