How do you motivate your sales team to increase morale?

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Answered by: Paul, An Expert in the Human Resources - General Category
To motivate your sales team team, follow these three steps:

1) Identify problem. First, is there a problem? If your team is already motivated and working effectively, there will be more damage then healing if you start arbitrarily tinkering around. It’s best to leave fixing to that which is broken. The way you identify a problem is to carefully develop and maintain trusting relationships with every employee. If a manager does not genuinely care about the well-being of those placed under his or her responsibility they will invariably create dysfunction and frustration for everyone involved.

Proper time and commitment must be invested to sitting down with each and every employee to see how they are doing. It is strongly recommended that the manager of any sales team frequently go into the field with their team. It doesn’t matter what kind of team it is, telephone, door-to-door, or otherwise, it is vital that the manager rolls up their sleeves and gets to work shoulder-to-shoulder with those they manage. If this is done, problem will always be anticipated and identified rapidly and efficiently.

2) Identify causes. Every problem has a reason, silly or otherwise, for why it has appeared. It might be external, perhaps there is negative tension between the team members. Maybe there’s a bully who, through patterns of aggressive behavior, is tearing down everyone’s morale. Or perhaps it is internal, an employee experiencing general anxiety disorder or mild depression, in which case there are little on-the-job things you can do.

3) Identify solutions. If there’s a bully, correct their behavior through a short, frank discussion. If that doesn’t work, it may be necessary to dismiss them. Sometimes simply transferring an employee fixes the problem. New environments do wonders to even the toughest cases. Now if there’s anxiety issues your choices are somewhat limited. You can try talking to them, but its possible they need a psychologist. If that’s the case, consult the employee’s history. If they are worth the investment, by all means send them to the good doctor. But if they are not, don’t feel obligated to retain them simply because they are depressed, and you don’t want the guilt of making someone who’s blue even bluer—remember, such individuals can create major dysfunction in even the most well-oiled sales teams.

To generally motivate your sales team, consider the most effective method—competition. Studies show again and again the power of healthy competition. Reward when possible, punish when necessary, and competition will appear organic and motivating. If rewards is beyond current ability, separate team members into groups.

By locating problems, discovering their causes, and identifying solutions, any persistent manager will eliminate most morale issues that can ever arise. The key is to keep a close eye on how each individual member of a team is doing. When even a single person develops a negative attitude it will quickly infect the rest of the team. If such problems can be identified and eliminated quickly, morale will improve, and increased morale means increased profits, every time.

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