This is a guest blog by Alan Kenny who is the European General Manager of Mimecast a crazily successful provider of cloud-based email management software for archiving, discovery, continuity and security. He has a long track record of sales and sales management and if he says something works you can bet your last Rolo that it does!
You know I used to always believe that I was a great motivator of sales teams. I have had teams that have delivered tremendous results and of whom I have been extremely proud. I used to love it when I heard my boss say that I drive the team with ‘tough love’ and that although it wasn’t obvious I really did have their best interests at heart.
Good times and I wouldn’t change them for the world, but it’s just not sustainable.
The danger with being the key to your sales team’s motivation is that it can only ever be a short term effect: it lasts for as long as you can maintain the energy to drive, cajole and manipulate their behaviour. Worse still, you can become an accidental diminisher rather than a multiplier – a scary thought!
The real key to motivating your sales team is to ensure that you do not de-motivate them!
Believe me this is not as simple as it seems. It requires communicating a clear vision for your sales team embracing methodology and behaviours as well as publicly demonstrating enormous trust in the people themselves. Not to mention quite a lot of patience which is very often lower on the list of qualities exhibited by us sales leaders than it should be!
So here are my top 5 rules for building highly motivated sales teams.
Rule #1 – Recruit the right people – You probably have an Ideal Client Profile for selecting new clients but do you have an Ideal Rep Profile to help you clearly identify the Talent, Experience & Cultural characteristics that a sales person must exhibit. Whatever happens never compromise: never accept anything less!
Rule #2 – Develop, Develop, Develop – David Beckham never stopped practising free kicks, sales people should never stop developing their skills – Fact! So have an on-going training and development program to help them ease their weaknesses and hone their strengths.
Rule #3 – Explicit Expectations – Create a personal contract with your sales people which makes clear what you expect from them and what they should expect from you and then hold each other accountable.
Rule #4 – Social Accountability – Create an environment where results and performance are stated publicly along with a commitment on actions to course-correct if required. There is nothing more binding than a person’s public commitment to their peers provided you hold them accountable for delivery.
Rule #5 – Consistency on the first 4 rules – If you don’t follow best practise then don’t expect anyone else to!
In case you think that I have completely nailed all of the above then you would be wrong: you can never sit back and say “that’s it, the perfect approach”. I’m just committed to creating an environment that allows people’s self-motivation to flourish and then trying to stay out of the way!
If this sounds like a journey that could be of value to you then I recommend the following 5 books as they have become my bibles.
- Multipliers: How the Best Leaders make Everyone Smarter by Elizabeth Wiseman and Greg McKeown
- The New Solution Selling: the revolutionary sales process that is changing the way in which people sell by Keith M. Eades
- The Inner Game of Work: Focus, learning, pleasure and mobility in the workplace by Timothy Gallwey
- Start with why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action by Simon Sinek
- Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us by Daniel Pink