How to bring out the best in your sales team

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Any good sales manager knows how crucial a strong, successful sales team is to the overall business. A good team will not only boost revenue through sales leads and conversions, but can also contribute to customer retention, business growth and overall team morale. But how do you know whether your sales team is functioning as well as it can?

We’ve broken down our top tips on encouraging and nurturing your sales people to be the best they can be. Follow our guidance to help boost your sales team to sales stars.

Motivate and reward strong performance

It can be easy to think that sales people are only motivated by financial rewards, and while it’s true that money can be a key driver for many sales people, many studies and experts show that motivation in sales goes far beyond the financial factor. Psychologist Daniel Goleman puts it best when he says, “High performing workers are motivated by more than money”. Indeed, one 2015 study of working British people found that sales people are among the professionals most focused on career progression and international career opportunities.

With that in mind, ongoing training and development opportunities for salespeople are integral to ensuring they’re motivated to perform their best. Make sure they feel they have potential to progress and take on more responsibility to help encourage them to continue striving for sales success. According to a Hoffeld Group report, the most productive people in an organisation are those who are “intrinsically motivated to strive for success”.  And our own research has found that the lack of career progression is the number one reason why sales people leave – so providing people with the incentive to progress within your company can be the best motivator or all.

That being said, anyone who’s ever worked in sales will tell you that bonuses and commission are a huge motivator in producing their best work, along with a competitive baseline salary. What you can offer a sales person financially will always be important, so make sure that your package is in line with your competitors’.

Create internal competition

Sales people are competitive by nature. For you as a sales manager, that’s a good thing – you want a team that is genuinely invested in the performance of themselves and the business as a whole. Research released by the Harvard Business Review in 2015 found that 84% of top performers score highly in achievement orientation measures and are fixated on measuring their performance and achieving goals.

Take advantage of this inherent competitiveness by using short- and long-term incentives as motivators. Set individual goals for team members as well as team sales targets, with monthly, quarterly and annual revenue figures clearly outlined and displayed for your team to follow. Individual and team KPIs can be focused around new leads, deals closed and meetings scheduled, encouraging both individual brilliance and a positive team culture.

Other techniques could include rewarding team members who get through to certain clients or receive responses from mail shots. For sales people who like a work-hard, play-hard lifestyle, holidays can be a great motivator to achieve high sales targets. Most importantly, make sure all sales staff are well aware of every target, goal and incentive – team meetings can be an excellent way to remind them of what’s on offer and help boost engagement.

Coach your team effectively

Even the best and most autonomous sales people need effective coaching. It’s important to maintain an ongoing schedule of coaching and development after the initial training period, as sales people are four times more productive when they receive ongoing sales coaching and reinforcement alongside their initial training. This productivity will ultimately impact your business’s bottom line, so it makes sense to make coaching a priority.

Hold regular sessions with your team as a group and on a 1:1 basis to ensure you are focusing on both the overall dynamic of your group and the individual excellence of each sales person. Different people are motivated in different ways, so take the time to establish what makes your team tick and plan your coaching sessions accordingly. This could also include sitting in on client meetings, listening to calls and doing role plays.

Recognise all achievements

Showing your team recognition has been proven to improve their job satisfaction, which in turn can enhance their motivation and productivity. While financial recognition is undoubtedly appreciated by all, you should use it sparingly and carefully. Commission and bonuses should be enough to be effective, while the non-financial rewards can be the unexpected cherry-on-top for sales people. Praise people for jobs well done and do so out loud, such as in your sales meetings or via a monthly award session. Sales people typically love to be recognised in front of their peers and can also appreciate peer-to-peer recognition, so you could consider establishing an internal praise policy.

Get out there and do it!

A motivated, engaged and productive sales team will do wonders for your organisation’s overall success. Put the wheels in motion and get going on the above steps today to nurture sales stars of tomorrow.

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