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The new year brings new anxieties for leaders of sales teams. 2018’s reports are rolling in and new ideas are being thrown about to try to plan for the upcoming year. How can a sales manager lead a team to success? Is it possible to turn away from competition between coworkers and promote teamwork across the board?
When thinking of sales, the first thing that comes to mind for most of us is money. Motivation and monetary gain are intrinsically linked in a field that is commission based, and a sales manager might be tempted to jump to financial rewards when thinking of ways to get a team excited for selling. This may not always be the case. Rewarding the individual and using money as the carrot at the end of the stick has its place in the sales world, but the best managers know that to have a great business year, it is important to emphasis a collaborate selling environment. One rock star member of the team is not enough to drive home the winning numbers; instead, a solid foundation and team spirit helps a business thrive. In celebration of the new year, when teams are most eager to work hard to beat their quotas from last year, here are some proven ways a good sales manager can properly motivate their team to maximum success:
1. Share success
The reason a sales department has multiple teams under its umbrella is because collaboration and working together is an inherent part of sales. Sharing leads or potential customers is only one way a team can “share success.” Knowing that you belong to an organization with several people cheering for you to succeed pushes individual sales people to be the best that they can be. Frequent check-ins from managers about the entire team’s numbers may help in creating a shared success story. Publicly posting numbers daily is another way to push people shared success. By having transparency in each’s salespersons numbers, strengths, and weaknesses, stronger members of the team can feel acknowledged for their hard work, while other members of the team know what numbers they should be hitting to be as successful as everyone else. The manager’s job in this situation is to encourage honesty amongst the team members while holding each member accountable. Daily emails let everyone know where they stand and lets openness flourish between coworkers.
2. Get a buddy
If transparency is the goal, under-performing members of the team will know that they are in fact the weakest links in the chain. Instead of discouraging or removing these links, a successful sales leader can create a mentoring structure that assists in guiding new or under-performing team members to greatness. The mentoring structure pairs an experienced top player with one of these newer salespeople, fostering trust between established employees and everyone else in the department. This further creates an environment of shared success and lets leaders give extra responsibility to those who have earned it. The structure is a true win-win, as older team members will be proud of this new responsibility they have earned, and new members will have a safe space to learn and grow. When used properly, this is an excellent tool in a sales manager’s pocket.
3. Make it fun!
Of course, the reason the majority of people go into sales is for the commission-based structure. The drive to make as much money as possible and make more than the person next to them is an old trope that entices many to the field. While that may attract people to the job, it does not keep them performing well and does not necessarily keep turnover low. Ensuring that the team has fun together is extremely important. A great sales manager has to be creative in offering rewards that offer something more than just extra money in a paycheck. Offering prizes for high performing members is one option but fails to lead to a collaborative team that is desired. Rewards and team building can go hand in hand, with options like happy hours, team building exercises, or other group outings. A multitude of options are available for team building exercises and they are proven to work. If a team can feel like it is being rewarded for hard work while continuing to build relationships and trust within its members, then the sales manager has done something special that is likely to lead to great rewards.
Over all, steering sales leaders away from creating fierce competition between coworkers will lead to a happier team. Managers who want to be successful will adopt the three strategies listed above in order to have the best year at their company yet. Highlighting shared success and emphasizing team building and mentoring will lead to a fantastic 2019 for all.
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Article by Kelsey Sullivan, Marketing Contributor