Working in sales can be a lonely place, especially when conversions are few and far between. Knowing that, ultimately, the success of the business rests of your shoulders is a heavy burden to carry – it takes a special person to be able to perform under such pressure.
Some people are naturals when it comes to sales, while others require time to bed into it. There is nothing quite like the thrill of clinching a deal. For many employees, their value is determined by the quality and quantity of work that they produce whereas, for salespeople, their value is solely based on how much money they bring into the company. There is no hiding place and if sales are down, so is your worth to the business.
It sounds cut-throat and, in many respects, it is. However, it is important to remember that a good salesperson doesn’t become bad overnight. Everyone suffers from a drop every now and then, but knowing that they have the support of their team is what gets them through those slow periods and, once again, enjoying purple patches.
Every business has past hires that they look back on and regret. It is part and parcel of business but hiring a bad salesperson can be costly to companies. That’s why a solid sales recruitment strategy is the backbone of every successful business, as hiring self-driven employees that don’t require micromanaging can be almost left to it.
Whether hiring experienced or new salespeople to your sales team, having a clear idea as to how they will fit in with the overall strategy of the business is key. While having pro-active sales teams that require little managing is advantageous, they should always be given some kind of direction.
Salespeople are driven by financial gains. Let’s not beat around the bush about it – the single biggest motivator for a salesperson is their commission. They know that the bigger the sale for the business, the bigger the slice they will take for themselves. As a business, it is up to you how you set commission rates and how you go about deciding how that is split between sales teams (where more than one salesperson may be responsible for the sale).
Many businesses go one step further when it comes to commission, and that is by opening up sales roles based solely on commission where this is little to no actual basic income. This means that, if a salesperson fails to sell, they will not be earning very much. From a business perspective, this is seen as a low-risk recruitment strategy as you are only paying for what you get. However, on the flip side is that you may risk losing top performers in favour of better security elsewhere.
Non-financial motivators may include small rewards for things like best leads, most calls made and/or most sales. Something that all members of the team can strive towards for some level of recognition from the company, which may ultimately yield lucrative gains in the form of more sales.
Provide regular reviews and feedback through sales meetings with the team, as well as through one-on-one catch-ups. Going back to our earlier point at providing direction, use this as an opportunity to work with the members of your sales team, particularly those that may not be performing as well, to re-focus their efforts into something that may prove more rewarding.
Good performers like to hear that they are doing well, as it spurs them on to continue their good work, whereas sometimes potentially difficult conversation need to be had with those that are not contributing as much as they should be.
Sometimes, all that is required is a little nudge in the right direction to get a salesperson back on track.