Article Summary:As a sales manager you contribute to your team's success by keeping sales staff happy and motivated. Use these techniques to improve.
Your sales team's success depends largely on your motivational techniques and how you keep them going. You need to nurture and reinforce the positives in their lives, both professionally and personally. All successes – personal and professional – are intertwined. Someone who's having personal problems won't be motivated to push for sales, or worse yet, will come off as desperate.
So it's in your best interest to keep your sales team happy and motivated. Let's look to some techniques.
The most common techniques are built around effective communications. Even the simple things like reinforcing a list of accomplishments done at the end of the day can build up morale and keep people motivated. More morale builders are built on repetition – remind them of the things you believe in in your teammates, focus on the positive goals.
Observation is an important part of this process. You should be aware of your team members accomplishments and successes – you should know about them without being told, and if you want to win the "boss of the year" award, make sure that you mention successes early, regularly and often. People will work harder for a pat on the back and an earned "good job" than they will to avoid a chewing out.
Likewise, sales is a job about taking calculated risks. Make sure that you reward the risk takers when they succeed, and remind the risk takers who fail that all they've really done is learned something. In the words of Warren Buffett, after seeing a manager inadvertently lose two billion dollars in assets over a quarter, "I just paid two billion for him to learn a lesson. Following the after-action report, it was apparent that he had learned something, and that I might as well be the one who benefits from it – I paid for the experience, after all."
Remind them that you appreciate your teammates as people, not just as cogs in the machine. Nothing is as corrosive to morale as the belief among sales team personnel that they are interchangeable cogs in a machine, or cubical rats that can be fired and replaced on a moment's whim.
Your sales agents start with an inborn personality that helps them with this – while it can be trained up, it can't be instilled in people who don't have it. Even so, it's in your best interest to nurture your sales team with training and educational offerings. Make them feel part of the team, and make sure they know you're investing in their personal growth and professional growth.
David Steel is one of the nation's leading experts on the topic of Sales Motivation. He's a popular and widely recognized author and motivational speaker who works with businesses and individuals as a sales management consultant, offering insights into hiring, compensation, goals and strategies, and teaching the use of sales management skills to build and maintain highly aggressive sales teams. You can learn more about David Steel at his website, The Steel Method.