Every sales person has something different that makes them tick. Some get a rush out of finding new clients, while others think that building an existing base into bigger and bigger sales is the way to go. Some are internally motivated, while others need to be driven and want structure. In order to maximize the success of your sales team, you need to be aware and understanding of each sales persons driving motivation and also their weaknesses. To do so you must observe each person and listen to them when they speak. This will allow you to see when and where are they their best as well as their worst. While it may seem tedious to keep track of an entire team of sales people like this, it will pay off and it will allow you to build closer and more trusting relationships with your sales people. Caring for each person is even more rewarding then it may seem, as you may even be able to help your team in other aspects of their life through guidance in the workplace. All that is needed is a bit of observation and understanding.
A sales team is like a sports team in many regards, they have a common goal to win – or to make the most sales – but yet every player – or sales person – also wants to be the best at what they do. As a manager, you are the coach who is responsible for ensuring that each person has the tools needed to do their best. Be very careful of this leading to favouritism, but also be aware some individuals may need more or different motivation than others.
Knowing your sales people can help you devise methods of motivating them all at once, thus minimizing the work for you with out losing connection to the team. No matter most peoples personality types, healthy competition is an excellent motivation factor. Not competition so cut-throat that your sales people are in fear of losing their jobs – although admittedly this can work quite effectively with very specific sales people- but competition that is healthy in nature such that the overall goal is to get better sales, not bring down competing sales people. To achieve this kind of competition in your sales team you will need to foster a culture of dedicated sales people working independently but towards a shared goal.
The benefits of achieving healthy competition in your sales team will not only increase productivity and sales, but also help to prevent disputes and conflicts as team members are more driven to work together or at the very least to help each other out rather than bring each other down.
One way to foster this, is to create a team goal with individual rewards. For example the sales team’s goal is to achieve x amount of sales by the end of the month and if this amount is achieved by more or less equal distribution from each sales person, then the whole team gets a reward. To ensure that sales people are still individually motivated, the manager can provide an additional reward for other, perhaps non-financial, accomplishments such as to the sales person who found the most leads in the month. This can be customized per month to the needs of the business. Through having a shared goal, the sales people will not feel the need to push each other down creating an environment of healthier competition. A shared goal will also motivate those sales people who are more skilled or who are putting in more effort to encourage those who are not.
In addition, to foster healthy competition, you will also need to ensure that even those who are not likely to win the most sales do feel as though they are accomplishing something and not just continually losing, which can be very demotivating. This is where knowing your team can come in quite handy. If you understand what makes each person put in their maximal effort, then you can find ways to reward those specific things and help them contribute to the teams overall goals.
To ensure that the competition you have in your team is healthy, consider meeting with individuals privately and hearing their opinions on the matter. It is important as a manager for your team to feel that you hear them and are willing to work to make the best conditions for them. This in itself can also motivate sales people, as people are more likely to put in more effort for someone they know has their best interests in mind.
There are lots of ideas for fun yet instructive and productive sales competitions. This graphic below offers some good tips and places to start.
Graphic via Salesforce