Motivational Strategies to Get Your Sales Team to Make More Calls

We’ve all seen it: ambitious sales reps who start out eager to get in the trenches and start cold calling, only to have their motivation rapidly drop off. But why it’s happening isn’t always clear. Is it because they’re struggling to close the sale? Are the goals and volume of sales expected unrealistic? Or, is the overall call volume within a normal range, but your sales team is no longer pushing themselves and is just stuck in a plateau?

You may be tempted to throw more money and sales commissions at the problem, but that isn’t necessarily the answer. In fact, research from the report The Science of Motivating Sales People: The Carrot & the Stick Must Go found that human beings are not exclusively interested in material gain. The report also references psychologist Daniel Goleman’s research that indicates that “high-performing workers are motivated by more than money.” So if it’s not all about money, then what it is?

Dwight D. Eisenhower was onto something when he said, “Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.” To really get your sales team motivated, you need the right combination of intrinsic motivation and rewards to get them to want to push harder and see progress. Here are nine winning strategies to get your sales team motivated to make more calls.

1. Define Your KPIs

Your sales team may assume that closing sales is the top KPI you’re looking at and will relentlessly focus on that goal before burning out. In reality, your business may benefit more from securing more lead nurturing meetings and working through common sales objections in the process.

Look through the data from your CRM and identify what’s helping your bottom line the most, then share it with your team. The more they understand the layers behind the goal they’re working towards, the more likely they are to work more efficiently.

2. Focus on Helping, Not Selling

Your sales team may have a mental block about selling if they’re buying into the idea that sales is about pushing a product instead of helping someone solve a problem. You can help them overcome that barrier by training them to embrace selling as a form of helping.

“If you believe your product (or service) will benefit someone, then you’re calling to help, not sell,” says author and speaker Victor Antonio. “I think of calling as an ‘outreach program’; helping those who need our product or service.”

And that’s also ultimately what customers want. They don’t want to do business with a sales rep solely motivated by their own success. Paul Castain, Vice President of Rock Star Development Castain Training Systems, agrees: “A buyer wants to deal with someone who isn’t just about the commission check.”

Train your team on the benefits and features of a product, and go deep into how it helps their customers. From saving a prospect more time and money, to making their business more productive, show your team the deep value of what they’re selling, and train them to focus on helping and offering service.

3. Let Your Sales Team Pick Their Rewards

Instead of assuming you know what motivates your sales team, just ask them what they want. Give your sales reps a range of rewards to choose from, whether that’s their choice of top prospects, or a day off, depending on the sales goals they hit.

Along the way, you may also discover a common theme in the office where sales teams want the same rewards. But this isn’t the time for cutthroat competition. To keep productivity high, shake off the outdated idea of pitting your team members against each other for rewards they don’t really want, and instead let them publicly compete for what they do want.

4. Gamify the Process

Gaming has evolved from a means of relaxation into a way to play to people’s competitive instincts, and reward them to motivate behavior. Businesses have already figured out how to gamify the consumer process with badges, free gifts, and points, but you can apply the same techniques to motivate your sales team. Kendra Lee from KLA Group uses fun motivators, like putting an old school bell in the office that the team rings for every appointment they set. “As you hear other reps ring the bell, it’ll motivate you to be more effective on your calls,” she explains.

Offer a competitive way to earn individual or group rewards to stimulate teamwork and engagement. You can make the winner of your sales game whoever makes the most sales calls in a day, or whoever nails the most second meetings. Or you can use software to help the process, like Agile CRM Gamification software. Encourage competition and collaboration by using real-time reporting, and feature your team’s results on custom leaderboards. It probably goes without saying that no one wants to see their name at the bottom of the board, and they’ll work to compete for rewards — and bragging rights.

5. Pick Multiple Winners

It’s easy to get caught up in a winner-takes-all mentality when it comes to motivating — and gamifying — your sales team culture. But that mentality can actually backfire and prove counterproductive. According to the study Designing Sales Contests: Does the Prize Structure Matter?, contests with multiple winners boost sales efforts and performance more than a winner-takes-all structure.

Offer multiple prizes based on performance, and raise the value of the prize as your sales team progresses. To start, keep track of what your sales team is doing on a white board and award fun prizes like Starbucks cards or novelty items from the Dollar Store to keep motivation high as your team inches towards bigger rewards like days off and choice of coveted accounts.

6. Make Rejection Part of the Culture

Even seasoned salespeople can get cold feet when gearing up to make that next call. Some never get used to rejection. But if you create a culture around the acceptance of it, salespeople can adjust their expectations more easily.

To get your team more comfortable with rejection, focus on developing the right skills to overcome it. Andrea Waltz, co-author of the best-selling book Go for No, says, “I believe you can develop persistence and tenacity like you can any other skill. You can become someone who doesn’t get fazed by rejection and the word NO. The way salespeople should look at rejection: it is part of the process, and intentionally increasing your failure rate — that is the number of times you hear the word NO, will eventually have you achieve long-lasting and sustainable performance.”

7. Lead By Example

Has your team ever seen you in action, working those cold calls and nailing sales presentations? Or are you leading them by trying to lecture them through the process instead? Motivating your team might just boil down to stepping into their roles and serving them for a change.

Refine their training by switching seats and asking them to sit in on your sales calls as they watch you work through the process and overcome common sales objections. Jeff Hoffman of the Sales MBA suggests a sales contest where the prize is your time serving as the winner’s assistant, working on their calls and presentations. Not only does this show you leading by example and doing the hard work involved in selling, it also shows what you expect of your sales team.

8. Share Weekly Wins

Public acknowledgment can go a long way towards keeping your sales team’s motivation high to keep pushing forward. Otherwise, your team may feel like nothing they’re doing is that important and they’re operating in a vacuum.

Give your daily and weekly winners a shout-out in a company-wide email, ask them to stand up and be acknowledged in a meeting, or add their names to signage or badges. The more your team experiences the infectious energy of feeling appreciated and acknowledged, the more likely they are to seek out that validation.

9. Eavesdrop on a Call

You’ve taken every step and tried every technique you can think of, only to realize that it’s not your sales team’s motivation or rewards that are the issue. Instead, what’s happening on their calls could be what’s keeping them from moving forward and dragging down their productivity and confidence.

This is the time to employ more than just motivational strategies. You also need to implement proven tools and software that can take a deeper look into what’s going on with your sales team. For example, RamblAI offers insights into calls in real-time so sales managers can more effectively coach their sales teams. Once you have a better foundation in place, you can focus on how to motivate reps towards peak performance.

Once you’ve found a technique that works for your sales team, don’t slow down and get complacent in the process. Motivational strategies evolve and shift depending on your team members, changing market needs, and what’s going on with your roster of clients. That’s why it’s crucial to focus on motivation and training as part of your business’s core values to keep scaling and moving forward.

What strategies have you used to get your sales reps to make more calls? Share your tips in the comments below:

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