Sales Motivation and the Role of Leadership

Leadership is Motivation, the Leader is a Motivator

We’re not talking about the kind of motivator who arrives and excites everyone and then leaves. That is not motivation. Real motivation lasts longer than twenty-four hours. Real motivation is the key to effective leadership, and leadership is the key to effective motivation.

When organisations establish quotas for their sales teams, they should involve their sales people in the process of the setting of their targets.

Effective sales managers give their teams, an overview of the full picture and what the company is trying to achieve. Then, they work with each person to establish individual targets that will meet or exceed the corporate objectives.

Every target must be specific and detailed, then, your people can visualise its outcome. Make the target important to the person who is responsible for achieving it, if not, they may lose interest, particularly if it is a longer term objective.

Targets should have a good chance of being achievable while still challenging the individual to push themselves beyond their existing comfort zone. Each target must be relevant to the main objective of the organisation and relevant to the overall success of the company.

Set a time frame and deadline for each target and ensure the deadline is realistic but, at the same time, challenging.

Work with your team members to help them determine the targets that would be most appropriate for their development and growth and work with them to develop the appropriate action steps to achieve these targets and you will see a noticeable improvement in their performance

Communicate and tell your team what is happening, sales people are hungry for information and from my experience, can be trusted with company details. Unfortunately, too many corporations and their middle managers feel that people should only be given information that is relevant to their specific job.

Keep them aware of the progress you are making in achieving your targets, people are naturally curious and want to know how they are doing. Do not reveal confidential information, but share information about the overall status of the company.

If sales are down and you need your people to focus on generating new accounts or business then tell them. If costs are climbing then advise your employees that they need to be aware of their expenses.

Regular update meetings, email correspondence, broadcast voice mails are just some of the ways you can communicate with your team. Another effective method is through casual discussions.

Communication must be clear and concise, employees want to know where they stand and, all but a few, want to do a good job. They want to know how, you, as their manager, view their performance. That’s why it is critical that you give them direction and feedback on a regular basis.

Experience has taught me that people will work harder for someone who praises them and recognises the effort they put into their work. Acknowledge their energy and performance, their effort and commitment, how hard they worked and how involved they were with it.

Your sales people have a lot of knowledge and information and can often contribute valuable suggestions to improve the business. If you really want to create a team of highly motivated sales people take the time to listen to their comments and ideas.

Foster an environment that encourages the open sharing of information. Great leaders are always open to new ideas and methods of improving business and some of the best ideas come from the customer facing employees.

This last point is the most important. If you want a highly motivated sales team, then you must lead by setting the example. You must demonstrate enthusiasm, energy, team cooperation, honesty, integrity and commitment.

Treat people with respect and dignity, give them the tools to excel, grow and develop and encourage them to participate and get involved. Ask them for feedback, listen to their comments, and act on suggestions that will help your business succeed.

Set and communicate high standards, provide positive reinforcement when your team members perform and involve them. You will soon see a team that will do almost anything to help you succeed.