How do you keep Sales motivated in a tough marketplace? Step one, don’t beat them up and tell them how badly they are doing. Step two, create a project to engage other parts of the business to work out as a team what can be done to increase sales.
Talk to Customer Services, Marketing and yes even Finance. Don’t forget the less obvious functions such as Logistics, Manufacturing and product development too. Get a different take on customers that can be used to change how things are done. Functions that have never been asked for input before can come up with some great information. Here are just a few real examples from my own clients:
From a Field service engineer: Customer XX told me that he doesn’t give us more business because we ask him to press too many buttons on his phone to get through to a human being who can take an order.
From Manufacturing: We know that product XXX has a high failure rate and customers get angry with it but no one has ever listened to us before.
From Finance: We’ve been told by several very large customers that we provide far too many low value invoices which cost them a lot of money to process. Those large customer said they just want one invoice.
From Product Development: My cousin works for XXXX who Sales want as a customer – I’m sure he can help.
A challenging business environment is a great opportunity to pull together the whole organisation to help and support Sales. With the extra knowledge gained processes and products will be improved. Marketing may also discover some new ways to stand out from the competition too. Most importantly Sales staff will be able to build better relationships with customers and therefore improve results.
Perhaps equally important good Sales staff will be more encouraged to stay with a company that helps them rather one that just beats them up.