8 tips to motivate a post-pandemic sales team
Sales took a big hit last year as a result of Covid-19 and all the associated lockdowns. Millions of consumers have cut their discretionary spending just to get through the pandemic because they have been put on leave or lost their jobs. Businesses have had to scale back operations or shut down entirely to comply with emergency safety regulations.
Now, with the advent of effective vaccines, 2021 shows strong rebound potential. While maintaining appropriate levels of caution, here are eight things you can do to help your sales team maximize its success this year:
1. Set achievable and measurable goals
Your sales team is much more likely to stay focused when they have clearly defined goals. Without an agreed destination, your team is much more susceptible to mission drift or scope drift. To be effective, goals must be reasonable and measurable. Vague, intangible goals don’t do much to move your team forward.
“Increasing sales” is a great goal for your small business, but it lacks bite. “To increase sales by 15% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period last year” is both unambiguous and measurable. If you can’t apply a number to your goal, start over.
Sales targets, in particular, can capture and hold the attention of employees when there is some form of inducement. Incentives do not always must be monetary either. If the money isn’t there yet for significant bonuses, consider granting extra vacation days or prime parking.
2. Keep learning
Even the best salespeople in the world can learn a new trick or two. Sales tactics are constantly evolving these days as businesses blend traditional sales techniques with online selling. Salespeople also need to change their approach as consumer trends fluctuate or the target audience changes. The need to adapt and evolve has never been greater.
There are a number of low cost online sales programs available to hone sales skills. If the cost of the courses for everyone is too high in terms of time and “wasted” costs for staff, you may want to consider holding your sales seminars internally.
Taking this route has the added benefit of allowing you to customize the program to better suit your organization. An internal seminar gives your team the opportunity to hear from local business leaders who can share their perspectives on sales trends and tactics.
3. Eliminate speculation with hard data
Put an end to the guesswork on what works (and what doesn’t) by looking at the data. Sales numbers traced over time will be much more effective when it comes to pursuing a post-pandemic sales strategy.
Be aware that collecting reliable data takes time; the sooner you start, the better. Here are some examples of numbers your business can start tracking:
- Number of leads generated
- Conversion rate of leads to sales
- Percentage of revenue from new / existing customers
- Overall revenue growth
- Average sales amount
- Cost of closing a sale
These metrics and many more can be used to monitor progress and make calculated adjustments. If you see that a retargeting strategy is working great, you may want to focus on less effective efforts. If the sales numbers are dropping, it’s time to abandon the associated strategy.
4. Look for automation opportunities
There are probably a few aspects of your sales funnel that could be automated. Eliminating the menial tasks associated with sales allows your team to focus on closing deals and boosting morale. Automation also works even when your team is not on the clock, set the stage for them to get to work on their return.
For example, customer relationship management software automatically records customer data and engagement details. To prepare for future calls and meetings, sales reps can pull up a customer profile and get all the information they need with just a few clicks. CRM software can bring together leads generated from the company’s website, social media feeds, and other sources, making it easier for reps to find and interact with new customers.
5. Empathize with customers
Authentic connection with customers and customers has always been an essential part of successful sales, but it will be even more important in 2021. The Covid-19 pandemic has turned many baskets of apples upside down and continues to cause problems for everyone. just about everyone. People are likely to be more hesitant to make financial commitments as they recover. The successful sales team will integrate this reality into their approach by showing empathy.
In 2021, it will be critical for sales reps to make a concerted effort to put themselves in the shoes of the people they are trying to introduce. It requires active listening instead of silently repeating what they plan to say every time the prospect stops speaking. Your salespeople will need to address real concerns with personalized responses instead of chirping a scripted sales pitch.
6. Remove obstacles to success
Find and break down all the obstacles that are preventing your sales team from moving forward. Has the pandemic caused a lack of confidence or reluctance to approach customers? Are there any distractions that could be eliminated? I recently sat down with a group who just didn’t understand how to make full use of their Samsung Calendar to schedule Zoom calls. Most of the time, this is a simple technological barrier that can prevent a team from being successful.
It will be best to assume that there have been at least a few hard-to-detect changes since the start of the pandemic. Each team member has likely acquired at least one unique barrier to success.
Take the time to sit down (or meet Zoom) with your employees one-on-one. Discuss their strengths and weaknesses and together strategize how you could use one to overcome the other.
7. Celebrate victories
Team morale helps drive sales in addition to the office spirit. Encourage your team to stay motivated by celebrating big and small wins. Friendly competition can also be a good thing – as long as it stays friendly.
Go ahead and kick off some low-stake sales competitions to keep your sales team energized. Just explain that trying to win by undermining other employees will not be tolerated.
8. Log on outside of the work environment
Spearhead greater connection between employees by organizing team activities outside the office. Take the team for an afternoon on the slopes or host a games tournament on a Friday afternoon. Whatever your choice, the goal is to bring your employees together in an environment that is not associated with work.
Keep in mind that many are still struggling with the stressors of Covid-19. After hours activities are okay as long as you don’t expect attendance to be mandatory. Offer something safe and fun, but be sensitive to the varying comfort levels of each.
Are you ready to see your team go full blast? Adopt these tips and you will see your efforts reflected in their performance. If you take the right steps, 2021 could be your best selling year yet.