One of the patterns I see over and over again in our qualitative data from sales reps is that great sales managers are leaders who are able to motivate them. When we straight-out ask people what their sales leader does best they often say things like these real-life responses:
“He motivates us and pushes us to be better sales reps.”
“She keeps me motivated.”
“She motivates the team to accomplish personal and professional goals.”
“He motivates me to work hard for myself, and I do in turn for him.”
This is great! We now know that great sales leaders motivate their sales reps! Mission accomplished!
But wait…what does it mean to motivate? How do I do that?
Never fear! By mining our data, we’ve been able to extract the top five behaviors of managers who are the most effective at motivating their sales reps to higher performance (you can check out the details of this research by reading here). If you’re a sales manager who is interested in doing more to motivate your sales reps, here’s what you should do:
1. Get To Know Your Reps
Take the time to get to know each rep on your team on a personal level. Information you gather during personal interactions helps you tailor your approach to motivating, encouraging, and pushing your reps in ways that suit them individually.
2. Model How To Handle Stress
When things get tough, we look to our leaders to help dictate us through the choppy waters. By modeling how to navigate stress and obstacles, sales managers serve as real-life examples of how reps can also excel during stressful and unchartered situations (such as those often created when looking for ways to motivate and challenge your team).
3. Give Reps Feedback That Helps Them Sell More
Sales reps tell us that receiving feedback that is clearly seen as resulting in increased sales is motivating. Make sure your feedback is specific, purposeful, practical, and applicable. When reps experience success based on your input, it makes them want to experience even more success.
4. Use Your Reps’ Best Skills and Abilities
When you identify where your rep’s best skills and abilities lie, you can then put them other situations where they can find success. When reps feel like they are being placed in situations that give them a win, they are motivated to keep winning.
5. Individually Care About Your Reps
Reps want to perform at a higher level when you show your interest, concern, and investment in them. By making genuine and consistent efforts to build a personal relationship, you are encouraging your reps to trust your guidance, work through growth experience you provide them, and simply perform at a higher level because of your personal investment in them.
The central theme to these behaviors is that there is huge importance to having a strong personal relationship with your sales reps. Our findings show clear support for the critical need for managers to take deliberate (yet sincere) steps to spend time and energy creating connections with their sales reps that move beyond the nuts and bolts of acquiring sales.
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