As a small business manager, you know nothing is more crucial to success than an inspired, hard-working sales team. Without sales, your business would not exist, so motivating your sales team is a given.Establishing a system of objectives and incentives can help your team and your business succeed.
However, setting those sales goals isn’t always straightforward. Ask too much of your team members, and they may grow disheartened.Ask too little of them, and they might stop striving. Here’s how to strike a balance that will make every team member a top performer:
Make realistic goals
We each have a certain stress threshold that determines our mood and behavior. Goals can give your team a sense of purpose and achievement, but too much stress could derail them from reaching their targets. Finding your team’s stress threshold is important to keeping each member motivated, and creating realistic goals can help with this.
Start by setting short-term goals, which keep the margin of error limited.After evaluating the team’s progress, make adjustments as necessary. Try initiating a goal range for rewards, starting at 75-80% of the target sales rate and capping earnings to meet your budgetary needs. Tracking the team’s progress will help you determine if the goals need to be altered over time.
Allocate leads fairly
The process by which you allocate leads (or incentives, or territory) should be transparent, consistent and objective.Even the most naturally enthusiastic employees could deflate when they feel that management is unfair, especially when it could impact their earnings.
Traditionally, the most objective allocation systems are also the most sophisticated, informed by factors such as individual and team performance, competition across territories, and market growth and potential. As a small business owner, you can simplify your strategy, but it should still account for every particularity that impacts your output and your sales team. Once you determine your system, communicate it to the entire team and do not deviate from it.
Getting feedback from your sales team can be a fantastic resource. Since they are the ones talking to customers and trying new techniques, they are full of information that could help your business reach its goals.
Having a say in the process can also help create a team that is more engaged and loyal to the company. Using the sales team’s feedback when setting goals will not only keep everyone inspired, but also position your business to make more money as the team consistently reaches their goals.
Be an example
“Do as I say, not as I do,” does not work for small businesses owners.Having a small team makes it more difficult to withstand negative employee scrutiny. Replacing employees takes time and money that your business may not have to spare, so it is all the more vital to keep the team happy.
Leading by example is easier said than done, so it’s essential to get specific. Start by writing down a detailed description of an exceptional salesperson. List personal characteristics and daily activities; situate your hypothetical salespeople in challenging environments and describe their responses. Then, make a point of embodying your best employee—and your best self.
Haley Radeka is a student at the University of South Florida studying Mass Communications and Leadership Studies. She is also a writer for Michigan State University and the University of Florida on leadership, business, hospitality and education. You can follow her on twitter @haleyradeka