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How To Effectively Motivate Your Team

The year is coming to an end, but there's still time to close those last deals, get decision-makers to commit and sign the proper paperwork. But with the final weeks of the year, you also have holidays, family obligations, and the dreaded senior slide effect. We know it can be challenging to keep your sales team motivated when some of them want to slide for the rest of the year. We've compiled a list of ways to keep your team motivated during the home stretch.

Where do your Salespeople Fit?

If you didn't see our blog on time management around the holidays, that's a good one to read along with this list. First, there are three different buckets your salespeople can fall into:

  • The Long Shot - someone who is way behind on their number and doesn't think they can make a goal.
  • The Bullseye - someone on target or near their target number.
  • The All-Star - someone who is way over the goal.

Each one of these buckets needs to be motivated differently.

The Long Shot

Someone who is behind goal already knows that - trust us; they don't need you to remind them all the time. Chances are they are thinking something along the lines of "What's the point in getting these last few deals in? I'm never going to hit my goal anyway. I'm just going to save it all for next year." This type of thinking can seriously hurt the business overall.

As a sales leader, this is the time you need to spend with them. You need to get together with your underperformers and identify the opportunities that they can still complete. You'll need to stress with them that just because they aren't going to hit their overall target, that doesn't mean those numbers aren't still significant to the company and their performance.

You must work with them to help identify specific things that they can do to close those deals before the end of the year. Get them to commit to specific actions on those opportunities and follow up to make sure they are executing. If they don't have many opportunities, try having them focus on the activities or building the pipeline so they are in a good position to start next year. Put yourself in their shoes and try to see things from their perspective. Figure out how to reward and recognize them. Do what you can to celebrate the small wins. Make sure efforts don't go unnoticed. Find gains where you can and be positive. As the leader, sometimes you have to be the one to bring forth the positivity even when no one else sees it.

The Bullseye

These are the salespeople on your team who need a gentle nudge or a small reminder. Remind them there is a bonus or a special reward waiting for them when they reach that target or surpass the target. These players know they are close to their goal, so they will be thrilled if you sit down with them for a minute and ask how you can help or how you can assist them.

Keep your team motivated and talk about the accelerator in the compensation plan if you have one, such as receiving that extra $5,000 they could make if they hit goal. Or remind them about the winner's trip or the president's club. All those prizes will help them stay focused and on track to the winner's circle.

The All-Star

These are your senior sliders or your sandbaggers. They have reached their numbers and no longer want to try anymore. Seeing who is doing this takes some inspection by the sales leader. But some incentives for this All-Star like an accelerator in the compensation plan for anything over goal can be effective. You, as a sales leader, can set up contests or give quota credit for next year. Put the focus on maximizing your accelerators and bonuses. Like the person who is under goal, inspect the deals they have and get them to commit to specific actions on deals you feel they can close before the end of the year. Challenge them to hit a new, higher goal. Overperformers love a target to chase. Tell them you will buy him or her dinner with their significant other if they hit the new goal. That will be a small price to pay for the overperformance.

Regardless of what bucket your salespeople are sitting in, it's your job to reignite that fire and recognize everything they have done that year so far. Keeping your team motivated and not letting them slack off will go over well with your team and your company.

About Gary Braun

Gary is a founder and co-owner of Pivotal Advisors. He has worked for 20+ years as a salesperson and sales leader. Gary has been a guest speaker for many groups such as Vistage, Allied Executives, CEO Roundtable, Sales Management Association, and more. If you want to find out more about Gary check out his profile here.
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