Now, don’t get me wrong, money is a critical component of sales management and bonuses are proven to be effective. However, all salespeople require two things to remain happy — money and recognition.
A recent survey released by Boston Consulting Group polled more than 200,000 employees around the world to create a definitive list of the top 10 factors for on-the-job happiness. They found that employees value the following (in order of importance):
- Appreciation for their work
- Good relationships with colleagues
- Good work-life balance
- Good relationships with superiors
- Company’s financial stability
- Learning and career development
- Job security
- Attractive fixed salary
- Interesting job content
- Company values
In fact, a study by employee motivation firms recently found that 70% of survey respondents reported their most meaningful recognition “had no dollar value” — a substantial increase from 57% in a similar survey 2007.
Among the study’s highlights:
83% of respondents said recognition for contributions was more fulfilling than any rewards or gifts;
76% found peer praise very or extremely motivating;
88% found praise from managers very or extremely motivating;
90% said a “fun work environment” was very or extremely motivating.
So, what does this mean? Simply put: “Money isn’t everything!” Executives who can properly motivate, inspire, build cohesion and create great company culture are far more likely to keep their reps around longer… and not have to break the bank doing it! Here’s how:
Motivate your salespeople from top to bottom
Motivation is the backbone of employee success because people who are engaged in what they do will perform at a much higher level than their peers who are just trying to survive the 9–5. Here are some quick tips to motivate your reps.
- Provide clearly defined goals and expectations. It is so much easier to stay motivated when you know where the finish line is. Providing your reps with suitable quotas, targets and goals is an essential part of sales leadership.
- Show progress. People want to know how they are performing. Goals and expectations are almost useless if you can’t provide progress updates. Leaderboards, metrics, dashboards and as much information as you can possibly provide to them will keep them motivated by allowing them to see exactly where they stand and what they need to do to reach targets.
- Don’t overburden. Ensure that your sales reps’ quotas are tailored to each individual’s abilities. If they need to step it up a notch, be sure to provide proper coaching and resources. If you need to raise the bar because they are consistently exceeding quota, then that’s fine too, but be sure to also provide reasonable compensation that rewards their achievements and progress.
- Provide sense of purpose. People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. How does your product solve a problem? What is the bigger picture? How are they making lives better?
- Recognize and reward! Sales reps work hard and are under constant pressure to meet quota. When goals are met and expectations are reached, managers need to properly reward and recognize performance. Sales reps are seeking two main things: money and recognition. Neither one is enough by itself. So, in order to keep your sales teams crushing quota, at the end of the day you will still need to reward properly and publicly acknowledge their achievements.
Inspire great performance, daily!
Every sales manager wants to inspire their sales reps but it’s not always as easy as it sounds. With limited hours and a multitude of responsibilities, it’s often hard enough to just make it through the day, let alone be inspiring while doing it. Here are a few quick ways to inspire others that won’t even require an extra minute of your time.
- Put others first. Teamwork is about the team, not your personal ambitions. Leaders who truly understand how to put others above their personal goals are inspiring because they drive everyone to be better as a group, not as individuals.
- Be yourself. It’s hard to lead when you are pretending to be someone or something you’re not. If you have flaws or gaps, show them and let others help you. This will not only make you a better leader but it will empower others by allowing them to help you. It will also give the message that it’s okay to be imperfect.
- Give praise. People want to know that they are making a difference and that their contributions matter… but if their managers are not willing to highlight their successes then they are often left wondering why they get up in the morning. Let people know how much you appreciate them and it will inspire them to give more.
- Share in the sacrifice. It’s easy for managers to sit back and avoid the hard tasks or to pretend they’re too busy to help but this is far from the inspiring leadership approach that your people need to see. Get in there, lead by example, show grit and fortitude, be the first to tackle tough tasks and your teams will view you as a leader who truly cares and inspires.
Create cohesion within and across teams
In the work environment, it is important for all employees to share a common goal so that everyone understand how they are benefiting the company’s bottom line. When sales reps work toward a common goal, it promotes an interdependency and a shared sense of value and purpose. A cohesive environment increases employee satisfaction and builds teamwork toward organizational objectives.
- Clarify roles. With so many different titles, territories and responsibilities, it’s critical for teams to know who’s doing what. There’s inside sales, outside sales, SDR’s, marketing team and so much more that goes into a sales process. So, in order to keep everyone from stepping on each other’s toes be sure to clarify roles well and explain what responsibilities fall to each.
- Provide resources. Within all teams, you need team players. Each person has special skills and attributes and each role can provide different resources to others. In order to build cohesion, you’ll need to ensure that every member has the proper resources available, knows how to use them and also knows how to help out as a resource for others.
- Make everyone a leader. I know what you’re thinking, “easier said than done” but really, it’s quite easy. Most sales teams run into the problem of “too many chiefs and not enough Indians” where each person is out with eyes on their own quota and bonuses; but this can cause problems. Instead, ensure that each person’s own unique skills and abilities are put to use. In order to do this, you’ll need to get on a personal level with your reps to understand their unique attributes better so that you can give them leadership roles.
- Use team-building competitions. Sales competitions can be a great way to build team spirit. They raise the levels of awareness, focus and drive across the board. Competitions can also be a great opportunity to get your rockstars to coach and mentor your core performers toward excellence. No matter what, you do not want the competitions to become divisive. So, focus on the positives and communicate success as a whole.
- Reward as a whole. Just as you want to communicate success as a whole, you will want to reward as a whole in order to build rather than break team spirit. Remember, there should be no “losers”. You can reward different prizes to each team but even the last-place finishers should receive something as a token of appreciation and to keep the whole thing fun. Most of the time, competitions are not about the value of the reward but rather they are about the fun of playing.
Build great company culture
Strong company culture has gone from a “nice to have” to a “must” as millennials have taken their place as the largest demographic in the workforce. Increasingly, employees desire a flexible work schedule and seek jobs with companies that they think are invigorating and inspiring, according to Fortune. They want to work for an organization that recognizes them as individuals, rather than cogs in the system.
- Hire for skill and fit. Every company has it’s own culture. At Google for instance, they call it Googliness… it’s not an easy word to describe but every employee knows what it is. Likewise, when you hire, you should be looking for employees who fit the vibe and culture of your company and have the required skills to not just succeed, but to excel.
- Have strong values. Your values define you, whether you realize it or not. Actions speak louder than words and if you want to build great culture, you’re going to have to walk the walk. Any company can write words like “customer comes first” but truly living the values requires dedication every single day. Decide who you want to be, create a roadmap to get there, lead by example and inspire everyone to follow. This is how you create and sustain great values.
- Contribute to everyone’s success. To every single employee, work is more than just work… it is a means to an end. Some will value professional development and some will value more time with family but regardless you will need to understand what drives each person and contribute to what they consider success. As the old African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together.” Help each other and build a culture of success and mutual support and it will lead you to great things.
- Make it fun! At the end of the day, everyone wants to have a job that is fun, rewarding and celebrates together. If you’re not having fun at work and if people are bored and frustrated, you will never achieve great company culture. This must start from the top and trickle down. If the employees see managers having fun, laughing, caring and making work enjoyable it will quickly spread to the rest of the company. Having fun at work is an absolutely essential part of building great culture; so, get out there, have fun, enjoy yourself and invite others to join in.