Motivation is one of the keys to keeping new business (sales) people performing, especially if they’re doing outbound sales.
Motivation isn’t just about a carrot, stick and pep talks although that is part of it. It’s far more important that salespeople have the tools and skills they need to perform and that they believe they are capable of delivering, which is a difficult mix to get right. Most salespeople want to perform but selling brings unique pressures that it’s easy to buckle under; if you get into a downward spiral it can be difficult to get out of it and it’s easy to get yourself into a state where you can’t see the wood for the trees.
So how do you give them what they need and keep them motivated? Sometimes it just needs some clear thinking and a little bit of direction. Here are some tips for getting helping to keep your salesperson performing:
- Make sure you have a clear, strong proposition: your proposition should be unusual (unique is pretty difficult to achieve), relevant and provable. In other words you need to have a good story. If you don’t have one then the first thing you need to do, before you sell anything, is develop a proposition.
- Make sure you have a clear direction: who are your targets and why are you targeting them. If you don’t know then you don’t have a clear strategy. You need to know business functions and verticals and your proposition should be relevant to those people. Your sales person will take confidence from knowing what they’re going to say and why.
- Don’t make a salesperson fail in public: if they’re struggling, get them out of the open plan office and into a room on their own and let them make calls in private for a bit. Most sales people are extroverts (not all mind you!), but when we’re having a bad day we don’t like everyone else listening in.
- Set small, achievable, short-term targets: ask someone to set 20 meetings in a month and they’ll wilt; get them to keep just setting the next meeting and it’ll happen all by itself.
- Point successes out to the rest of the company: doing new business in-house can be lonely so a little public recognition helps you hold your head up. And give you something to shout about at lunchtime.
- Let them be a part of the agency: I have seen it so many times. Business Development and Sales teams that have little or no interaction with the rest of the agency. They need to. They’re your internal salespeople as well as external. And they need to know everything that goes on in the agency to sell it better
- Put development plans in place: when I started out I always wanted to know where the current job would take me. Give the salesperson a development plan – both in work and what’s potential outside of work. Everyone wants to work towards something.
- Feedback and coaching: give your salesperson a forum to talk about the barriers they face. Your new business person will encounter lots of objections and by talking it through they’ll develop responses that can be the difference between success and failure.
- Give them the tools they need: outbound new business calling needs short, highly compelling case studies and a decent website to back it up. No matter how good you are on the phone most people will ask for information. Prospects will form opinions based on the information you send and you won’t be there to influence them so you need your tools to be as good as is humanly possible
- Sales technique: good cold calling is highly skilled, and for marketing agencies it’s a specialist skill. Make sure your salesperson has the skills and techniques they need to do it. If they don’t, give them training. Apart from helping improve performance it builds confidence.
So, there you go. Salespeople can be a needy lot. I knew this list would be long. The thing is though, that we all need salespeople to get our products and services over the finishing line.
Next time, I’ll write the same thing but about our marketing team. Sorry folks! It has to be done.