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Steps Top Sales Managers Take to Motivate

February 14, 2013

“My sales people are not motivated.”

“They are not prospecting enough.”

“They want everything handed to them.”

“They’re fine as long as I develop the lead for them.”

I have heard these complaints so many times. In a recent coaching session with a Sales Manager, the repeating issue arose once more.

Why is this a familiar theme?

It’s not just sales people and it’s not just about the money.

I searched the internet to study ideas.  The blogs I read are all missing the point.

You first have to look inward as a sales leader. What are you doing to motivate?

As a Sales Manager, I feared demotivating my sales staff.

I noticed if I was negative, they were negative.

If I was positive and upbeat, they were positive and upbeat, seems simple.

*Remember, they are masters at reading and reacting to emotions and attitudes.  And they watch and listen to you, the sales manager or business owner, more than anyone else.

Let’s face facts; sales can be a tremendously frustrating experience if there is no support or help.

Are you too worried about the numbers, and not about the people?

If you are managing too much by the numbers, you are managing but not leading.

People want leaders.

“He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.”
Abraham Lincoln

English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth Presid...

English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States. Latviešu: Abrahams Linkolns, sešpadsmitais ASV prezidents. Српски / Srpski: Абрахам Линколн, шеснаести председник Сједињених Америчких Држава. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So what can you do to Motivate and Not De-motivate sales people?

1.  Make sure your goal is to help the sales people and not beat them with numbers.

2.  Have a vision and attainable goals that the salespeople can buy into.  Everybody loves to fight for a cause.  Make sure that the salespeople understand the direction the company is going, but more importantly WHY and HOW.  If they don’t believe in your vision, or see it as unattainable, then how can they sell for you with conviction?

3. If you set the goals, make sure the sales people develop the strategies with marketing and management.  There is nothing worse than being dictated goals without strategies and actions to get there.  Have a joint responsibility to reach the goal, but give them the responsibility of carrying out the strategies.

4.  Make a fair compensation plan.  Profitability of industries many times dictates the compensation plans.  However, I see too many companies who want to pay strictly on commission.  Most salespeople would take less money in commission, if they had a solid monetary base to work from.  It will not demotivate them to have a base.  They are people.  What is demotivating is working for a couple of months, making new contacts, and having nothing in the bank or to bring home to show for it.

5.  Having sales tools is important, but giving great support is more important.  Too many companies spend an inordinate amount of time teaching their sales people all the technical stuff and not enough time on the real reasons to buy a product or a service.  Have you ever had a sales person dazzle you with their technical knowledge and not sell a damn thing?  Having too much technical information can be a detriment.  The focus has to be on how this will help a prospect / customer.

6.  Collaborate with the top performers; manage and coach the others.  Top performers do not like to be managed.  However, they do like collaboration and creative strategy.  To them it is a game.  The others need to be managed more.  Get rid of the bottom feeders.

7.   Communicating with salespeople as someone that can and wants to help and support is very motivating.  What better way to motivate and support a salesperson than to have a contest in which the internal people, like customer service representatives and technicians, share in the winnings. Then they are all pulling together to make it happen.

8.  Treat them like business people.  Share valuable information like gross profit and sales trends.  If they cannot be trusted with this information then they should not work for you.  Give them account information like year- to- date sales and sales comparisons.

9. Know what motivates them other than money and help them get there.  It can be family, new toys, time off, notoriety (being known), position in the company, learning, security, or having their back.

10. Make sure they know the critical steps in the sales process like: * Advancing the sale * Learning to ask the right questions * Preparing successful presentations * Negotiating a winning agreement *

11.   Listen and probe with questions.  Your salespeople are Your customers.  Learn to listen effectively to your sales force and hear what is truly demotivating them.

Tune in next blog to discover tools for effective listening.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Antonio Fernandez permalink
    February 15, 2013 6:01 pm

    Very good stuff in this blog Allan.

  2. March 15, 2013 6:18 pm

    This is a really great post. There are a lot of great tips to help motivate employees. Thanks for sharing.

  3. March 16, 2013 5:39 pm

    Thanks Antonio and Janell. I appreciate your comments, and especially your compliments. Never to old to get one.

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