Motivating Your Sales Staff

Are you worried that your sales team is falling behind in the ongoing COVID-19 world? As a sales manager, you should be monitoring team member engagement and encouraging them to do their best. You can make the most efficient use of your time by using an automated coaching solution to help your reps optimize their outcomes in today’s selling environment. 

Motivating Your Sales Staff

Gallup research shows that as the COVID-19 crisis drags on, employees are becoming disengaged. This might be especially true of sales reps who thrive on personal interaction. Sure, they have interaction through video calls, but for many, work-life isn’t the same these days. Adding to the lack of engagement, you and your team are likely operating from separate remote locations. Even worse, the traffic in the pipeline has slowed and sales quotas will be tough to achieve. 

To increase engagement and motivation, it’s crucial to understand coachability. Once you know which reps are most open to coaching, you can focus on the soft skills that will make a critical difference in our current business climate. But don’t rush into this process without a good roadmap. What you need is a tool that allows you to coach reps anytime, anywhere.  

We know your job isn’t easy. Our research shows that, even before COVID-19, 41% of managers had a harder time motivating their sales staff this year when compared to last year. One way to improve this situation is to increase sales coaching. About 34% of sales reps told us that their manager’s coaching positively impacts their win rate. If you spend more time coaching the right reps, you can improve that number.

Understanding Coachability

Not every rep can be motivated to improve performance because not every rep is coachable. To determine where everyone on your team stands, you should have each rep takes a sales skill assessment. These assessments are part of any good automated coaching system and will reveal the kind of information you need to effectively manage your team. Getting a coachability score for every rep is key. This score is based on the rep’s mindset, which comes from the sales skill assessment, and your analysis of how prepared they are for your one-on-one meetings and how receptive they are to your suggestions.

When you understand your rep’s attitude before you start coaching, you’ll also know whether your time will be well spent with them. You may find you’re dealing with a protectionist, who doesn’t want to change their ways. Or your rep may be an ageist who has decided you are too young or too old to know anything and they won’t listen to you. I once had an elitist on my team and when I tried to coach them on anything, this person always pointed out how I was also doing something wrong. 

All of these attitudes can be problematic, but the real issue is attitude severity. You can improve your team’s outcomes by coaching the reps who don’t have serious attitude issues.  Spend your time and energy on these folks and you can make a difference.

Focusing on Soft Skills

The results of the sales skills assessments will also tell you which reps need to improve their soft skills. Soft skills can be particularly important when interacting with clients and prospects during the current crisis. 59% of sales reps told us they believe being confident is the top characteristic necessary to excel in the profession. 

That’s not exactly the perspective of your buyers. Prospects these days want to hear from reps who understand their businesses and can propose solutions that will help them solve problems. Making the connection between problems and solutions requires empathy, a characteristic only 36% of sales reps value.

If one of your reps shows a low score for empathy, they may not be listening carefully enough to prospects to fully understand their challenges, especially during a video call. Using your coaching system, you can give quick assignments to sharpen their skills. For example, you might ask them to list three details the prospect revealed during their most recent call and how they apply to what the rep is selling. Your rep should also be able to apply those details to how the prospect felt. As you know, to successfully sell, your rep must offer a solution that speaks to the prospect’s wants as well as their needs.

When you track results from coaching assignments, along with details about a rep’s attitude, your ability to increase engagement and motivation increases.

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C. Lee Smith

C. Lee Smith is the founder and CEO of SalesFuel — a Columbus, Ohio-based firm that leverages critical insights to enable the acquisition, development and retention of top employees and customers. Lee is author of the Amazon International Best-Seller “Hire Smarter, Sell More!” and is a Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst. He is also recognized as one of the Leading Sales Consultants in the world by Selling Power. For more information on his unique sales hiring and coaching SaaS solutions, visit SalesFuel HIRE and SalesFuel COACH.


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