Great sales teams are like well-oiled machines. But even the best teams need regular “tune-ups” to ensure peak performance when selling products or services. Whether your business is large or small, here are 5 proven techniques you can use to keep your sales teams sharp and productive.
1. Reward top producers handsomely
Chet Holmes, in his book, “Ultimate Sales Machine,” tells a story where he walked into the CEO’s office to quit. The CEO jumped up on his desk and said, pointing down at him: “Chet, this is God talking and you are not leaving my company.” Then the CEO grabbed the bookkeeper and wrote Chet a check for $5k to stay. The takeaway is that top producers should never be taken for granted. Top producers deserve proper compensation, and money is a great way to acknowledge performance and keep salespeople motivated. Take the advice of Salesforce.com, “It’s important to keep your salespeople motivated, and it’s one of the best ways to keep your sales flowing.” After all, when salespeople have a great month the company has a great month.
2. Hold sales contests frequently
The members of top sales teams are competitive. And it’s important to feed that competitive spirit by holding sales contests on a regular basis. Many companies hold monthly sales contests that offer modest rewards such as an iPad or a trip to Las Vegas. This creates a competitive environment that gets both sales persons and teams motivated. Taking the time to hold contests regularly also shows the sales force that the company is genuinely interested in their success. If your company does trade shows, a great way to turn up the competition is to buy some flat screen TVs for your booth and award them to the people who closed the most sales at the end of the show.
3. Hold workshops with the product experts
Sales teams sell better when they have a more thorough understanding of the product or service they’re pitching. To that end, it’s a smart practice to hold workshops with the experts to give sales teams a better appreciation of what the product does, how it benefits the customer, and how much thought, effort and expense has gone into it. It also helps to remind sales teams and individuals that there are people that know more than they do, as sales people by nature have egos. When they realize that they don’t know everything about the product or service, they will be motivated to learn more and become more of an expert, as that extra knowledge can improve salesforce productivity.
4. Keep the pitch or presentation fresh and sharp
To keep sales teams on their toes it’s important to revisit their pitches or presentation every month or so to keep them fresh and sharp. This is best done in a workshop setting where sales people and teams have a forum to offer feedback based on client reactions and openly and honestly discuss adjustments in the presentation that could help it flow better. This practice brings sales teams into the process and gives every sales person a voice, which makes them feel valued and appreciated as an important member of the team.
5. Cultivate an open sales culture
As motivated and goal oriented as your sales teams are the fear of failure can hold individual members of the team back and stunt their goals. Cultivating an open sales environment where sales professionals are encouraged to take risks without the fear of failure is a great motivator and energizer. When failure is taken off the table, sales often soar as teams set bigger goals and find new and innovative ways to meet them.
As good as any individual technique may be to keep your sales teams sharp, nothing has a greater impact on sales and performance than management that is motivated, energized, and willing to get in the trenches with their sales professionals to work directly with them in achieving their goals.