Sales Management | Sales Techniques

Team Motivation Is About Better Engagement – And It Increases Sales

engaged sales team

How Engaged Is Your Sales Team?

I was asked once during a board meeting to describe how engaged my sales team was. At the time the company was kicking goals and sales were significantly up. I remember making vague references to the positive culture, low turnover and excellent sales results. I think I even said people smiled a lot and seemed to be happy most of the time; but I couldn’t claim to have an objective measure of engagement. Looking back I don’t think it was a big deal what engagement score my team had because everything was going well and we all knew it. Nevertheless teams evolve, environments change, management changes and there are good years and bad years. Changes in levels of engagement are inevitable. It’s the serious and direct correlation between engagement and selling results which makes it essential that every sales leader has a reasonable and somewhat empirical sense of the engagement levels and can do something about them.

Engagement in a sales person or sales team is directly correlated with sales growth, sales effectiveness and customer loyalty.  You want engaged people working for you.

There are some time tested measures of employee engagement.  I believe the key elements can be summarized into 3 broad observations:

  1. People are very clear about what they are expected to do and believe they have the right tools.
  2. People believe they are valuable and appreciated by their supervisor/manager and the organization.
  3. People seek personal and professional development and believe opportunities are provided.

To get a more accurate sense of what’s going on it is worth digging deeper. Below I have listed some questions which you could take to individuals within your team or perhaps the team as a whole during a safe team building exercise. These questions have been largely inspired by Q12 work done by the Gallup Organization.   In the competitive world of sales you can’t have people who just plod along from week to week; obvious engagement and enthusiasm is essential.

  • Do you understand your role and how to do it well?
  • Have you been given the right tools to do your job?
  • Can you do your best everyday or are there things that get in the way?
  • Are you appropriately recognized or appreciated for the work you do?
  • Do you feel like a person who matters or just another employee?
  • Can you think of people who are interested in your success and help you?
  • Are your ideas and suggestions taken seriously?
  • Does the company stand for something which gives you a greater sense of purpose?
  • Do your colleagues treat their jobs with pride and seek quality results?
  • Do you keep your personal and professional life very separate?
  • Are you the sort of person who looks for personal and professional growth?
  • Do you get opportunities in the workplace for the growth you are seeking?

Notice that like many human phenomena, engagement is based on some quite subjective perceptions. Fortunately any perceptions which are not helpful can be adjusted relatively quickly if you use the right approach.  Even if you work within a dysfunctional organization you can reach agreement within your team for a higher level of awareness and achievement and you can create a sense of pride for the “higher consciousness” and the “deeper levels of interpersonal respect” and of course celebrate the resultant sales success.

Here are seven steps for quickly improving engagement:

1) Be open with your team, position your strengths and weaknesses as a manager and explain your genuine intentions and visions for success.

2) Create a common language within the team that signals it is time for candor, non-judgmental sharing and respect.

3) Explore what it means to trust each other and examine anything which might be undermining this.

4) Either as a team or one to one, revisit team member strengths (both professional and personal) and consider ways in which they might be deployed or further developed.

5) Undertake formal written goal setting around professional development and utilization of individual strengths.

6) Formalize a process for having team and individual conversations around success or improvement.

7) Properly address team and individual challenges but be clear about where your influence and the influence of the team begins and ends.

The take home message is that understanding the state of engagement of your sales team is a big opportunity for managers and supervisors, but it can also be unnecessarily overwhelming and even stressful for managers who choose to ignore it or who struggle to know how to deal with it.

 

 

 

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