How to Motivate and Recognise Your Sales Team

 

 

Assembling a high-performing sales team is challenging enough, but that’s just the start of any focused sales effort. With quality salespeople in place, the next task is determining how best to motivate and recognise the hard work they do on your company’s behalf.

Sadly, this often gets overlooked. Businesses frantically working to qualify sales leads and outmanoeuvre their competition sometimes neglect the basic need to inspire people and reward them for their achievements.

If your sales team’s performance has been lacklustre or you sense that morale is slipping, keep these tips in mind:

Make sure salespeople trust their manager. The success of your sales efforts depends on the quality of the relationship between the sales manager and his or her team. Trust is essential. The key to trust, says marketing veteran Sujan Patel, is to “be as direct and straightforward as possible” with your team, addressing issues rather than avoiding them and staying focused on “having a helping mindset.”

Set clear, achievable and “breakthrough goals.” Every salesperson must achieve a goal. It’s how success is defined within any organization. Reaching a certain quota is an obvious goal, but the degree of motivation this instils may differ from one person to the next. Take some time to ascertain what specific goals—both professional and personal—might be the most inspiring for each team member.

At the same time, consider setting what Training Industry calls a “breakthrough goal.” This represents “a level of performance beyond anything that your team has reached before, and should by all accounts be just a bit beyond your combined capabilities.” Like aiming to put the first man on the moon, initial attempts may prove unsuccessful, but “seeing just how much more the team is capable of should go a long way toward inspiring everyone.”

 

Build a company culture of recognition. Generally speaking, salespeople are just as motivated by reward and recognition as any other employee. Of course, monetary rewards are important, but they’re not the only way to acknowledge an individual who works hard and succeeds at what he or she does.

Look for opportunities to honour both the individual and team when they meet or exceed monthly or quarterly sales quotas. Sponsor a brief “honours ceremony” and reward these individuals with bonuses or other perks. Post online articles and videos about the sales team, showing them working collaboratively and celebrating their triumphs. Help everyone within your company understand the importance of supporting and recognizing sales.

Over time, these practices will become an integral part of your business culture. It won’t be necessary to “re-invent the wheel” when it comes to reward and recognition. Everyone will understand the ways in which your business demonstrates its appreciation for their sales efforts.

Offer greater responsibility. Depending on your business, there may be opportunities to recognize individual performance by offering positions (or projects) that require greater responsibility. You may have a salesperson who, in addition to achieving significant goals, has demonstrated newfound leadership skills. Training this person to become a manager (if that aligns with his or her personal ambitions) might prove deeply motivational in terms of both personal and professional growth.

In general, the strongest motivator is demonstrating your confidence in the team. Avoid micromanagement. Let salespeople know that, while mistakes may happen and “surefire deals” don’t always close, you’re not interested in casting blame. Instead, “emphasise the value of learning from the experience and doing better the next time.”

This may be the most inspiring message you can deliver to your team.

Want to learn more about the technology and communications? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!

 

 

How to Lead and Inspire Older Employees

FAN2038498It wasn’t always the case, but these days many business owners and CEOs are younger than the workforce they lead and manage. A “one-size-fits-all” leadership style is therefore likely to result in a troubled workplace environment since it fails to consider key differences in dealing with employees of the Baby Boomer generation or even with Gen-Xers.

But if you’re a young leader who truly wishes to lead and inspire your team, here are tips for bridging the generational gap and bringing out the best in your employees.

Acknowledge that differences exist.

There’s nothing to be gained by pretending a person in her twenties has the same outlook and skillset as another person in her forties or fifties. Start by recognising differences in perspectives so you can work toward coalescing different-aged employees into a cohesive team.

Don’t make assumptions.

Do you ever look at an older employee and automatically assume they’re “too old to change” or “can’t keep up with the times”? That’s prejudicial thinking and works against any leader hoping to motivate their workforce. Instead, consider the wealth of experience an older employee has and focus on his or her ability and willingness to learn new things.

Provide context for planned changes.

Yes, some older workers may resist a new company-wide initiative, if only because they’re wary of change in general. Often, this resistance stems from a lack of understanding about the “why” behind the new approach. Offering context helps answer questions and generates a fresh way of looking at a change that many older employees will embrace.

Take a flexible approach to communications.

Texting or email may be your preferred mode of expression, but you’ll have better luck reaching out in person with older staff who like face-to-face communications. Business author and speaker Ray Pelletier urges young CEOs and leaders who want to give feedback to employees to “get up from your desk and walk over to them to give it.” He adds: “The more human contact you give them, the more respect they’ll have for you.”

Don’t present yourself as “knowing it all.”

An older employee will naturally resent any young person, CEO or not, who gives off a know-it-all vibe. (Chances are, no employee of any age will warm to this leadership style.) Counter this impression by being both approachable and coachable. Take advantage of a seasoned employee’s perspective and ask questions aimed at getting beneath the surface of a workplace issue or challenge.

“Having members from different generations means more viewpoints and creativity—which gives your business an advantage—so use it,” says Nicole Laurrari, president of The EGC Group. “You can never over-communicate that everyone’s opinion and ideas count.”

You can build immense reservoirs of goodwill and trust with this approach. Employees will greatly appreciate that you value their hard-earned knowledge and will likely feel more motivated to please you.

Put them in charge of projects.

