The concept of having to inject some energy into a flagging salesperson can give even the very best sales manager a major morning headache. Salespeople are often an emotional bunch, riding the highs and lows much more keenly than any team in your company.
That’s because sales, unlike almost any other, is primarily a results-driven job. While there are many steps between prospecting for clients and winning deals – the managers, the executives and the company ultimately only care about one metric – “What have you done for me lately?”
Below are three concrete steps for you to follow to motivate your sales team during good times and bad:
1. Lead by example: Don’t be afraid to get in there and help move some deals along the pipeline. Often, all a salesperson needs is a fresh look at an existing deal – whether it be the phone log, the email conversations or just the proposal. From time to time, though, it makes sense to join some of the calls or meetings and lead by example – listen to the clients, test your latest pitch, overcome objections and confidently help to win the deal.
Use this as an opportunity for a teachable moment: discuss the meeting afterward and treat it as a case study. Did you run into any objections that you could help them overcome with some material or some more training? Was there anything that you can take back to your marketing or product teams to help improve the sales process?
2. Be a mensch: As the leader of your sales team, you are responsible for the aggregate numbers on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis, but you’re also a mentor to your team. It’s critical to understand what truly makes your people tick. Many salespeople are in it for the rush of closing a good deal, or the commission they can earn. All they need is to truly believe that the product you’re selling will make a difference to their customer.
If your sales team doesn’t believe in the product or the positioning, they’re going to under-perform, and will eventually wear down mentally. Sit them down and put on one of your other hats – that of the other stakeholders in the company – and answer honestly the questions your sales team has about your product. Talk about client case studies and references. Show them success stories. If you can’t answer a question, do what you can to find it and bring it back to the team.
Being a mensch is even more pronounced in early stage companies, or new products within larger companies, where sales teams need dedicated face-time with product management in order to gain a better understanding of the product roadmap and talk through any existing sales obstacles that stem from product features or lack thereof. This empowers your salespeople to genuinely communicate product strengths and not simply regurgitate marketing messages.
3. Create a team: Often, members of a sales team are seen as individual contributors – the “road warrior” or the “sandbagger,” whose day-to-day activities and motivations are personal and somehow separate from the rest of the company. But sales needs to be just as cohesive of a team as others within the company. After all, it’s sharing an experience that is unique within your company that forms a true team.
Your salespeople share one purpose, to fuel the engine that moves the company forward. Be transparent in sales meetings by reviewing company and individual targets or even doing high-level deal reviews for each team member. Encourage collaboration and expect individuals to share best practices, clever tactics that are working, and new learnings. Aggressively reward success by rewarding the individual and the team.
And finally, make sure your team is having fun. Remember that the best salespeople can get a job anywhere; what’s going to make them want to go to bat for your product day in and day out?
Looking for a motivating sales role? VENTUREAPP is hiring.