How Motivation Can Turn a Stagnant Team into a High-Performance Machine Salespeople are the driving force behind a company's revenue, so finding the right people to join the sales team is crucial. However, simply hiring the right employees is not enough to ensure success.
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At my company, we conducted an internal survey about the performance of salespeople within teams. We found out that the better the emotional state of the agents is, the higher the team's revenue. So, for sales specialists to truly excel, it is essential to create a positive and fulfilling environment, motivate them and help them develop a strong belief in the product or service they are selling.
When sales specialists believe in the product they are selling, they become passionate about it, which translates into their performance. In this article, we will explore how non-monetary motivation and other tools can help you create a positive emotional climate in your sales team, resulting in increased revenue.
Build trust in your product
Ultimately, the fundamental motivation of a successful salesperson is money, and we believe that the best sales team consists of people eager to earn more. However, people get used to money quickly, and to maintain high revenue indicators, it's important to use other tools. So, to create a sales team that is enthusiastic, dedicated and invested in their work, team members need to have a strong belief in the value of what they're selling.
There are several ways to create a strong emotional connection between salespeople and the product or service they are selling:
- Highlight the unique features of the product and the value it gives clients. This can be especially effective when dealing with complex or technical products or services, where it may be more challenging to make an emotional connection. The most powerful tools are stories and real-life examples of how the product has helped your clients.
- Pay attention to how the product is superior to its competitors. This can help salespeople feel that they are part of something extraordinary and differentiated in the market. Apart from the unique sales propositions that no one in the market has, you can also include personal and unique benefits they get from working with you: health insurance, higher chances of promotion, and so on.
The first step in building this attitude is onboarding. During this, it's important to help new sales team members be aware of the technical aspects of their job and form an emotional relationship with the product. They should learn about the fixed part of their salary and believe they can earn much more than that, seeing examples of other employees. Moreover, it's when they should believe that your product is life-changing and better than the competitors'. This knowledge should be reinforced over time through regular presentations that showcase changes to the product or service, Google rankings, reviews and other metrics demonstrating the company's excellence.
Related: 10 Ways to Maximize Your Sales Team's Performance
Encourage an open dialogue within the team
Another key aspect of fostering a positive atmosphere among salespeople is establishing open communication channels within the team. Without such, team members may become disengaged and ultimately leave the company. Several things can be done:
- Hold weekly 1-on-1 meetings between team members and their managers. These 15-minute meetings should focus primarily on work-related issues, but managers should also take the time to address personal issues and offer support where necessary.
- Listen closely to what team members are saying and actively seek their input on issues related to the team's performance. This may involve encouraging salespeople to share their thoughts and feelings about how the team is doing and what improvements could be made. It's important to take their feedback seriously and act upon it when appropriate or explain why certain decisions are being made when it's impossible to implement their suggestions. In our practice, people are eager to share their concerns because they understand the possible positive outcome for themselves.
- Be transparent in communicating bad news. Not everything goes perfectly sometimes, and being open about it is crucial for maintaining trust and keeping your sales team motivated. For example, if there is a price increase, it can be seen as bad news for salespeople. In such cases, it's important to take a proactive approach by selecting a group of 15-20 highly loyal employees and explaining the situation to them first. This involves showing them the different options that were considered and why they weren't feasible. Doing this is crucial, especially if the circumstance, like a reduction in bonuses, affects them personally. This initial group can ask tough questions, but ultimately, they will understand why the decision was made. Afterward, the same information can be presented to the entire team through a presentation. In most cases, there will be fewer questions left to answer because the initial group has already explained the situation to others. This approach builds trust and shows your sales team that you value their input and are willing to be transparent with them.
Related: 9 Keys to Leading Great Sales Meetings
Introduce situational motivation
In addition to incentives that take place regularly, some situational rewards can also play a significant role in boosting productivity levels and morale among sales teams. These rewards may involve a small amount of money or be non-monetary but still significantly impact team motivation and engagement.
Here are some examples that turned out to be the most effective based on our experience:
- Recognition can take many different forms: A simple yet effective way to recognize top performers is by providing a certificate highlighting their accomplishments and contributions to the team. Later, the sales specialist can include it in their portfolio, so they usually feel very happy and proud to get one. Of course, it's impossible to motivate people with just affirmative words for a significant period, so this simple technique will likely give a temporary yet powerful boost.
- Informal gatherings that reflect the culture of the sales team: For example, in the Philippines, there is a cultural practice called "lunch and learn:" a tradition where the entire team has dinner on Fridays, which is paid for by an employee. We practice this tradition even in a remote work setting by simply sending money to the salespeople and having dinner together via Zoom. This provides a place for informal interaction and also serves as a nice bonus, even though it doesn't cost the company much.
- Challenges, even the craziest ones: Sometimes, introducing some fun "I dare you" challenges can effectively engage the workplace. For example, our sales director was once challenged to film a dancing video on TikTok if the team met the plan. The salespeople's performance was outstanding just because they wanted to have fun.
Related: How Do You Recruit the Best Salespeople When You Don't Have Much Money?
It's worth investing in motivation
In conclusion, creating a positive and fulfilling environment for your sales team is essential for driving revenue growth. By building trust in your product, fostering open communication channels, and providing non-monetary sources of motivation, you can inspire your salespeople to excel. When sales specialists believe in the value of what they're selling, they become passionate and dedicated, leading to increased sales and overall team success.
Remember, the performance of your sales team is not just about the money but also about creating a culture of trust, transparency and motivation. Invest in your salespeople, and they will invest in your success!