How to easily and successfully motivate a lethargic sales force

sleepy dogsA week or so ago I met with a marketer friend over coffee. We schmoozed about business and it came out that his sales people are lethargic and unmotivated.

What I found strange is that my friend is making cold calls, instead of the sales force. They don’t have a minimum number of new clients they have to bring in per year or any accountability. In a sense, they are glorified order takers.

As marketers and business people we all know that the only way to stay in business is to grow, i.e. new clients coming in all the time, as well as servicing current clients and up selling.

So what’s the real issue here?

I believe the real issue is “why is the sales force unmotivated and lethargic?”

And if I may be so bold, “could upper management be playing a part in this lethargy?”

Does the sales force know exactly what’s expected of them?

If sales people don’t have specific goals to meet or the tools available to meet these goals, they won’t succeed. They become stagnant and so does the company.

So, what are some steps to take to motivate the sales force?

  1. Management should come up with clear, written, achievable goals and expectations for the sales people.
  2. There should be ongoing sales and product training.
  3. The sales force should have monthly and/or quarterly meetings to make sure everyone is on track.
  4. There should be a go to person they trust to help them when they’ve got questions.
  5. The marketing people need to create tools such as case studies, white papers and product information pieces for the sales force to take out into the field. Even personalized holiday and thank you cards are great. When was the last time you got a hand written…anything.
  6. Most importantly, someone should interview the sales force and find out what motivates them. Is it bonuses? Extra days off? Company sales trips for the greatest producers? A vacation for two to the Bahamas?

There will always be lethargic, unmotivated sales people but overall, most people take pride in their work and their companies. The challenge is to find what motivates them to give their best and to provide resources for them to succeed.

Whether you are responsible for improving the performance of an actual sales force, or need help in selling yourself on taking the action you know you need to take, discover the motivating factors that will power your success. Call me to schedule your free breakthrough session today!
photo credit: Nixie and Kava via photopin (license)

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