It is important for the sales manager to know how to motivate the sales team through a rough patch.
Any sales manager can tell you about a time when sales were down and so were the outlooks of the members of the sales team. Every sales team goes through a rough patch now and then. The rough patch can be for any number of reasons: the economy might be in a slump, there might be some bad press about your product or service, or the competition has upped their game and you find your team floundering. Whatever the reason, it is important for the sales manager to know how to motivate the sales team through these troubling times.
As the old saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining. Sometimes it is just hard to find it. As you look for ways to motivate your sales team, you need to find the good news. If the reason that your team is suffering low sales is due to the economy, make an effort to look for economic bright spots. You may need to really search. Bad news sells so most major media outlets rarely focus on good news or positive outlooks. But there is always some good news somewhere and you need to find it and then help your team focus on whatever the good news may be.
When times are tough and you are looking for ways to motivate your sales team, you need to really increase your coaching. Look for new ways to motivate the team. If it looks like the down turn is something that could last a while, you may need to change your incentive program as a way to motivate your team. Celebrate every success no matter how small. The last thing you want is for your sales team members to come across as desperate when they meet with potential clients. Work to keep everyone calm and motivate the sales team so they keep their heads in the game. Take the time to build self-esteem and share stories of other times when you have had to weather hard times and, ultimately, succeeded. Whatever you do, do not start berating your sales team for not succeeding. It can be very difficult to climb out of an economic slump. In addition, if you start rebuking your team, the slump will only become worse and harder to overcome.
Instead of struggling against the slump, use the time to train and retrain you sales team. Training and development are some of the best ways to motivate a sales team. By taking the time to provide training and development opportunities, not only will you end up with a superior team, your team will feel more positive in their outlook about you, the company and their abilities. You will be showing the sales team that, despite the rough times, you know they are skilled and are worth the investment of additional training. To motivate the sales team, you need to show them that you have not given up on them or their ability to succeed. You can also have each member of the sales team provide an in-house training session on the skills that they are particularly good at. Hold meetings more frequently to brainstorm ideas that can help the team through the slump.
It is very rare when a rough patch lasts a very long time. The slump may feel like it is never going to end when you are in the middle of it, but it will end eventually. As the sales manager, it is important that you continue to motivate your sales team by remaining positive and upbeat, continuing and increasing your coaching efforts, and by using the time to invest in the skill development of your team. With this approach, you can make it through any rough patch.
Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.