Are You Unintentionally Killing Your Sales Team’s Motivation?

motivate_your_salespeople

How many iconic inspiration posters have you seen? You know, the ones with landscape photography and some quote that’s supposed to change your life.

Sales managers: you are that poster.

Your most critical role is to motivate your sales team. Sure, it can be tough, but if you’re not lifting people up and removing obstacles from the salesperson’s path, you’re not doing your job.

Sales managers exist to manage resources (leads, time, people) in a way that secures the most sales. And motivating your team is one of the most vital ways you can manage your human resources.

But do you have any habits working against you? These 5 motivation killers may be taking your sales team’s drive.

Motivation Killer #1: Poor Timing

Bad things happen. Products defect, recalls are issued, delays happen. Of course you need to keep your sales team in the loop, but time your delivery right.

If you plan a morning sales meeting centered on the bad news, you’ve jeopardized motivation for the entire day. Instead, make morning conversations all about motivation. Start the day with sunshine and rainbows where everyone’s a winner.

Save bad news for the end of the day. If there’s a defect on a product or a tough conversation that needs to happen with a sales rep, wait until the sales day is over to deal with it. There’s no need to sacrifice a whole day of sales for bad news.

Motivation Killer #2: No Leader Board

Let’s say one of your salespeople closes a big deal. But when they come back to the office with their big win, they don’t get much appreciation. Sure, they may get compensated, but you shouldn’t underestimate the value of recognition.

When your salespeople close deals, then high-fives, celebrations, email accolades, conference call shout-outs, and leader board postings give them a sugar fix. And what happens when you get a sugar fix? You want another one. If you want to keep people hustling, you should keep handing out the recognition.

I can always tell top-selling companies based on their leader boards. If there’s no sales board, they aren’t fully recognizing good performances. Likely, their team is lackluster. But a leader board that is updated daily, where everyone can see it, keeps salespeople talking about the wins and motivated to climb the chart.

Related: 61 of the Best Sales Quotes To Keep You Motivated

Motivation Killer #3: Negative Influence

We’ve all met Negative Nancy or Negative Ned — that person who’s always bringing down the mood. When they get a lead, they immediately write it off saying, “They never buy anything,” or “This won’t ever close.” That kind of language asks for negative results. As these people spout off their negativity, it will probably lead to a more negative culture overall. These are the same types of people who underperform, mess something up, and then blame it on someone else.

You want the opposite type of person working for you. You want people who admit their mistakes and learn from them. Those people make comments like, “Whoa. I really messed up that sale. I answered his objection wrong, and I think it cost me the deal. I know better for next time.” And when people admit mistakes to the group, others learn from it too. Working in a collaborative environment results in high productivity. Sales teams in non-collaborative environments will never reach their potential.

Motivation Killer #4: Giant Lunch

What you eat is what you produce. Sure, it’s fun to go out for good food and good company. But plan accordingly. If you want your team to be productive afterwards, then choose wisely. Carb-filled, greasy, heavy food ruins the rest of the afternoon. If you want to splurge on this type of meal, save it for the right time — maybe a Friday afternoon when you don’t intend for them to make many calls after the meal. Otherwise, opt for healthy food that won’t weigh down your team.

Motivation Killer #5: Unobtainable Sales Goals

Every salesperson needs a baseline for sales numbers. If you’re new to an industry, set your goals wisely. Managers of smaller sales teams might pick one of their sales reps and ask others to replicate their performance. But how does that sales rep compare to the norm?

Maybe they’re a terrible salesperson but you have no one to compare them to. If so, you’ve created a false ceiling for someone new.

Or maybe they’re in the top 1% and the goal isn’t realistic for the average salesperson. Once someone realizes they can’t possibly meet the goal, their motivation goes out the window.

Instead, incentivize activity. If you don’t have real sales statistics to work with, then focus on the quality of calls and activities. Instead of incentivizing them on closes, incentivize them on the number of appointments made, and then deal with closing percentages. Once you discover achievable closing percentages, you can establish realistic sales goals.

If you’re accidentally making one of these mistakes, it’s time to change. After all (to quote one of those motivation posters), “Every accomplishment begins with the decision to try.”

How to Build a World-Class Sales Training Program on a Budget

Most sales training is terrible. It doesn’t relate to the salespeople, and it’s outdated… if the company has any training material at all.

Back in the day, we used flip charts. Our training (like most US companies) went like this:

Introduction: Don’t stray from the script. This sales presentation is fail proof. Build some rapport, make sure the key decision maker is present, then use this flip chart.

Page 1: Our company was founded in…

Page 2: We are 20 million in sales!

Page 3: (More company history…)

Sure, company background builds credibility, but it’s no longer an effective tool. Why? You’re only talking about yourself. Today, making a sale means relating to clients — building a relationship so they can see how your product meets their needs.

Closing sales requires out-of-the-box thinking. That means it’s time for new sales training ideas to go with the new approaches it takes to sell.

Film REAL Salespeople Talking About REAL Opportunities

Interview your number-one salesperson via video. Then use their insight to teach others. Ask about recent opportunities and success so everyone learns how they’ve earned their spot as the top seller.

Then replicate this each time another sales person climbs to the top. Not only does it build your library, it also builds competition.

Stage Selling Opportunities

Want to pitch to a real client and end up with great sales training material? Hire prospects to play the part of a potential buyer.

