March 3, 2015

sales manager push driven salespeople to successHas your all-star sales team lost its mojo and no longer performing as well as it used to? Could it be that they have already plateaued or simply lost motivation?

Perhaps they feel like they not catching the eye of management anymore and have faded into the “average” category.

The real reasons for declining production of many sales teams may surprise you.

Sales is such a fast-paced and competitive field that many managers make the mistake of only taking a short-term focus on their talent.

They regularly emphasize how to attract the best talent, but often do not pay proper attention to their current staff.

There is a great deal of excellent sales literature describing the best ways to get the right people onto your sales team. Yet little advice exists for managers who need help figuring out how to retain those Driven and competitive employees you have worked so hard to find.


Use Sales Assessments to Get Started

Sales Manager Using Sales Assessment to Identify and Push Driven SalespeopleFor a long time, sales managers have relied on their “gut” to make decisions. Many have come to realize that this usually means acting randomly based on personal biases.

Modern managers use sales assessments to collect relevant data about their current employees. These can be used to design mentoring, training and coaching programs for salespeople with high potential.

These salesperson assessments can also help managers figure out how to identify the best candidates during the hiring process.

Quite a lot of research has shown that self-motivated salespeople are the highest performers. Using sales tests can help identify candidates with a Drive to succeed and those current employees who will most benefit from training.

Managers often make the mistake of seeing their role as some kind of cheerleader. In sales, it is vital that employees not only perform their assignments well, but actively seek out new work.

Highly self-motivated people are naturally suited to the sales profession. Those who need constant monitoring to stay on task will find it difficult to make hundreds of cold calls.

But there is so much more to knowing who on your team is self-motivated, which is why it is so important to utilize sales assessments during the hiring process as well as with existing salespeople.


Improving Performance Through Intelligent Management

Sales assessments are an important first step in this process because they enable managers to learn what motivates their employees. Instead of relying on theories, they can actually see what their employees need to succeed.

And while theories should not be the sole basis of understanding your sales team, there are a few good ones that can add some value to your management practices. They are often based on data collected on a broader level and have gleaned useful insights, such as:

  • The hallmark of self-motivated workers is their tendency to seek out challenges and try to improve their capabilities through learning and exploration.
  • Having a lot of rules is counterproductive when motivating salespeople. Excessive formality in processes reduces the likelihood they will be done properly.
  • Low pay not only hinders performance and motivation, but also makes employees resentful. Human beings react very strongly to feelings of unfairness and will tend to focus on that inequality over their job.
  • Money is not everything, though. Allowing creativity and freedom in accomplishing tasks increases the productivity of self-motivated employees. When monetary gain is the only reward for work, employees often lose interest in the tasks themselves and focus only on the money.
  • Self-worth when performing job duties will motivate high Drive salespeople far more than external incentives like stock options. Recognizing accomplishments are a good way to boost employee confidence and morale.
  • Fear is the worst motivator, because it focuses worker’s energy away from their work. This leaves them tired, stressed out and unfocused, and has the opposite of the desired effect.
  • While this is hard to find in sales, it is important to find people who are not entirely driven by money. Self-motivated employees derive satisfaction from the work they do and the money they make, not one or the other alone.

Factory workers engaged in routine work are often well motivated through reward and punishment. Applying this principle of management to educated corporate employees devastates their motivation by reducing self-worth.

Many managers have found that self-motivated salespeople are the best hires, but can be difficult to motivate as long-term personnel.

It is important to identify those traits early on and understand how each of those candidates are best managed. Salesperson assessments are an effective way to gain this unique understanding.

Some candidates may appear highly Driven during the interview process, but it is difficult to determine what is really motivating them.

Administering an assessment prior to the interview process can uncover their underlying motivations and their likelihood for sales success when provided with the right environment.

To be successful in the long-term, a salesperson has to derive satisfaction out of the work they perform aside from their compensation. Many sales managers realize that it is unwise to focus on short-term results, but fail to see that someone entirely focused on money and power is not going to last long.


How to Motivate an Ambitious Sales Team

Successful Sales Team After Manager Pushed Driven SalespeopleBecause self-motivated employees do not require micromanagement, and it actually will hurt their performance, it is important to set high-level goals.

If managers can try to involve their staff in the strategic process, it will improve their feelings of self-worth.

Managers must also be empathetic, or emotionally intelligent, to ascertain the best way to communicate with each worker.

Every individual has their particular language and communication habits and managers have to be flexible.

Sales teams are naturally competitive, which means sales managers must be proactive in fostering a healthy culture.

A self-motivated team means managers can focus on encouraging good working relationships among the staff. This is best done through getting to know and understanding them as individuals and helping them find common cause.

Managers who use their employees’ self-motivation to their advantage can reap the most rewards. Instead of fearing their workers’ ambitions, if they can find a way to direct and encourage them, they can increase their already impressive motivation and performance.

When a manager gets to know their staff, they can begin to tailor their rewards and motivators to individuals on the team. Each employee is motivated by something different; identifying and understanding this is vital to augmenting their performance.


Learn More about Effective Sales Management

There are many excellent resources available to help sales managers learn how to attract and maintain Driven salespeople.

A thoughtful and informed process could enable an organization to find and keep the talent they need.

Take advantage of the latest research on motivation and salespeople to build the best team for any organization. There is no need to go with the “gut” ever again.