How to keep sales reps motivated

Posted in Sales team management.

B2B businesses rely heavily on the selling power of their respective field sales reps. These individuals are responsible for generating income and revenue as well as negotiating and securing new customers. Often, sales reps can become disillusioned with their responsibilities and loose motivation for the task at hand. Here’s some advice from top entrepreneurs and business professionals on how to keep your sales team motivated and on task:

Lead from the front

If you don’t believe in your product or the ability to achieve great things then neither will the most qualified sales person. If you’re the head of a sales team then you need to show them that you are 100% behind whatever it is you are trying to sell. Showing your team that you are enthusiastic and believe in what you’re doing as a company will inspire and motivate others.

Martin Zwilling (founder Startup Professionals) who started out as an IBM field sales rep advises, “Great motivators are visible at the front and lead by their actions. Hiding in your office or mysteriously travelling all the time on unknown missions are sure ways to cause the focus of your team to disperse.”

According to research published in the Harvard Business Review (HBR), team leaders and managers who are willing to get more involved in their sales teams through personal interaction and showing them how things should be done, have a more motivated sales force as a direct result.

Put employees first

Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Group, turns the client-first approach on its head and states that your employees come first no matter what. His approach has paid dividends and has kept employees motivated and, in turn, it has optimized productivity.

Branson reveals that, “If you treat your staff well, they will be happy. Happy staff are proud staff, and proud staff deliver excellent customer service, which drives business success.”

This is simple but effective advice to keep your sales team engaged and motivated. If they are treated well and know that there are constructive ways for their grievances to be dealt with they will ultimately be happier and more productive. Stephen Cove, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, agrees with this approach: “Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.”

Have a team huddle

The HBR research, mentioned above, further suggests that team managers and leaders can improve the motivation of their teams by holding a weekly ‘team huddle’. The aim of this is to reflect on what has been achieved or learnt the past week and what sales reps want to achieve in the coming week.

They suggest that this reflective meeting, held once a week, can be a constructive way to keep your team motivated. By focusing on each individual’s achievements and how their work has contributed positively to the team as a whole serves as motivation to achieve even more. The focus also shifts towards the positive impact individuals’ work has had on customers. It’s all about reflection, gaining trust, developing abilities, and reaching each individual’s potential as a sales rep.