According to a Gallup survey, employees work 20% better when motivated. And let’s not forget that a salesperson’s job is no cakewalk: the sales department of a company is notorious for having one of the most highly pressurized environments, whether the company is doing well or not.
That’s the reason why you’ll often find salespersons being highly charged, quick-talking, preoccupied…in a great team environment, this gets masked by high energy, camaraderie and laughter. The danger lies in the pressure taking over the rewards each salesperson finds in their job: that’s where the lack of motivation starts seeping in.
The real problem is that it never happens in an identifiable instant, and the employee will definitely not come and tell you “Hi boss, I’m just not feeling motivated these days”, at least not until it’s too late and already impacting your small business growth in some way.
Speaking of which, you might wonder: what is too late? What happens when sales team motivation goes down? What are the consequences for the business?
The real dangers of low sales motivation
1. Lower sales numbers
This is the first place you’ll spot the impact of low motivation. With sales being such a highly demanding role, it isn’t enough for salespersons to simply show up to work every day: they need to give their 100% to bringing in and converting leads. As you can imagine, this is difficult if not impossible for someone who isn’t feeling motivated to do their best. Amongst other things, you’ll find that a demotivated sales person’s task lists end up staying incomplete, leads aren’t followed up with on time, and sales numbers start slipping pretty fast…which means you’re in danger of your entire pipeline (overlooked by that one representative) getting compromised.
2. Higher attrition
According to kylas.io, without a motivated sales team, you’re lacking people who have your company’s back and are looking to maximize conversions. Instead, you end up with employees who are just there for the job and the paycheck – especially dangerous in a performance-driven environment like sales. It won’t be very long before you single out such salespersons for their low sales numbers and have performance reviews that will tend to end in them leaving the company when all they needed was a little motivation. Not only did you lose out on sales, you possibly lost out on a great resource.
3. Unhealthy work culture
We mentioned earlier that a sales team tends to be a tightly-knit group – this works against your favour when one or more employees are feeling demotivated. Demotivation, when left unchecked and combined with a high-pressure environment, creates feelings of resentment and negativity – powerful emotions that often catch on through conversation and eventually affect the entire group. While it takes some time to get to this point, a manager that isn’t paying attention will find herself/himself with a team that’s altogether frustrated.
4. Missed company targets
Beyond the low sales numbers and frustrated employees, you’re looking at the much bigger picture issue of missed sales targets at the company level. Managers can unintentionally take steps to push performance that only end up demotivating employees – setting a common goal for the entire team, favouring top performers, and using only monetary motivational tactics, for example. These cause lower performers to feel demotivated and eventually stop pushing targets, so you’ll see a direct impact in your monthly sales numbers.
| “Highly engaged teams increase profitability by 21%” – Gallup
Boosting the motivation of your sales team
There are plenty of tried-and-tested ways to boost your sales team’s motivation – our ‘Ultimate Guide to Sales Motivation’ looks at different types of motivation and different motivators that can help you take a hardcore approach to create a highly driven sales team.
If you’re still working remotely, as many companies are, you might find our guide on ‘How to Motivate Your Sales Team Remotely’ useful.
When it comes down to it though, sales motivation is not an optional or good-to-have, especially for small business growth. While you may not look at your sales team – however small – like a supercharged corporate one, they have all the same pressures as any sales professionals. Essentially, they need motivation.
As a small business, however, you have a whole host of options available to you for motivation. We’re not talking only the big ideas like a learning & development program or a rewards system, but plenty of smaller activities that can spice up day to day life in the office and keep your sales team pumped!
Let’s look at some of these light, fun ways to boost your sales team motivation.
5 Fun Ways to Boost Sales Motivation of your Team
1. Tournaments and contests
One thing lacking in small business sales teams is the competitive spirit of enterprise-level larger sales teams. While that competitive spirit can get cutthroat, it also encourages and motivates sales representatives to give their 100% and outdo their peers for the sake of their targets.
Tournaments or competitions, in general, are a great way to bring out this competitive spirit and motivate your team with a boost of energy. Use a monetary incentive (or a reward worth a certain monetary amount) to incentivize and supercharge the atmosphere, but do make it aspirational.
Let’s look at a few types of contests you can run:
Split your sales team into groups that will compete against each other against a pre-defined goal, in a set time period. Try to split the teams with an equal number of strong representatives to keep things fair!
If you tend to have a lengthy sales cycle, look for micro-conversions or other sales success indicators that are significant enough to work for. Don’t make it too easy!
A few tips to make this kind of contest work for you:
- Pay attention to the level of skills as well as dynamics when picking teams – you could take this opportunity to improve dynamics among certain team members too
- Consider offering a team incentive rather than an individual incentive distributed to all winning representatives. The purpose of this type of contest is to promote team spirit too!
- Make sure you use a sales CRM to properly track the pipeline and micro-conversions…team competitions can get especially cutthroat and transparency is key
- Even as a small business if you have a large sales department, consider a tournament-style contest with multiple teams
This is the easiest type of contest you can run among your sales team. It’s an ideal one to motivate your team members while improving your small business growth. The rules of the contest are fairly straightforward – the salesperson to get the most Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) in a pre-determined time period (say, a month) wins. As with all contests, this needs to be incentivized but here you can get personal with your reward. Have a monetary amount for the reward, and offer team members the chance to choose something worth that amount that motivates them!
