First, let’s be 100% clear: The fundamental and most important character trait for a top-performing sales rep is motivation. Everything starts from there. Reps have to face hurdle after hurdle, objection after objection, “no” after “no”, with a smile on their face and a deep-rooted desire to overcome and win, no matter the odds or obstacles. They have to be persistent, tenacious, and relentless in the pursuit of their goals; it all starts with motivation.
While you should hire sales reps that are self-motivated, that doesn’t mean organizations can sit this one out. Keeping reps happy, focused, and motivated is a constant endeavor, one that is essential to retain top talent and achieve your quarterly numbers. But how do you do that? Here are five tips that will work in any sales organization:
1. Transparent Payouts
There is a saying in sales: “Sales is a game and money is how you keep score.” Reps are motivated by money not just for buying stuff but it also feeds directly into their competitive nature. So paying out accurate commissions should be your number 1 priority. Companies that pay out incorrect commissions incur huge hidden costs as reps spend countless unproductive hours shadow accounting and raising disputes, all the while getting demotivated. If your finance team still uses spreadsheets to manually calculate commissions, pulling all-nighters every quarter end, it’s probably a good time to consider sales commission software that automatically calculates payments accurately and can run models based on historical and/or projected data. Transparency in payouts can significantly lift productivity, build trust, and motivate!
2. Internal Recognition
When morale is down, companies tend to throw money at the problem but try internal recognition instead; it doesn’t cost a dime and an Aberdeen report (titled Sales Effectiveness 2013: The Rise of #Gamification) points to it being the top non-financial motivator. Pat sales reps on their backs and publicly acknowledge their success at team meetings. Ask reps who closed a deal in a new vertical or capitalize on a great upsell opportunity to train their peers at the next boot camp. Showcase top performers to leadership giving them visibility and recognition within the company.
Gamification taps into the natural competitive streak in reps and is bound to deliver positive results as reps strive to climb to the top of the leader board. Give points not just for customer wins but also for sales activity --getting a new lead or face-to-face meetings with senior executives-- giving reps a fair chance at climbing to the top of the leader board. Companies do better on their quotas with gamification: with it 85% of reps attain quota and 51% of new hires achieve their numbers in their first year. In the absence of gamification, only 78% of reps make quota and only 42% of new hires meet their numbers, says the above cited Aberdeen report.
4. Train Through Managers
Sometimes the best way to motivate your team is to eliminate all the ways you demotivate them. Bad managers can be a terrible demotivator. Find out what your sales managers are doing. Sales managers often tend to chase reps on their targets, repeatedly asking the question, “When will this (deal) close?”. Instead, encourage them to accompany reps on customer calls and meetings, offering their value and insight gained from years of experience. Also, remind them that their primary role should be to offer structured coaching and training, identify gaps, and build competencies.
5. Give Them Tools
Apart from bad managers other demotivators include: lack of leads, scattered difficult-to-find sales content, and complex time-consuming pricing processes, all of which can be eliminated with the right tools and technologies. Feed your reps with quality leads using a powerful marketing automation platform that can transform anonymous corporate visitors into identified prospects. Reps shouldn’t have to run pillar to post to find a case study or a white paper; have a centralized repository and playbooks for all sales enablement content. Why should preparing a quote take hours and days when Configure Price Quote (CPQ) allows reps to whip up quotes in minutes from their iPhone? So how do you motivate your sales reps? With a good manager, leads, sales enablement, and CPQ every rep will be motivated and selling.