Is your sales department struggling with motivation while working from home? Capterra reveals 8 sales motivation tips from experts in Australia.
8 sales motivation tips to inspire remote sales teams
Lockdown rules may have relaxed a little with the government’s three-stage plan, but many offices remain closed. Most businesses in Australia have been able to continue their operations virtually through the implementation of remote work software. However, there is one thing that is much trickier to replicate from a home environment: Team camaraderie.
Equipping sales reps with the software they need, such as a quality CRM platform or sales enablement tool, will certainly help drive productivity. However, most sales professionals are used to working off the energy in the room. Working alone can make staying motivated that much harder—especially if business opportunities are slower than usual.
To inspire flagging sales reps, we’ve gathered a list of tips and best practices from a collection of sales leaders already applying them in their own teams.
1. Use slower sales months to facilitate upskilling
The term ‘upskilling’ refers to the process of training staff with further skills to enhance their current capabilities and improve work performance. Sales departments who find themselves less busy than usual should use this time to hone in on the additional skills they need for the bounce back.
In an office environment, sales managers can work from the same room as their team—giving them visibility over their employee’s skills gaps. When working from home, the opportunity to give spontaneous, in-person guidance isn’t available.
According to Roger Simpson, CEO from The Retail Solution, ‘helping and encouraging team members to grow is a huge motivator for most people, so this needs to continue while they work from home.’
Leaders need to have a conversation about sales training and upskilling with each team member and provide options for online learning as well as challenging team members to take ownership of this process themselves.
– Roger Simpson, CEO at The Retail Solution
As well as using traditional online training platforms, team members can join internal mentoring groups, or be assigned an individual mentor to challenge them.
2. Keep conversations flowing with clients
Their ability to spend might be on hold, but it’s important not to allow conversations with clients to stop. If your team is struggling to come up with fruitful conversations with concerned clients, consider what value you could offer them without any kind of monetary transaction.
One way of doing this is to make your team into a source for industry trends and market movements. This is what DXC Technology’s sales team have been practising during the lockdown.
Reach out to clients to understand how COVID-19 has disrupted their business. By gathering this feedback and analysing it, you can go back to customers with the common themes, prevailing sentiment and questions to keep them better informed on market movements.
– Tom Hammond, Industry Lead at DXC Technology
If a marketing department is available, they may also have the time and resources available to run market research too. These activities send a message to clients that you’re there to support them, but they also enable businesses to better align their solutions to the challenges clients are facing.
3. Make time for daily check-ins
More than ever, managers need to ensure they’re regularly checking in with employees and their wellbeing. After all, happy employees make for productive employees. Forbes reported that ‘happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees.’ Similarly, Harvard Business Review (HBR) said happiness has an even greater impact on sales teams, raising sales by 37%.
CEO of Lawn.com.au, Toby Schulz, suggests that managers should schedule weekly one-on-one time with individual team members.
It’s crucial to have solo time with your employees. It gives them the chance to genuinely let you know how they’re faring and what areas they may need help with.
– Toby Schulz, CEO at Lawn.com.au
A 30-minute window is a sufficient amount of time to problem-solve work issues, but also to lend an ear to their personal challenges. Video conferencing software works well in this instance, as you can hold a conversation face-to-face.
4. Stay connected (& have fun while doing it!)
Be it a birthday cake in the office or a company day out, it’s the small traditions that make staff feel like they’re a valued part of the team. But during times of change and increased stress, it can be easy for the things that help cultivate office culture to become an afterthought.
According to Capterra research (which was run during the initial stages of Australia’s COVID-19 lockdown response), social connectedness is a prominent issue for staff working from home. This stat highlights why finding opportunities to stay connected is even more crucial for a remote team.
While lockdown rules enable small groups to meet now in public places, a safe space isn’t always available to facilitate an entire team. Additionally, a salesperson may not be isolating in the same location as the rest of the team.
Here is where managers must be more creative with how they bring their sales team together.
Spend time on virtual team-building exercises, such as trivia, where you can break off into teams and engage inside channels to stimulate the feeling of comradery, even when you can’t physically be together.