A few tips to run this kind of contest:
- You must have a clear, objective outline of what constitutes a Sales Qualified Lead so there’s complete transparency
- Use a sales CRM to track the SQLs in real-time, and so your team can better track and work on their own progress
- Put in any kind of ground rules as needed, in terms of how the sales process needs to run
Personal best sales contest
This is a low-key contest that’s great for gently motivating team members to improve their performance. The idea behind this is to get team members to beat their previous personal best sales record. Set a time limit to achieve this new personal record to create a sense of urgency.
A few tips to make this work:
- Pick one sales metric to track – it could be a previous personal best of SQLs, actual sales, etc. The easier the metric is to control and track (end sales, for example, may not be ideal because they can take time and don’t always come down completely to the skill of the salesperson), the more transparent the contest will be
- Start with a one-on-one review meeting – this contest is all about keeping things personal and motivating each salesperson individually
- Keep offering unbiased guidance and mentorship along the way, without actually helping the outcome
2. Mock pitch day
The concept of a mock trial is known even outside law circles – where a student or practicing lawyers hold practice trials for particular cases. This is a great way to help assess the many possible situations and outcomes, and their reactions to them while honing their skills and preparing them for real-life situations.
You can take the same practice and make it work for you in sales! It’s common knowledge that clients can react sometimes unpredictably or in a difficult manner to pitch calls. No matter how much you practice the pitch and possible outcomes, sometimes your team gets stuck in situations from which they don’t know how to manoeuvre a positive response.
A mock pitch day is a fun activity that also promotes learning for the whole sales team – everyone from all levels of the hierarchy come together to work through mock pitch scenarios set by a moderator (usually the sales manager or sales head). It’s also a great opportunity for some of the senior members in the team or company to get involved and showcase how situations can be handled – a rare opportunity otherwise for sales team members.
3. Add in a crazy task for the day
All sales team members are used to having a daily target or list to fulfil. They come in, have a look at the dashboard (in case of a sales CRM) and get to work making calls or following up with leads. More often than not, they have a particular lead to convert or qualify or a quantifiable target for the day.
Especially today, when in-person meetings are limited and salespersons are finding themselves in more of a desk job, this can get quite monotonous and eventually suck the fun out of sales.
So how do you break the monotony and motivate your team members to give their sales targets a fresh go?
We recommend coming in one day and adding a fun, non-sales related, crazy task or target for the day for each team member. Some examples include:
- For the team member who tends to keep to himself/herself: Plan a fun Friday activity for the coming week
- For the team member that is always busier-than-thou: Get together with (teammate XYZ) and create a playlist for the whole team to jam to all-day
- For the one who goofs off and never makes daily targets: Keep checking on (teammate XYZ) on his/her day’s targets and make sure they meet them one way or another!
These are light, very easy to execute and ensure that barely any time gets taken away from the actual sales activities of the day. And they’re just out-of-the-box enough to give the team something new and fun to think about or look forward to in the day!
4. Throw an occasional party
This is a common tactic to motivate sales teams, and it fails only on one occasion: when a team member or multiple team members are already demotivated. A party doesn’t fix a situation, but it’s a great way to keep everyone motivated before the pressures of a small business growth environment get to them.
We don’t recommend having a party set into the calendar every month; the idea is for it to feel impromptu and more exciting. Slot it into your quarterly budget, and then bring it up at a random team meeting like the thought just occurred to you!
Additionally, if your team works remotely, consider hiring a company like Escapely to host fun events like virtual murder mystery parties. Your team will have a blast as they interrogate live actors to solve the mystery.
5. Implement an entertainment program
Guess what most people do at the end of a long workday these days – Netflix and veg out on the couch. Movies, music, take out and drinks are universally associated with the idea of relaxing and blowing off steam. So why not make that atmosphere a part of your workday occasionally?
An entertainment program includes things like a movie night or an open mic night and can be implemented in the office itself. In fact, we encourage it – it helps the team associate their place of work with something other than their sales targets.
You’ll need to plan it out and make it a part of your budget, but it’s certainly not expensive or unheard of!
Tips for an entertainment program that works for your business:
- Have a budget in mind, and then plan the types of activities you can include based on that budget. An open mic night, for example, might require the use of actual AV equipment your small business may not already have
- Mix recreation with topicality: host movies that are intended to increase your sales team motivation (we have a list right here!)
- Make sure the program caters to everyone and everyone’s interests
In the end, remember the intention of the program is to motivate the team – not only blow off steam. So make it a point, as the sales head or sales manager, to have a quick pep talk with the team too: highlight some successes, some failures, and amp the team-up about giving a 100%.
| Unmotivated employees cost companies across the US up to $550 billion a year – Gallup
We hope we’ve supplemented you with a treasure trove of fun ideas to motivate your sales team. It’s common knowledge now that sales team motivation has a direct impact on the revenue a company makes. While you can put bigger ideas such as an incentive program in motion, some of these lighter, easier-to-execute activities are just what is needed on a more frequent, informal basis, and fit right into a small business growth culture.
As they say, prevention is the best cure – putting some of these fun measures in place helps you save all the trouble of having to motivate an already demotivated employee, which is definitely an uphill task often done in vain.
If you’d like to add to our list or have any questions at all, feel free to drop a comment below!