When thinking about how to motivate your sales team (or any team), let me be clear and direct: Most efforts to motivate teams are well-intended but, ultimately, a waste of time.
Companies should spend more time understanding what de-motivates their teams and take those things away.
It’s easier to do and more productive more often. Here’s the short story of how l learnt this lesson and how you can do it too.
I spent years developing my Monday morning motivation messages whilst failing to realise that, even if my messaging hit home occasionally, its effects disappeared the moment someone’s computer was slow or the wifi dropped again or the bathrooms were dirty or one of the 101 other de-motivators came into play when they returned to their work.
So, week after week, I committed time, energy and resources to a huge pick-me-up ra-ra meeting on a Monday. It took my time and my focus from other more valuable work. Ironically, it actually de-motivated me to see so little visible effect to all that effort. I can only thank the people with whom I worked at the time for not openly rebelling against the message when they would have already know that the whole thing was a charade. The office was cold, the IT systems were terrible, some departments did far less work than others with no downsides.
I was looking for motivation in the wrong places. The team knew that before I did. Don’t make the same mistake.
The next time you think about how to motivate your sales team, I urge you to take away de-motivators first. It’s the simplest, quickest, cheapest and most useful way to lift motivation levels. And the first step is to open your eyes and ears to the working environment into which you place your teams each day.
PS. Once you’ve sorted your motivation problems, it’s the perfect time to look at training for your sales teams. The danger, if they’re de-motivated, is that the training content is good but fails to be adopted due to an unhappy workplace. When good training is delivered to happy teams along with regular practice, that’s when you see the best results.