Winter often brings a decline in energy and seasonal depressions. So it is even more important to know how to mobilize your team and keep the focus.
As you know, to mobilize, good sales managers will give their team the objectives to reach. It is true that these objectives must be well-formulated to encourage the troops’ commitment. Despite the fact that your objectives are well-formulated, adapted and aligned with the strategic plan, nothing guarantees that they will be reached. Besides, in the same company with the same objectives and remuneration systems, why do some teams perform beyond expectations while others seem to be experiencing difficulties in producing results, and that, years after years? Of course, we can blame it in the economy, competition, bad weather, … and that, in addition, it depends of external aspects and has nothing to do with the manager in position. But, between you and I, we must sometimes ask ourselves: “In the current context, could the manager in charge have reached better results by acting differently?”. Unfortunately, more often than not, the answer to this question is “YES”.
So, let’s ask ourselves this question: “What would push my team to perform, to exceed limits and to push the competition away?”. Herzberg showed us that, to motivate our troops, we can use five important ingredients: execution, recognition (consideration), a work and tasks that are interesting, empowerment, advancement and growth.
Execution is highlighted when the objectives to reach are well-defined and their achievement is valued. Following-up on results, modification of actions plans along the way to ensure achievement and perhaps exceedance of objectives, the manager’s interest in seeing his/her team perform, the team work being put forward to ensure everyone’s success, are all important aspects to help each team member put in the efforts at the right places.
Recognition or consideration is also one of the important aspects that allow you to prove to team members that management notices and highlights remarkable work, the idea of surpassing oneself, good practices, exceptional results, efforts, etc. If these actions and behaviors do not seem to be noticed, what would motivate your employees to repeat them? One thing is for certain, the more your representatives feel like their work is appreciated, better motivated they will be.
Then comes a daily life filled with interesting tasks. Look at your sellers’ tasks description and ask yourself if they will be eager to wake up in the morning to execute these tasks. How could you make their daily life more interesting? Are the administrative side and paper work taking too much space and time in their schedule? What internal support could you provide them with to free up part of their time? What tasks could be simplified? How many client complaints must they deal with every week? Could those complaints be handled differently? Could we resolve them upstream? The more your representatives indulge in tasks that stimulate them, better motivated they will be to execute them.
Empowerment allows them then to have latitude, decisions to make, and an impact on their results. If you are the only one making decisions, will you be the only one responsible for achieving results? Give them responsibilities. Question them to make them think about a situation but let them make decisions thereafter. Listen to their point of view and encourage them to do things differently. It is motivating for representatives to feel like their boss trusts them.
Advancement and personal growth are the last two ingredients to add in this recipe to boost motivation. To want to surpass oneself, it is interesting to be under the impression that you are learning something, that you are getting better, that you are more and more efficient. This is what builds expertise in a specific field. Offer them trainings on sales, time management, strategic planning, second language, etc. Coach them in their daily life and promote their talent development. A representative who notices that their superior invest in them will be even more motivated.
This will, at the same time, push their advancement forward. If you would leave tomorrow, which one of your team members could replace you? If none of your employees can take over, ask yourself what they are lacking and help them acquire these skills. If they do not want to or if they do not have the right profile to take your place, identify with them the type of advancement they are aiming for and coach them towards it.
Following many mandates performed in companies about employees’ mobilization, we have come to take a look at what we call mobilization’s 3 axis.
1. Give a sense to their actions:
To be mobilized, employees need to understand where you are going, why you are going this way and how you will reach it. To do so, verbalize the vision, mission and objectives to be reached regularly. Indicate how they are aligned with the vision and mission, and how their actions make the achievement of objectives possible. Monitor results and help them get back on track when needed. Make sure that majority of their time is invested on profitable tasks and actions that will allow them to reach objectives. Help them get rid of time wastes and administrative tasks. Allow them to execute their tasks efficiently in order to reach the results you have previously set.
2. Grant them the authority to act:
Empower your people. Ask them what they think they must do, what their territories need and what the clients are asking for. Give importance to their opinion and encourage them to participate. Offer them a chance to influence the events’ aftermath and give them your support. Offer trainings, coaching to make them more efficient, to improve their skills and to promote learning. Encourage good practices’ sharing and allow them to influence each other.
3. Value their actions, results, good practices:
Take the time to treat your resources with care. Understand the importance for them to feel respected, considered, and supported. Highlight good actions and acknowledge efforts. Promote their advancement within the organization and be interested by their future. Discuss of their ambitions with them and support them so that they achieve them.
To make all of this more tangible, take the time to analyze your relationship and the way you supervise your representatives. Following your conclusions, give yourself one or two challenges for each axis.
The capacity to motivate and mobilize people allows us to differentiate the good manager from the excellent manager. It allows the last one to reach his/her objectives and makes the team wants to surpass itself. Talk to mobilized employees and ask them why they come to work in the morning. None of them will tell you about wage or even salary conditions. Some will tell you about their clients, others about their objectives, and some about the solution they have to offer. Some will even say that they do it for their boss or their colleagues. When you will get these types of answers, you will know you have a mobilized team.
Tip 76 from the book (in French):
101 tips to propel your sales team to the top
Authors: Stéphan Lavigne, Lucie Turcotte and Richard Juneau
Béliveau Éditeur, 2017
Click here for more information on this publication.
If you are rather looking for a training on sales management, visit our trainings list page by clicking here.