06 January 2015

5 Tips On How To Manage Sales People & Motivate Them To Excel

We all know “those people.” The ones on our sales team who would rather spend their workday playing Solitaire and Minesweeper than doing their job. (Although they’ve probably found more up-to-date games by this point.) They are completely unmotivated and have no desire to put forth any more effort than is absolutely necessary. And those people are contagious. They spread their “disease” to other members of the team faster than they’d spread the flu.

As a sales manager, you may be wondering how to manage sales people and prevent behavior like this—after all, it’s your job! You’re sort of like a doctor, in charge of prescribing the right medicine in order to wipe out this unmotivational infection. But how do you do that? Here are five tips that will help you effectively manage and motivate your sales team, and get rid of that “slacker” mentality that may have taken over your office.

Tip #1: Understand your employees’ personalities and tailor your motivators around them.

In order to properly manage your sales team, you first need to understand their unique personalities. Each employee is different and will respond to situations in their own way.

One great way to get to know your individual team members is to have them take a personality test. The results will help you get to know them on a more personal level, and you’ll be able to make better decisions when it comes to motivating them.

For example, using a monetary reward for reaching a certain quota may work for some, while others might prefer to receive a handwritten card and verbal praise. Knowing their preferences will work wonders when you want to inspire them to drive sales.

Tip #2: Give feedback that is both immediate and specific.

When a member of your sales team does something well, don’t wait until you “have time” to give them feedback. Giving someone a compliment two weeks after the fact isn’t going to mean as much to them. When you notice that they’ve done a good job on something, make an effort to talk about it with them immediately. It’ll mean more to them that you noticed right away rather than your praise seeming like an after thought.

And when you do give them feedback, make sure you talk about specifics. Saying, “Good job on the XYZ account” doesn’t mean as much as saying, “I noticed that you have a real knack for understanding the customer’s needs.” By being specific, employees will know that you really do see the good work they’re doing.

Tip #3: Play fantasy sports (or other games).

As childish as it sounds, rewarding people with desk gadgets, toys, or games is a great way to push them to hit sales metrics. Rick Hanson, vice president of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Security, plays fantasy sports with his sales team. He explains,

“Using FantasySalesTeam, players earn points for everything they do. For example, a rep might earn points for increasing pipeline or for every deal they close. Results are shared at online leaderboards and dashboards, visible to everyone in the company.”

The unique twist in this fantasy game is that the sales reps don’t just compete as individuals. They build teams just like in fantasy football, and earn points for their team based on the performance of their chosen peers and friends. Any game or competition that creates an environment of encouragement and competition amongst team members is a great way to boost morale.

Tip #4: Involve their families.

When your employees are working long hours or preparing a presentation over the weekend, who is most affected? Their spouse and family. By involving their spouse, the salesperson will be motivated at home because their spouse wants to see them succeed.

If you’re holding a contest with a reward for the winner, send a letter or a phone call to the family explaining it so they can encourage the salesperson to do their best. If your reward includes a trip or tickets to a show, include one for the spouse or better yet, the kids, too. Or you can simply send a thank you letter home, thanking the family for being an encouragement to the salesperson and letting them know what a great job he/she does at work. The salesperson will more than likely want to do well if they know their family will be included.

Tip #5: Reward the rejections.

Yes, you read that right. Give your employees a reward when they get a “no” from a prospect. Dan McGraw, CEO of Fuelzee, says this tactic has worked wonders for his sales team.

“Every time someone got a ‘no’ we tracked it in our system and the person with the most ‘no’s received a $100 gift card every week. This might sound crazy, but you get a lot of ‘no’s when doing sales. The more ‘no’s you get, the closer you are to getting a ‘yes’.”

This strategy nearly doubled their outbound calls and motivated their entire team. Your prize doesn’t have to be a $100 gift card, but using some sort of reward for making the most sales calls will definitely motivate your team.

The Bottom Line

No more wondering how to manage sales people! In order to effectively manage and motivate your sales team, simply create an encouraging work environment. If you follow these tips and reward your employees for their hard work, your team will be immune to that “slacker” mentality and morale will be at an all-time high.