Business is all about sales. The old adage says, “revenue solves a lot of problems.” However, while many organizations desire to drive sales, they inadvertently set up their sales professionals for failure rather than success. Sales reps are either rewarded or held accountable for the way the business is growing, or not.
As a business owner or manager you need ensure you are setting your sales force up for success, not failure. Here are five ways to help motivate and support your sales organization to drive more revenue.
- Clear vision from the top: It all starts at the top. It’s the responsibility of the C-suite to set the company direction and position it in the marketplace. Sales professionals need to focus on closing business, not answering questions about the company’s financial stability or confusing go-to-market strategy. CEOs and their teams need to be out front setting the tone in the market and internally communicating clearly the company’s mission statement, where its products and service fit into the market and the overall growth strategy of the organization. Sales then can align with these pillars.
- Products and services they believe in: Great sales professionals can sell almost anything, even ice to Eskimos, but not forever. Successful sales professionals need products and services they believe in, that are current, that meet their customer needs and stack up well against the competition. Expecting them to sell outdated products or force feed them into a market where they are not needed will not work in the long term. Successful sales professionals need a product lifecycle strategy that meets the needs of an evolving market.
- Support to deliver customer service: Selling something is one thing. Delivering it is another. It’s much like the "Seinfeld" rent-a-car episode where Jerry says, “You know how to take the reservation but you don’t know how to hold the reservation.” Not having the operational or support structure to deliver what is sold is hanging your sales team out to dry. Constantly putting them in a position of apologizing to customers or offering make goods will not result in long-term success. Smart organizations put the delivery and support infrastructure in place as they build sales to ensure the ball doesn’t get dropped along the way.
- Training and tools to succeed: As much as you want your sales reps in the field customer-facing as much as possible, sending them out there without the training and tools they need will not work. Even the most senior-level sellers need refreshers, training on new products and services, and workshops to constantly meet the changing needs of their customers. Invest in their training and you will see the long-term rewards. One day off the road to update your sales team on new products, new procedures, new company direction or even changing market dynamics will result in a more educated and better represented sales organization.
- Rewards and incentives for overachievers: It is safe to say that most sales professionals are driven by money. To be fair, it may not be the only driver, but it the main one. The more they sell, the more they should make. It shouldn’t be more complicated than that. While overall goals need to realistic and challenging at the same time, there should also be a pyramid structure in place that compensates them even further after they’ve reached certain points. The goal is to keep them selling even after they reached their goal. Reward overachievers exponentially and you will breed more of them.