Do you feel like 2020 lasted ten years instead of just one? If you do, you're not alone. With everyone anticipating a new year's turn, it can be difficult to keep your sales team engaged, especially with all of the zoom fatigue and pandemic burnout. As a leader, you can’t just rely on your team being intrinsically motivated, leaving it up to them to engage. Sometimes your team may be inherently motivated. But what happens when they aren't as engaged?
According to Global Workplace Analytics, "the remote workforce has increased by 140% since 2005." With remote work being so prevalent, it can be difficult to gage your team’s motivation or engagement. Before, you could walk by their desk or see their participation in a meeting and pick up on the non-verbal cues quickly. Now you need to be more intentional in looking for them.
Thankfully, you can see your team and pick up on non-verbal cues and body language with many video platforms. You can also consider how responsive they are. Are they actively participating in the meetings? How long is it taking them to respond back to emails and texts?
Another key indicator is if they are hitting their activity metrics. Are they having as many calls and meetings with customers as they are supposed to? If they aren't doing the things you are asking them to do, that could be a sign of low motivation.
Lastly, if you see behaviors that are out of the ordinary, that is an indicator that you should ask questions to find out more about what may be impacting them.
We all have waves of motivation, it will ebb and flow. At any given time, you will have team members who are struggling to get motivated. As a leader, you can use these ten ways to help reboot their engagement.
In your one-on-ones, ask how your salesperson is doing. Be genuine and try to understand how they are really feeling. The more rapport you build with your team, the more willing they will be to share. Once they do, if they are struggling with something, help them brainstorm ways to resolve what is happening. You may need to involve your human resources team to connect them with the resources they need. Allowing them to speak freely allows for trust to be developed. You may not be able to fix anything, but even the small things you do, and this check-in goes a long way.
Most people like structure and need some level of organization to be able to perform at their best. Keep your Sales Operating System in place and the consistent cadence of communication. If you schedule impromptu calls and meetings, it can be distracting and potentially cause more stress than good. Things will come up, and you will need to add ad hoc meetings sometimes, but have that be the exception and not the rule.
Positive and immediate feedback is one of the best ways to drive motivation and shape behavior. When you see something good, say something. Have Senior Leadership share highlights in company meetings. Or have them recognize your sales team with the entire organization.
Sometimes we can go right to trying to solve the issue rather than really understanding its root. There could be several layers you need to uncover. Listen with the goal of really hearing and understanding. Don't just be thinking about what you are going to say next. Use your discovery skills to dig deeper and find out the real issues, not just the symptom.
Good things are still happening, find them and make them a big deal. Allow your team to recognize each other to bring to light the good work people are doing that you may not have seen. Create a ritual or a virtual gong you can ring to enhance the celebration.
According to Teresa M. Amabile author of The Progress Principle, "Small wins can give people an enormous boost emotionally, and can really raise their level of intrinsic motivation for what they're doing and lead to creativity." Which leads to higher productivity.
It seems the blend of work and life are intertwined now more than ever. The 8 – 5 workday may not be the only option for your team, especially for those with school-aged children who are in distance learning programs. Find out what times of day your team may be doing non-work-related things.
Can they work later in the evening or on the weekends and still meet business deadlines and requirements? Find the optimal work schedule for the individual and the company. A recent SHRM showed that "82% percent of employed Americans would be somewhat or very willing to work more hours over four days instead of working fewer over five."
The American Heart Association recommends laughter for a healthy heart. They added that research has shown laughter promotes reduced artery inflammation and increased HDL production, or "good" cholesterol. Laughter does the heart good. Think of ways to infuse it into your sales team meetings. Enroll the creative people on your team to generate ideas or have a 'fun committee' who can plan engaging events.
Have a virtual happy hour for people to connect or play games. There are many apps like Words with Friends, Psych!, and Scrabble Go that you can play with your team. You can create a funny meme account for your team, or even send a quick TickTok video before the meeting.
If people aren't doing what you ask and you think they might not be engaged, find out before making assumptions. They may have missed an email or done something incorrectly but start by giving them the benefit of the doubt. Find out what is going on before jumping to conclusions.
Life can get overwhelming and depending on your business' seasonality, there are times when salespeople have a lot on their plate. Be clear on what you expect from them and what are the priorities of the business. Are there things they are spending time on that is not moving the business forward?
As you look to have them focus on driving the activities that will increase sales, consider the non-revenue generating things they can stop doing. Maybe some of your meetings could be an email. One of the biggest wastes of time is unproductive meetings or meetings where you talk about the same things over and over. According to Lucid Meetings Blog, "A recent group of studies shows there are between 36 and 56 million meetings per day. Ineffective meetings cost the US economy between $70 to $283 billion." Now that's a lot of money. To learn how to run an effective meeting, see our blog, "How to Run an Effective Team Meeting."
You can't give what you don't have. According to Forbes, "Fortunately, there's a proven way to ward off stress in your life: self-care. The term has been around for decades, but it's seen a resurgence in our tech-driven, always-on society. That's because self-care is necessary for our physical, mental, and emotional health. It shouldn't be surprising that self-care can help us become more productive as well."
Find ways to unplug and manage your stress level. For many, the daily commute, which provided time to decompress, is gone. Think of other ways to incorporate downtime into your schedule. Use apps like Calm to focus on different areas of wellness. We are better leaders when we have given ourselves time and space to decompress and recharge.
Having an engaged and motivated sales team helps with job satisfaction, retention, and ultimately drives the business in the right direction. Which way is your sales team heading? What can you do as a leader to course correct or continue in a positive trajectory?