5 Best Practices to Motivate Your Sales Team to Achieve Goals

BY Austin Richards
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To succeed as sales professionals, your team members need more from you than a few leads and some basic training. Even your high-​producing reps require encouragement, recognition and rewards because sales magic doesn’t happen all by itself. As a sales manager your job is challenging, and you may already have ideas about how to motivate your sales team. But here are a few ideas you may want to revisit.

5 Best Practices to Motivate Your Sales Team to Achieve Goals 

Acknowledge the Challenging Environment

Your reps have probably told you that the average deal is taking longer to close. They’re exactly right. Research from the Rain Group shows that 43% of sellers have experienced longer sales cycles this year. And there’s more competition than before, with 44% of sales organizations reporting more lost deals. When you acknowledge the reality that your reps are facing, they may not feel as stressed. But you should go a step further and provide them with the sales team structure, co-​workers, tools, and training to overcome some of the challenges they’re facing.

Sales professionals face rejection on a regular basis. It helps to have teammates who understand what rejection feels like and who have suggestions on how to bounce back. These discussions can be particularly effective during casual conversations. But they can also improve team motivation when they take place during the weekly sales meetings. As manager, you should work to keep these meetings focused on the future and positive.

Build an Effective Team

Sales managers should consider the types of reps they are hiring when they are building a sales team. When hiring, the concept of fit is key. Using psychometric assessments, you will know if a candidate is likely to be a good fit with your work style. In addition, you’ll want to hire a person who fits well with the company and the team. Every team should have a person who pays attention to detail. However, hiring too many people with that tendency could slow down progress, especially when you’re focused on meeting goals.

Personalize Skill Development

Your sales reps may be working as a team, but every individual possesses strengths and weaknesses. To optimize team motivation, you must also motivate individual reps. Often, you can accomplish that goal by appealing to what drives them. Some reps will strive to earn a big bonus. Managers can motivate some teams by offering more time off. To obtain what they want, they’ll be eager to work on the skills they need – whether it’s prospecting or presenting.

Goal Setting and Accountability

Managers who meet regularly with team members should discuss individual goals in the context of what they hope to achieve personally and how they expect to support the team. This strategy emphasizes the manager’s support of the individual employee along with the team. 

How do you motivate a team this way?

For example, a customer service agent may establish the goal of moving into a sales engineer position within a year. In meeting this goal, you may encourage them to become more familiar with the technical specifications of your product or service. You may set up joint work sessions between the support agent and the sales engineer as a way to help them learn.

As part of your quarterly sales team management, review how the employee is feeling about the increased responsibilities they’re taking on. Ask them to document both the successful and less successful interactions they’ve had with clients. 

Use those instances to help them improve work habits. Research shows that top sellers excel at managing their time. Specifically, they take on tasks that result in high sales. If you can coach less experienced individuals to work effectively, the sales team's motivation will improve. 

Show Gratitude

Organizations maintain high expectations when it comes to their sales professionals. Even if your team is delivering at a fantastic level, you shouldn’t take that for granted. All sales teams to be acknowledged and appreciated. Some sales organizations have reputations for throwing big parties when they reach their goals for the year. Not every sales team member will be a fan of attending these events. The results of psychometric assessments will let you know who will be motivated by the idea of eventually becoming a manager. Showing gratitude by offering coveted coaching or training will also be a motivating factor.

Motivating your sales team to achieve goals is an ongoing process. Don’t fall into the habit of using specific tactics because they’ve worked in the past. Consider the team you have now and the team you want to have one year from now and begin implementing change.

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