learn how to motivate a sales team in a tough market

As a motivational sales speaker, clients are constantly asking me how they should motivate their sales team in this tough market. Often, they will say how their industry is different and requires a unique solution, yet most motivation challenges are similar across industries. These are difficult times for many companies, yet the top companies thrive with motivated sales people for three simple reasons:

  • They hire A-players
  • They hold their people accountable to prospecting activities
  • They pay handsomely for success

Hire A-Players: Most companies have a haphazard sales team hiring process that usually involves going by how candidates ‘fit’ within the company culture. This inevitably leads to hiring the wrong people. When I am brought into a company as a sales trainer in Boston, I immediately help companies develop an objective hiring process, that removes all feelings and gut instinct. Rather the focus must be on objective sales potential. Also, many companies only hire when they really ‘need’ more people. A-players don’t come along every day, so it is critical to always be on the hunt for top talent. Remember, great sales people pay for themselves many times over, so cost should not be a consideration of when to hire.

Hold People Accountable to Prospecting Activities: Many organizations hold sales meetings at the end of the month/quarter and look at one metric–actual sales versus targeted sales. If a sales person has hit her number, then there is no problem. If, however, she hasn’t, then there is a ‘talk.’ The problem with this strategy is that it is reactionary rather than proactive. The best teams focus on a sales person’s prospecting activities–calls made, introductions asked for, sales meetings held–in conjunction with sales results in order to help their sales people thrive.

Pay Handsomely for Success: When companies hire me as a motivational sales speaker, we go through how they compensate their sales team. So often, they offer large base salaries with small bonuses/commission. They say that they “have to do this in order to be competitive.” That is simply not true. The practice of offering big cushy base salaries and little upside for performance, will only attract poor talent that wants to hide behind their big salary. A-players want big potential upside for performance. Period. A reasonable but small base salary that offers huge bonus/commissions for performance will attract and motivate the most successful sales people.

By combining all three components into your organization will allow you to not just motivate, but also attract and keep those A-players.

Written by Marc Wayshak, sales strategist and author of the book, Game Plan Selling. He is also a motivational sales speaker and sales trainer in Boston, MA.

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