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Motivating your sales team


Looking for ways to motivate a sales team? From dashboards to gamification, this post explains how a smart mix of information, collaboration, and technology can help inspire better results.


Of all the things you might do as a business manager and/or owner, motivating a sales team to chase and close opportunities has got to be among the toughest. It takes a lot more than the promise of steak knives and a commission to make a modern sales team effective. So, let’s look at the big picture with 10 things you need to keep your sales team stoked.


10 ways to motivate sales

1. Good leads!

2. Fairness

3. Leadership

4. Training

5. Bragging rights

6. Onboarding

7. Sales coaching

8. Sales tools

9. Autonomy

10. Technology

1. Good leads!

First of all, your sales people need good leads to work. So, what’s the secret to generating lots of high-quality leads? In my experience, there are no real shortcuts. Therefore, you probably need to make an ongoing investment in high-quality original marketing and PR to create quality leads. That means:

  • A modern, robust, mobile-friendly website, complete with a contact form

  • Company pages at the appropriate social networks, like LinkedIn or Twitter

  • Original content, like blog posts or photos, that you can create and share

  • Search and/or display online advertising at popular engines like Bing

  • Lead generation through “gated” published content, like ebooks and webinars

  • Marketing your products/services at trade shows and other events

  • Sending out organization announcements in the media and blogs

2. Fairness

Sales people want to work within a system that’s honest, transparent and, above all, fair. Sensitive to stereotypes about them, these professionals look for respect and integrity at work. Once you define your compensation program, they expect you to stick to it—not change it. Because of that sensitivity, think through your comp plan carefully. Make sure you’re comfortable with the numbers.


3. Leadership

Teams need strong leadership, so consider investing in a strategic resource—like a sales director or VP of sales. A great sales leader will know how to bring out the best in your team and can implement management best practices. Look for someone with natural charisma, a record of meaningful accomplishments, and the emotional IQ to inspire results.


4. Training

No matter how experienced, talented, or bright the sales person, make formal product and/or service training mandatory. Don’t just focus your training on product features or service policies, either. Tell them all about your brand, your vision, and, above all, your customers. The more a salesperson knows about their prospects’ needs and wants, the better they can sell.

You don’t have to train in a classroom to do it well. Try video conferencing, elearning, and similar training technologies.

5. Bragging rights

Since most sales people (like most professionals) love recognition for their achievements, recognize them! From good old-fashioned sales competitions with public leader boards to sales gamification systems and tools, look for ways to give shout-outs and kudos. At the bare minimum, send out internal emails that recognize individual and team accomplishments.


6. Onboarding

Hiring new people? Even in competitive sales environments, a new person should feel welcome and empowered to sell. Ideally, you can give them a tour of your space, make intros, assign them a desk, schedule training, brief them on security, and network their devices—all on the first day. Some companies even prepare little welcome kits, complete with business cards.


7. Sales coaching

Because we put so much emphasis on compensation, professional development as a motivator can easily go overlooked. Look again. If you see a sales person with potential, offer them coaching—either as a training function or an incentive for hitting goals. Even veterans can benefit from one-on-one coaching with training specialists.


8. Sales tools

Sales teams love tools that they can use to help engage prospects. These tools include: discovery questions, scripts, PowerPoint presentations, case studies, reviews/testimonials, budget worksheets, contracts, promotional offers, and reward and recognition programs.

Engagement tools like PointDrive can help sales teams pack, share, and track customer content in a quick, professional, and appealing way. They can replace clumsy emails with a personalized content experience for customers that looks great on any device (phone, tablet, or desktop).

If you’re not sure where to start, you can ask your sales team about tools they have succeeded with in the past.

9. Autonomy

Speaking of what they want, more autonomy may appeal to senior sales people. They might want the independence to run their own office, open a new line of business, or perhaps come on board as a managing partner. In the years ahead, baby boomer small business owners (almost half of all Canadian small businesses) struggling with succession planning might want to consider passing their businesses on to a top performer.


10. Technology

A whole new generation of cloud-based solutions can transform how your sales team engages, sells, and closes deals. Instead of getting another SaaS subscription for your team, look into a broader digital suite of services from a single cloud provider. You can unlock better analytics and save money that way.

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