How to manage and motivate your sales team


Successful businesses are built by successful people. Poor management of any
sales team will in effect see the result of poor profitability. As the saying goes,
attitude reflects leadership. Nowhere is this more obvious to see than amongst an
organisations sales team.

Lead by example

First and foremost, in order to achieve the required results, sales leaders must
always lead by example. The leader needs to be actively engaged with their team
and must make time to be a mentor. We cannot expect our sales team to do
something that we ourselves are not prepared to do. People naturally find it easier to
follow someone than to be told sternly what to do and how to do it. Leading by
example also motivates employees by showing them not only how to do things, but
that it can actually be done.

Motivating your sales team

The team leader needs to play an active role in engaging with each team player
by monitoring, mentoring, and advising. Tell your employees what they are doing
right instead of just focusing on what they are doing wrong. Managers tend to focus
on the negative ONLY which can be very demotivating.

Obviously as leaders, we need to intervene when there are blatant deviations to
what is expected. What we need to remember is that a true leader will add to the
positive, and not just the negative in a sales engagement.

Focusing on what is being done correctly is far more motivating and encouraging.
In the book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie says that we
should give the person a fine reputation to live up to. All sale people want a fine
reputation. Leaders of sales teams should make every effort to keep the team
motivated and focused on reaching their full potential so that they can earn that fine

Praise your team publically and criticise each one privately. There is nothing
worse for any employee than to be reprimanded by the manager in front of their
peers - even more so for sales team members. It not only discourages the person
being criticised but it also discourages the whole team. Praising people publically on
the other hand does the opposite. It encourages and motivates the individual and
lays down a challenge for the whole team to emulate what was achieved. When
leaders publicly acknowledge their team it creates a sense of belonging and loyalty
as well as unity.

Keep your sales team informed

It’s important for a leader to keep a team involved by informing them of what is
happening within the organisation. It is horrible to be out at a client engagement
only to find out that you didn’t know about the "Wilson Transaction'. Keeping up-
to-date with your client and team is easy to do with social media apps like WhatsApp
and Slack. So really we need to step up when it comes to communication.

The sales department must be intrinsically aware of what is happening
throughout, as they are often separate to the other departments in an organisation.
Keeping your team up to date on news and events ensures they still feel part of the
overall team. After all everyone is working towards a common goal.

During your weekly sales meeting with your team get each person to share the
meeting responsibilities as this also instils a sense of motivation. A team learns from
each other creating healthy competition. Get each person to share their wins and
what they did to achieve the sale. This can spark ideas and it fosters initiative
allowing employees to grow and to think outside the box.

Set sales targets

Setting a sales target for each member is not the easiest thing to do. A great
place to start (especially for commission earners) is to ask them what they would like
to earn in the year. Then do the necessary calculations and show them what the
number is they need to make in order to reach their ideal earnings goal. In my
experience, this number is usually very high.

Once you have their ideal number, sit down with each one and discuss the figure
that you as the leader have in mind. Establish if the target is specific, measurable
and attainable. There is no use in setting a target that just deflates a person
because it’s unrealistic. Share what the organisations goal is and how they play an
important part in achieving the company’s revenue target. Agree to what the
ultimate sales number is and commit yourself to paying a bonus of sort, if they reach
their stretch goal. This number is then directly tied to a personal outcome.

The team leader should be there to help them reach their target. Don’t be too
concerned if they are unable to reach their target for a month but flags should be
raised if they miss a quarter. Give them the opportunity to get there but also allow
them to be accountable to you as the sales leader.

Monitoring your sales team

You can monitor each employee’s progress by having monthly target review
meetings individually and weekly sales meetings to track growth and help keep your
team motivated. This also ensures accountability and transparency and allows
leaders to mentor team members where necessary. Remember not everyone will be
at the same level but this doesn’t mean growth can’t be nurtured.

Commission incentive

Sales professionals are mostly driven by a financial reward of some sort.
Commission is a huge motivator, but so is the 13th or 14th cheque. The challenge
really is for the manager to get to know the individuals in their team and offer
personal incentives. Some prefer to walk away with the cash while others would
love an all-inclusive weekend away. Tailor making an incentive for each person in
your team is a far bigger motivation as you are giving them exactly what they want,
if of course they reach their target.

Remuneration packages are often structured with commission as a percentage of
the gross profit. Empower the sales team to learn and understand their parameters.
Understanding how the GP and incentives work will ensure that they are better
negotiators when they are facing the client.

The organisation should establish a clear line of communication from the manager
or sales leader to the sales team. Communication is the ultimate motivator for any
employee. If an employee feels secure and a fair amount of loyalty has been built
through communication, they will be more inclined and motivated to reach their sales
target each month.