– Madison Wappett, Sales Director at MiQ
With people spending the majority of their workday alone, it’s important to find ways to celebrate another work week together.
5. Let them find their own work rhythm
Another communication challenge Capterra’s remote work survey identified was employees experiencing too many digital messages. 27% of employees struggle with an overwhelming amount of information being communicated on their company channels.
The average person takes about 25 minutes to get back into the swing of things after they’ve been interrupted, according to a study by the University of California Irvine. Disturbances not related to the task employees are working on are more distracting than ones on-topic.
Considering these findings, it’s easy to see how the seemingly small interruptions could unintentionally take away a large amount of a person’s work day. It’s the role of the sales manager to ensure teams can work at peak productivity.
According to Stephen Findley, Account Executive at Qwilr, the key to successfully managing a remote team is to allow them to work asynchronously.
Allow your team to do their jobs uninterrupted for the vast majority of the day. They can then check their team’s collaboration tool for updates when they have a break.
– Stephen Findley, Account Qwilr
Create space for communication, without people feeling like they need to respond instantly. Managers should also monitor how they deliver key pieces of information to their team. A meeting that could have been an email may have been better spent talking to customers and prospects.
Selecting the right tools for remote communication:
- Video conferences tools work well for check-ins, team catch-ups and information that needs discussing face-to-face.
- Collaboration software is best suited for laying down key updates for the team to apply in their own time.
- Team communication tools are ideal for little moments of communication, within groups or individual chats.
6. Offer the right kind of sales motivation and celebrate wins
According to Brian Kropp from Gartner, celebrating success is even more important during periods of disruption. During change, an employee’s need for recognition increases by 30%.
There are plenty of ways in which you can reward deserving employees. For example, recognition can be in the form of a monetary bonus, a pay rise or a promotion. These are good examples of extrinsic motivation methods.
Intrinsic motivation focuses on motivating employees through ways that naturally satisfy them. For example, publicly acknowledging a sales rep lets them know the work they’re producing is meaningful. This is something that Joshua Strawczynski takes into account when managing his remote team at JMarketing.
People are often motivated far more by pride and recognition than they are any monetary reward. A good manager knows this and makes sure to publicly praise their team.
-Joshua Strawczynski, JMarketing
Positive reinforcement works well as a means to motivate employees in and out of the office. The idea is that it encourages them to continue delivering exceptional work. When a job well done goes unnoticed, it can have the opposite effect: Employees feel unappreciated and unmotivated.
7. Hold inspiration workshops
In our efforts to create rituals to keep sales teams motivated, our routine can sometimes become a little stale. Try mixing it up by bringing in external experts to hold inspiration workshops.
James Norquay from Prosperity Media has been taking this approach. The objective is to help his reps take inspiration from people who have achieved success against the odds.
Bring in external experts for motivational talks on Zoom (or your company’s alternative). We had a Paralympic Star come on and share inspiring stories with the team. This has been a great way to motivate the team and keep everyone on track whilst working from home.
– James Norquay, Prosperity media
Video conferencing software acts as a practical way to host feel-good workshops to motivate flagging teams.
8. Prepare them for a more flexible future
As Australia works towards a COVID-19 exit strategy, many businesses are beginning to consider what their team’s work environment and interaction will be like in six months.
Chief Commercial Officer at Salesforce Australia, Ian McAdam, warns businesses that a lack of remote working options could work against them. From a recruitment and staff retention perspective, for example, he says businesses run the risk of losing sales talent to competitors willing to offer this flexibility.
Continuing to provide flexible working arrangements for employees will help maintain a positive culture and assist in retention. We expect retention to increase in importance as the economy regains pace and we enter into a new phase featuring a war for talent”
– Ian McAdam, Salesforce Australia
87% of Australian employees want their employer to extend their work-from-home policy after the lockdown ends. Of this number, 54% said they’d prefer a combination of office-based and home working with going to the office, while 33% said they don’t want to go back to the office.
By making these decisions now, businesses will enable sales teams to work towards and mentally prepare for the next phase of COVID-19. It may also help ease any anxiety about transitioning back to ‘normal life.’