Laurrari also suggests giving a qualified older employee a leadership role in important projects. This person may not take the same approach as you would, but with their skills and experience, “they can bring viable solutions to the table that others members of the team may not have thought of.”

Invite an older employee to be a mentor.

Depending on the workplace environment, asking an older employee to mentor someone on the team might yield highly beneficial results.

You might also suggest they “present their expertise at lunch-and-learns and team meetings,” says HR professional Kazim Ladimeji. This sends the signal to younger employees that it’s worth their time to “approach more experienced workers for their insights and knowledge.”

Your chief objective as business owner and leader is to mould a team and forge strong connections between yourself and your employees. An open-minded, inclusive and sharing leadership style—aimed at everyone in the company, but especially older, wary employees—will pay off with a workforce that understands “we’re all in this together,” regardless of differences in age, perspective and experience.

 

Involve Your Team in Setting Goals

Regular team meetings with employees are needed to ensure that everyone is on the same page and to involve them with setting company goals. Here is a suggested agenda to go through during the meeting to help employees see the big picture and feel empowered to achieve the desired goals.

1.  Use Tabenos to develop a Charter for your team’s meetings (This is  a charter of behaviour that all TAB members abide with at TAB meetings)

2.  Make a list of Top 10 reasons Why customers use your product/service

3.  Make a list of Top 10 reasons why the company is a good place to work

4.  Identify competitors and your company’s SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).

5.  Breakdown €1 in revenue decreasing by expenses to get down to profit for each €1 of sales.

6.  Revisit your company’s mission, vision and values

7.  Ask employees “What would you do if you were CEO for a day?”

8.  Develop an Action Plan to determine Who will do What by When.

9. Set some goals where you will celebrate their achievement.

 

 

How to Have Tough Conversations

I have found the following three approaches to help minimise potential anger and defensiveness when I am about to have a difficult conversation. First, focus on yourself and what you can do better. You can even ask the other person, “Please share what am I doing to make you feel or act that way.”

Second, focus on feelings instead of actions and blame. Use phrases such as “I feel this way” as opposed to “You did that!”

Third, ask “What do you need from me to make this work better?

 

How to Treat Recruiting Like a Sales Process

recruiting, human resources, finding top talent, recruiting when people are scarce

In the fevered competition to recruit and hire “A-player” job candidates, many recruiters and HR departments are turning to a different model to get the job done. Imposing the structure of a sales process offers a new way to look at recruitment in general, and how to better position their own companies in particular. This approach might well be the answer to your own recruiting challenges.

Here’s a look at how taking a sales approach to hiring can work for your business:

Adapt elements of sales to recruiting. Your sales team follows a rigorous process of cultivating, nurturing and converting sales leads. With a little imagination, your in-house recruiter can adapt many of these same elements for the hiring process. HR thought leader Kim Shepherd advises following these “sales-like” steps:

  • Define the value proposition of your company for job candidates.
  • Reconfigure that value proposition into an appealing message.
  • Disseminate that message to targeted prospects via job boards, social media, etc.
  • Qualify and manage “candidate leads” as they come in.
  • Pursue the most promising candidates and close the deal.

Look at your applicant tracking system as “more than storage for archiving resumes,” Shepherd writes. Use it to “build and manage a pipeline, including measuring leads, tracking conversion rates and even creating the recruitment version of a sales forecast.” In this way, you develop clear-cut metrics, including job candidate targets and deliverables.

Act like a high-performing salesperson. The best members of your sales team diligently stay on top of everything happening in the industry—reading blog posts and articles, reviewing trade publications, looking closely at potential clients’ websites and so on.

They also maintain an active presence on social media, passing along helpful links, connecting with influencers and sharing news about your company without openly engaging in a “sales pitch” to job candidates. “Don’t fall into the trap of tweeting sales jobs! Jobs! and more Jobs!” warns Live and Learn Consultancy LTD. “It’s not authentic and guess what, no one listens.”

Become a pro at selling your company. Here’s an area where many businesses can improve their odds of “bagging” the candidates they truly want. Look at the situation from the job-seeker’s perspective and develop compelling answers to these questions:

  • Why should I want to work for your company?
  • What does your company offer that I can’t find at one of your competitors?
  • What growth opportunities do you offer?
  • How do you foresee the company growing in the near future in ways that benefit me and other potential employees?

These are variations on the types of questions prospective clients ask of any company seeking their business. You’ll see greater interest among job applicants if you answer these questions in an authentic and inspiring manner.

Show off your culture. Just as a salesperson might give a potential client a tour of your business—in order to demonstrate how the culture is geared towards serving customers’ needs—so a recruiter should be prepared to show off your culture to achieve similar results.

Of course, candidates will get a taste of your workplace environment when they show up for an interview, so it’s imperative that they leave with a favourable first impression. Put together a “package tour” so candidates meet your best, most outgoing employees, get the chance to see your technology at work and get a feel for what’s going on. In many ways, this experience might be the “close” to your sales approach.

Finally, even if things don’t work out, be sure to end the budding relationship on a positive note. No one wants a disgruntled job applicant tweeting and posting unfavourable comments about your company based on a bad interview or recruiting experience. You never know when a candidate who wasn’t the right fit might (because he or she remembers how pleasant and approachable your recruiters were) refer a friend or colleague who turns out to be precisely the A-player employee you’re looking for.