Call a key prospect in your marketplace and say, “We’re creating training material for our reps and need to film a sales presentation. I know you’re with XYZ firm and aren’t interested in switching, but I’d like to offer you a $250 gift card if you’d be our client for the mock presentation.”

Sure, this technique may cost you a little, but think about the value of pitching to that prospect. In this scenario, you get a sales opportunity and training material. Even if you don’t need more sales training techniques, it’s a creative way to make a pitch.

Role Play

If you can’t find actual prospects to participate, hire actors or use salespeople for video role play. This works best stranger to stranger, so make sure you don’t use co-workers who know each other.

Provide the “client” with a persona. Give them a name, business details, and pain points.

Then choose a salesperson to make the presentation without knowing the client’s pain points, just like a real sales scenario.

Film their interaction and point out objections, pain points, and strategies for overcoming obstacles during a training.

Sales Program Essentials

You need more than one filmed scenario to fully train your salespeople. So, as you build your material, make sure to include these essentials.

Objections

Every organization has about 8-10 objections. Make sure your salespeople know how to handle each one. How? Ask your top 10-20 sales reps what objections they hear and how they respond to them. Then, either film these interviews or point out the objections in role play clips.

Video

Is video really necessary? Yes! It builds your library and allows people to study the details. I can train and role-play one on one, but a video is much more effective. It lets people study body language and facial expressions — repeatedly.

If you’re on a budget, use Google Hangouts to make the recording simple. All you need is a webcam.

Alternatively, you can make the video on your phone. No need to go hi-tech. Just record on your phone or in Google Hangouts, then put the footage to work.

Create for 2 Hours/Week

Sales managers, if you want to know how to develop a training program for your new hires too, start collecting these videos. It doesn’t have to take up much time. If you set aside two or three hours a week to build sales material, you’ll soon end up with an extensive resource for new hires.

You can use these videos in your hiring process. Require candidates to watch three hours of training material. Then have them “audition” for the sales role. If they don’t put in the work ahead of time, no need to waste your time.

Building a top-notch training program doesn’t require endless funds or time. With this plan, you’ll soon have the training resources you needed to equip your team with skills they’ve been missing!

How to Cut Your Sales Training in Half and Improve Retention

Cut Your Sales Training in Half

When you hire a salesperson, you look for a few basic qualities: confidence, assertiveness, strong communication skills, and so on. The right strengths always help new salespeople, but there’s another piece to the puzzle of success.

If you want new hires to succeed, you can’t just hire the right type of person. You need a person who puts in the right type of activity.

Why Don’t New Salespeople Work Out?

Here’s what often happens when you hire a new outside salesperson:

  1. You train them for a few weeks on products and services.
  2. They put together spreadsheets/activity logs to show what they’re doing.
  3. Six months later, you realize their sales numbers aren’t there.

Our first instinct is to blame the salesperson. Are they not capable of closing deals? Do they understand the product?

But their ability isn’t usually the problem. The issue is their activity level. If they don’t talk to enough prospects, they won’t have the numbers needed to make enough sales.

Salespeople have to make phone calls and meet people face to face regularly. Yet, most salespeople would rather walk into a burning furnace than make a sales call. So they find things to do that keep them busy: making logs, running reports, putting together proposals. And activity suffers.

Salespeople fight this by making tons of cold calls at once. Then they spend weeks following up on those calls by traveling to appointments and making quotes. After they finish, they start from scratch again. That way, they end up in a good quarter/bad quarter cycle.

Instead of leaving salespeople to figure out how many cold calls to make and when, sales managers should set clear expectations and hold them accountable. Work backwards through the data to see how much activity produces the desired number of sales. Then track activity in real time with CallProof. If you see a person isn’t hitting their daily numbers, the sales won’t follow.

When you work through those numbers, you’ll be able to calculate exactly how many phone calls and meetings individual salespeople need weekly, even daily, to achieve their goal. Then you can check if they’re doing that.

Without a real-time CRM, it takes about six months to see a salesperson’s activity. Only then can you determine retention. CallProof cuts that time in half by showing you activity in real time. When you use the tool that lets you inspect what you expect, you’ll see how successful they’ll be within 60 days (including two weeks of training).

The Value of Training Your Salespeople

Training aims to turn sales talent into sales productivity. And that’s done through activity. So focus your salespeople’s training more on interactions than product knowledge. First, help new sales reps understand the importance of activity. Then teach them how to ask prospects questions to find their pain point. That’s what brings success.

Back in the ‘80s, there was an IBM saleswoman who sold record numbers of mainframes. She went out and asked her prospects questions, then brought the information back to the technical people to find solutions. Realizing how astounding her sales numbers were, IBM decided to give her in-depth training on the technicality of their products. After about a year of this intense training, she returned to the field. Her numbers were thoroughly average. Never did she achieve great sales figures again. Why? Once she knew everything, she no longer asked questions.

Many companies emphasize product knowledge in training. But the best training is learning to complete the activities that lead to sales (like making phone calls and meeting face to face). That’s more important than the person knowing what they’re talking about.

How to Cut Sales Training Time in Half

Managers, you don’t have to wait six months to find out if a rep is going to be a good fit. With a solution like CallProof, you can find out in two months or less. First, train them in the science of activity level and give them clear activity goals. Then teach them how to make calls and meet with prospects. Give them just enough product knowledge to solve pain points and offer a great service to your clients.

All the while, keep your finger on the pulse of their activity to see if they’re booking the numbers. If not, you can correct or move on quickly. If they’re doing well, you can encourage them to keep doing what works.

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