By Ryan Warren, Vice President of Marketing
When it comes to selling, some employees either have it or they don't. Top performers obviously have the best results, but in many cases, they can still improve sales productivity. Hiring the right employees can help any business stay profitable, but even the most highly motivated workers need to be given the right tools to succeed, especially when it comes to your sales staff. The best employees essentially pay for themselves because they deliver value to your organization. While hiring good people is a sufficient start to maximizing sales productivity, how can you motivate your team to deliver consistently great results?
Employees need goals, systems and processes to meet or exceed their sales quotas. No salesperson can achieve a maximum output in a poorly designed organization, according to an article by Matt Garrett in Entrepreneur. Even though top-performing sales people often go above and beyond the expectations, you may be able to encourage even more results with the right tools and processes. Here are some tips on maximizing employee performance to achieve sales optimization:
1. Tie company profit to each employee
In case you're unsure, this can be a helpful way to determine your most profitable employees. Who has the highest sales figures? Highest revenue per sale? You can set minimum standards for quality and performance to measure who is doing the best, Garrett wrote. This kind of model can instill a healthy sense of competition among your sales team.
2. Take a blended approach to employee engagement
You can catch more flies with honey, but stay tough on employees for best sales numbers. Many studies have indicated that happy, engaged employees produce the best work. However, if you kill your team with kindness, your representatives may not achieve the sales you want, Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman wrote in the Harvard Business Review. It's probably no surprise that sales teams with an ineffective manager tend to be disgruntled and disinterested in producing their best work. The article identified two main types of leaders: drivers and enhancers. Drivers can establish high standards and get their teams to reach for seemingly unattainable goals. Enhancers function as role models and stay in touch with the issues and concerns of their teams. They give regular feedback to help their employees develop to their fullest potential. While some managers want to act as a pal to their employees, as a leader, you need to stand firm in your commitment to holding the team accountable for performance.
3. Set high standards for behavior
You can't expect great results from your employees unless you're asking them to do the right things, according to Garrett. The same code may not apply to every employee in the organization because you probably already have workers who meet their quotas month after month. You should only judge your team based on things within their control, such as the number of calls they make per day or the deals they close. Since sales is largely influenced by incentives, performance should be appropriately tied to compensation for extra motivation.
You're only as good as your salespeople
While you may have a great team of sales employees, your revenue productivity is tied directly to the performance of these workers. Although great managers and the right standards and incentives can motivate your team, they need the right tools in place to close deals and maximize productivity. Reassessing procedures and providing additional coaching can help, but sales reps also need to get a boost from technology to ensure they are following up with customers at the appropriate time.