Question: As a sales manager, how do I motivate my team in this context?
If you are in charge of a sales team, then chances are you are going to be dealing with a lot of scared folks in the coming days. Their fear is certainly warranted, but it cannot be fed by you. Acknowledge how people are feeling. Emotions are the mind and body’s way of processing information and you have to let it run its course for a period of time. Once your team has had the opportunity to express themselves, then it is time to put aside the dismay and move forward. They will be deeply in tune with you and your leadership style to motivate them. You can acknowledge your fear to your team, but don’t show it.
First of all re-evaluate your sales goals. Are they still achievable or will they just serve as a crushing pressure on your team? Are the deals in the pipeline still deals? There may have to be some adjustments made and communication with all company leaders is key at this point. This makes for some tough conversations, but they must be had all the same.
Should special pricing be considered? If you are selling goods and the company is sitting on heavy levels of inventory, then you may be given the power of price negotiation to do whatever it takes to get the sale. Or perhaps this lends itself to new marketing opportunities and purchasing specials to get the market moving. There is still cash out there and great salespeople know how to find it and get it.
When it comes to motivating a sales team, nothing works better than healthy competition and incentives. A sales contest might be just what the team needs to focus on the goal rather than economic conditions. But keep it realistic and achievable. A contest with terms that are out of reach will do more harm than good. Keep the incentives alive and in front of them. Sometimes it isn’t the dollar value of the prize that matters then it does winning itself. Don’t kid yourself and go cheap either because your salespeople become some of the world’s top mathematicians when incentives are being discussed. Honor them and don’t insult them.
Now would be a good time as well to have open conversations about your sales process. What could be improved during these slower periods? What is really providing value to the customers? What is the best way to get the markets to respond to you? Now be the best time to try new things and stand out from the competition. Get buy-in from your team so that, under your leadership, you have your small army set out to claim the prize.
This is the right time to re-visit your sales plan. If that task seems daunting, how about using Scorecard’s done-for-you One Page Sales Plan? Concise, customized, and all digital, you can have your new sales plan ready to go in about an hour. Learn more here or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to get your team motivated by the promise of success.