October’s guest post is from Matthew Murray, Managing Director of Notable. Notable develops marketing leads in Singapore and matches SME service providers with clients looking for their services. In his post, Matthew shares his thoughts about developing a sales culture motivated to succeed. Enjoy the post!
Motivation doesn’t always come naturally to a sales team, but it is a critical component in meeting sales quote and retaining staff. How well engaged an employee intrinsically feels has a direct impact on their motivation to succeed. A poorly motivated employee can negatively influence a company’s overall success, with disengagement costing businesses across the nation up to $300 billion annually.
Interestingly research has shown that Managers and Executives feel more engaged within their organization than the employees they lead at a ratio of 45% to 23%. What’s concerning is that according to the same research, 69% of disengaged employees are willing to leave their roles for just a 5% pay rise. So, what is it that managers can pass down to their team in order to lift the overall motivation levels?
There’s evidence to suggest that installing a sense of community within a sales team can help to motivate and energize its members. One characteristic of a community is a shared value, goal or interest. Strategic Sales Consultant Adrian Davis states the importance of each team member representing an integral component to a goal’s success in order to promote collaboration. Excellent communication is a key player in making this happen, but it’s not something that appears from nowhere. Management Professor Christine M. Riordan suggests the introduction of an office ‘water cooler’ (by which she could be referring to a literal water cooler, or simply a hang-out area within the office), whereby sales employees can have a gossip and a catch-up. Whether they want to discuss the football scores, the latest soap-opera storyline or how well their latest fad diet is going, these small communications interconnect the team and give them a sense of unity which can then be funneled into a sales focused environment.
Recognizing talent and remaining consistent in praise and reward can help to maintain a steady level of motivation. Many employees feel under-appreciated at work and the majority stating that they would work harder if they felt more recognized by their manager.
A 2012 survey by SHRM and Globoforce showed that 41% of companies that use peer-to-peer recognition have reported a positive increase in customer satisfaction. Furthermore, following the implementation of a program, companies have indicated a 28% lower frustration level among team members.
Lead The Way
The relationship between a manager or supervisor and their sales team is paramount in maintaining a motivational culture. Up to 80% of employees who are dissatisfied with their immediate supervisor are disengaged with their job, and surveys have shown that the less a supervisor cares about an employee’s personal life, the less motivated those employees are.
So the answer is quite simple. The management style being used needs to be thoughtful and appropriate for maintaining motivation. Some of the key characteristics to highlight are accountability, a passion for the company culture, lots of positivity and an abundance of openness and honesty. It is especially common for first-time managers to default into ‘productivity mode’ and focus too much on how to generate leads and close deals. Gretchen Spreitzer, Professor of Management and Organization at Michigan University, advises on regular one-to-one meetings with employees to ensure their well-being is optimal and workload is manageable.
Another idea is to create a date for monthly or bi-monthly post-work drinks at the local bar. These social occasions should always include management, which forms a sense of equality and humanness away from the hustle and bustle of the sales floor.
Practice A Little Office Feng Shui
A well lit, tidy office has the potential to improve overall sales productivity. But many employees feel that their office environment isn’t helping them focus or perform. In fact, the American Association of Interior Design stated 68% of employees dislike their office aesthetics and lighting system. Dim lighting and clutter can cause headaches, stress, fatigue and irritability. By inviting more natural light into the building and reorganizing overcrowded cupboards and drawers, you can be sure that the vibe across the office will be positive and harmonious.
Motivating a sales team shouldn’t be something that only happens consciously once in a blue moon. It needs to be installed as part of the everyday functioning within the team. This way, engagement levels will remain high and sales revenue will be sure to sky rocket.