When was the last time your team of sales reps came skipping into the office, whistling a happy tune and talking excitedly about their day? Probably never.
Unfortunately, the majority of people don’t feel happy or satisfied in their jobs. In fact, 70% of workers are actively disengaged at their jobs, according to a recent Gallup poll of American workers. So how do you improve morale and ensure your sales team is the exception to the rule? As a sales manager, you can make changes at work to increase rep’sengagement, making them happier, more enthusiastic and more successful employees.
1. Let Reps Narrow Their Focus
Multitasking is now ubiquitous, as technology allows everyone to check emails during meetings or do research online during a call. But, in fact, multitasking can hurt work efficiency by creating constant distractions. Instead of focusing on one thing, reps focus a fraction of their attention on multiple things at once. About 66% of people say they’re unable to focus on one task at a time at their job – which can overwhelm and distract workers on a daily basis.
Stop the multitasking madness and encourage sales reps to focus completely on one activity at a time – whether it’s the preparation, execution or follow-up on a sales call. Ban cell phones from meetings and don’t interrupt your reps with coaching, emails or other distractions every day. Instead, set aside time each week for one-on-one meetings that focus intensely on one aspect of sales they can improve. You’ll get more out of a single, focused meeting than 20 comments your reps hear with half an ear throughout a normal day.
2. Give Clear Feedback – Both Negative and Positive
Happy, engaged employees are confident in their work, and receive constant feedback on their progress from supervisors. It’s important to critique your sales rep’s performance and offer advice for improvements on a regular, consistent basis. However, it’s equally important to recognize great performance and reward hard work. You want your employees to feel valued by both their manager and the overall organization.
For sales reps, this is fairly easy to do. You can offer a variety of incentives to reps that reach or surpass their sales goals for the month, as well as the weekly sales coaching to work on ongoing challenges for each rep. The sales critique should be straightforward, transparent and based on sales performance metrics, not just your personal opinions. Using data to back up coaching removes the negative emotions, because you’re backing up your advice with hard facts. Your team will appreciate the honest criticism, and the recognition of a job well done.
3. Allow Time for Breaks
The high volume of sales calls your reps make each day can be incredibly draining for even the best reps. They need to be constantly “on” – ready to answer any question knowledgably, prove the value of a product to anyone from a manager to a CEO, and more. If a call goes badly – or even if a call goes well – many reps need to take a break to relax and refresh between calls.
Encouraging your team to take breaks when they need it can immediately improve morale. Tell your reps to go for a walk, get a coffee, or even play a quick game of ping pong to unwind. They’ll brag to friends about their flexible and fun office environment, enjoying every minute they get to relax on the clock. But it’s not just about their happiness – giving your team this flexibility allows them to be refreshed and ready for the next call and will improve sales results.
4. Encourage Creative Thinking
Up to 70% of employees complain about a lack of creative and strategic thinking at their jobs, and that is a big problem. This means your team could be missing out on fantastic ideas because they’re too bogged down in the mundane details of their job. In order to get employees invested and excited about work, you have to allow them the freedom to try new things and experiment a little.
For sales reps, that means giving creative leeway on the sales pitch, and allowing reps to suggest and try out new sales tactics. It’s up to you as a manager to create an environment where creativity and new ideas can thrive. You have to encourage people to pitch their ideas to you and give them a chance, even if they don’t always work out perfectly. This will also help your team learn more quickly, to adapt and improve their selling.
5. Give Room to Grow
Every sales rep wants to know the path for advancement at the company, and the most engaged employees are often those that are working to get a promotion. Unfortunately, 48% of people say there is no opportunity for learning and growth at their company. If the opportunity for growth on your team is stagnant, your reps will respond by putting less effort into their jobs. In order to fix this, you should create an aggressive path for growth on your team.
Make sure you encourage your employees to improve, rewarding the most promising reps with promotions and raises, as appropriate. In contrast, you should also not hold back from firing reps that aren’t performing up to your team’s standards. This will help your entire team motivate themselves, because they will clearly see the drawbacks to coasting along and the benefits of working hard.
Sales teams can sometimes become negative places to work, where employees dread coming into the office each day. But you can change that attitude, and boost your team’s morale with just a few changes. By cutting back on multitasking, giving constant guidance, allowing flexibility and rewarding hard work, you’ll see your sales team transform into a fantastic place to work.