In your my last post we began our discussion on sales and the management of sales people. I pointed out that in managing sales people you’ll actually be dealing with three distinctly different situations.
The first was the poor performers and all the problems that they bring to an organization. But now I would like to shift our attention to the group that is mostly ignored by management which are the high performers.
If you’re looking for a prompt increase in sales a good way to get it is to divert some attention from the mediocre group to the high performance group. It’s much easier to coach a successful person to even better performance than to get a mediocre performer to begin succeeding.
The bottom line is that the only real motivation is self-motivation. You cannot take control of someone else’s thinking. Motivate them and keep them motivated purely through your external influence. The motivation that helps the sales professional achieve peak performance comes mostly from within.
As a manager or a business owner, you should concentrate on providing an environment and an opportunity where a person can develop that self-motivation and a set of good business tools for the motivated performers use.
Accountability is also important. You need to obtain detailed, frequent reporting from your sales people that you can analyze to identify strengths and weaknesses in their performance, prospects or types of prospects being neglected, customer service problems and other situations that you can take action to prevent or correct.
Management’s toughest and most important job is the collection of accurate information about what’s actually going on out there on the sales battlefield. Some sales managers like to use special contests and incentive programs to motivate and reward their sales people.
I think the overall results of such programs are disappointing management more often than not and I believe I’ve identified one common error in structuring these programs. Many contests and incentives base the winning on end results, sales volume, number of accounts, etc. However, for a contest to serve multiple purposes, to motivate, to teach, to affect behavioral changes in the sales people it should focus more on the activities that produce desirable results than on the results themselves.
For example, contest points might better be based on the number of complete presentations made to qualified prospects than on the number of new accounts put on the books.
Do you know what one of the best things management can do to increase the performance for most sales people? I’ll be covering that in my next blog post in just a couple of days.