The past year has been daunting for professional sales teams. Sales departments learned first-hand that business can’t go on as usual when something very unusual is going on. Prospects delayed projects, customers put deals on hold, and sales managers watched pipelines get longer and longer.
While we still live in a COVID-19 world, by adhering to CDC safety guidelines and multiple vaccines getting distributed, sales professionals have a renewed optimism to look forward to. But knowing things are getting better isn’t the same as really believing it.
Here are five ways to revitalize your sales force to get them excited, enthused and back on track.
- Get real. Don’t act as if the past year didn’t happen. Acknowledge the losses and adjustments that had to be made. Express meaningful gratitude to those who stuck by the company and everyone new who is taking a chance. To successfully come out on the other side, sales leaders must go forward with a respect for what they have left behind.
- Create smaller and shorter contests. If your organization was big on 60-, 90- and 120-day or even annual sales goals – shorten them to daily, weekly or monthly. Revving your team up with short wins through continuous contests and incentives will have a bigger impact than multi-month or annual rewards. Of course, the prizes will be less significant when you increase contests, but the excitement and thrill of quicker wins will trump the size of the reward.
- Retrain on what has changed. Take a fresh look at your offerings and the new perceptions that may surround them. While some products and services will have the exact same value and customer appeal – some may now be considered more complicated or burdensome. If you know this to be the case, remind your team they should always enter asking questions versus telling answers. No one will listen to what your product or service can offer until they realize how much they need it. Plan a few reminder training sessions, even for your most experienced pros.
- Show thanks often and toward many. No matter how successful salespeople become, getting appreciated never gets old. Don’t think because your budget won’t allow you to gift a fancy steak dinner that you should do nothing. There is power and motivation in words. Genuine and meaningful “thanks for a job well done” in shout-outs on social media, during department meetings (whether on-site or video) and in one-on-one sessions (both planned and impromptu) will go a long way.
- Build enthusiasm regardless of results. Sales managers need to believe in their own leadership and embrace a “we’re all in this together” attitude to re-motivate their sales teams. Going back to basics and reminding your team there is no elevator to get results but rather a step-by-step ladder approach will go a long way in motivating them as they begin again.
Now more than ever, it is critical for sales leadership to lead with a seriousness of purpose that will require a combination of passion for their product and services and compassion for their sales teams.