12:00 AM, 06 14, 2016

How to motivate your sales teams

You want a fired up sales team, smashing KPI’s and working at the top of their game. How do you do it?

You might have heard of Pareto’s Law – that 80% of work is done by 20% of the talent – so you’re approach needs to be double pronged, both engaging the laggards and your up and coming talent, whilst also incentivising and motivating your top performers

According to the Harvard Business Review sales force compensation represents the single largest marketing investment for most B2B companies and U.S. companies alone spend more than $800 billion on it each year—three times more than they spend on advertising.

What’s your budget looking like? If you’re losing your best performers – you might want to try some tactics.

Variant Targets

You know the scene. It’s the end of the month and somehow the sales are always pulled in. Your top performers will have stashed their sale and will have been counting their commission mid month, but it’s the middle level sales people who will begetting the numbers in towards the back of the month.

Why not try staggering targets for volume as well as sales? The only way to really get the sales in is activity. That might mean some research, emails or calls – but if you set the bar too low, there’s always the temptation to coast it until the 20th of the month. What else can you reward through the month?

Carrots not sticks

Some sales led businesses have their own ‘departure lounges’ where poor performers are let go regularly and this is natural in sales. But even though your business might want the hustle and the drive of the cast of Wolf of Wall Street – you also need to look long-term and nurture some talent through. If the idea makes you scoff, consider your own career. Most people wouldn’t be where they are without someone coaxing and guiding, rewarding and incentivising.

Set a new bar

Set new targets in a business – call times, leads generated, visits or demos, and there will always be a group sigh and the ‘we can’t do it’ calls. But what happens after a few months? Set the bar as high as you can, realistically, or set up ‘Elite Streams’ with higher prizes for your best performers. Sales people are naturally competitive and many will want to up their own performance to sit on the elite programme.

On-going, big ticket incentives

We’ve all met the salesperson that finds it way too easy. He clocks off when he fancies, schedules meetings for 11am and manages to hit his KPIs. He’s the golden goose, but you know a fresh offer would see him leaving dust. Studies have shown that salary increase aren’t the be all and end all – a increase in monthly income might not have the same punch as a higher, harder won target quarterly.

Celebrate Every Sale

Sales people are competitive and the like to have their place in the pecking order. How can you ‘gamify’ the process of achieving sales? Leaderboards, vocal recognition and rewards, email congratulations, even the classic ‘sales bell’ can all help boost the perception of the value of doing well. This will have a natural effect on the low performers and new starters, as the vocal nature of acquisition of a sale becomes something to strive for. The ‘stick’ version of this is putting out emails with ‘worst to best’ behaviour. It’s up to you if your culture can handle this level of stress and comparison. A nicer alternative might be ‘best improvements’.

What to offer

The world of sales has the benefit that unlike a salary, anything can be a reward as long as the value of the commission is met by the value of the sale. Whilst a supercar might be on the cards if you sell Real Estate in new York, for everyone else there is the challenge of what to offer.

Studies prove that gift cards achieve concrete business results such as:

  • Increasing sales
  • Improving employee performance
  • Increasing loyalty
  • Building teamwork

Gift cards also offer the following advantages over cash incentives

  • They are more memorable
  • They aren’t confused with compensation
  • They can be branded and personalized / customized

They include administrative benefits such as usage tracking and a variety of redemption options. The gift card industry continues to play a key role in both business-to-consumer and business-to-business markets. In particular, use of the cards to help build incremental sales is expected to expand.

On top of that An Incentive Federation Study of merchandise and travel incentive users found that gift cards have become the number one award of choice for sales incentives. Target Audiences The Incentive Federation study also found that 78 percent of respondents offer incentives for salespeople, 57 percent for resellers, 77 percent for consumers, and 67 percent for employees. (Incentive Gift Card Council). Gift cards are a versatile, proven way to motivate employees, customers, resellers, and revenues – so what are you waiting for?

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