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For a More Motivated Sales Team Avoid These Three Management Mistakes

By | Articles

Keep Your Team in Camelot

When I was beginning my career as a sales manager, someone gave me the advice to ‘keep my team in Camelot.’ It would be some years later before I fully understood the meaning of those words – but now I live by them.

And I’m going to tell you the extraordinary wisdom behind them in just a minute.

But first, let’s talk about motivation.

As a sales manager, your most important task is to keep your team motivated. All while making tough business decisions and working with less than perfect circumstances every day – it’s just part of the deal.

Simultaneously, the culture, engagement, and performance of your entire team are squarely in your hands. You are directly responsible for establishing an environment that enables everyone’s ‘A-Game’ to come forward.

And here’s what you’re up against…

A 2018 Forbes article revealed  57% of Sales Reps Missed Their Quotas Last Year, and the trend is increasing – that’s a sobering statistic.

So under this challenging reality, how do you ensure your team keeps a winning mindset and has the best possibility for success?

Here’s some help. Build a high-functioning team by avoiding these disastrous management mistakes that are guaranteed to zap morale and motivation.

Avoid These Management Mistakes to Build a High-Performance Sales Team

#1 Avoid Ruling Through Fear

There are two ways to motivate people: through fear or desire.

While the ‘carrot and stick’ approach was once thought to achieve both simultaneously, it is now recognized as a method that does not get lasting results.

If fear is an element of your management style, any success you achieve will not be sustainable over time.

That’s because long-term fear creates negativity and resentment which reduces morale and with it, productivity.

What’s more…

Fear-based management promotes a ‘turnstile’ of employees, which creates a poor experience for both you and your clients.

Your clients get frustrated by repeatedly having to teach ‘their business’ to your newest Account Executive.

And you repeatedly have to find, hire, and train new team members, so they fully understand your products, services, and methodologies — all of which is time-consuming and expensive.

Instead of ruling with fear, create an atmosphere of trust. Encourage your team to share ideas, and empower them to make decisions. Create a culture that embraces mistakes as learning opportunities and the potential for greater success.

If you’ve come up through the ranks of typical sales organizations, this will be hard for you… but the effort to make this change will pay off.

#2 Avoid Moving the Goalposts

Mixing things up and creating chaos is an actual management strategy in some organizations.

The theory is that keeping employees guessing about what’s coming next keeps them on their toes and motivates them to work harder.

In fact, the opposite is true…

Continually shifting priorities, goals or performance expectations is a drain on employee morale and a quick way to ensure the decline of on-the-job happiness.

And that, of course, kills focus, trust, and productivity.

Rather than chaotic and ever-evolving objectives, create and communicate realistic goals, then stick to them.

#3 Avoid Using Money as a Motivator

Money makes the world go ‘round, and it’s logical to think of money as the most appropriate and valuable thing you could offer your team to motivate them.

But this could be a mistake.

Edward Deci, Professor of Psychology and author of, Intrinsic Motivation, released a study with his colleagues that turns that notion upside down.

They found that when they only offered employees financial rewards, motivation dropped. In fact, for every increase in the amount offered, there was a corresponding 25% decrease in motivation.

The more unattainable the reward seemed, the more challenging it was for employees to stay motivated. So keep the goals realistic and attainable.

Another study found that the most powerful motivating factors for employees are related to intrinsic values, like feeling a sense of belonging, recognition for achievement, the opportunity for growth, increased responsibility, and appreciation for their contributions.

The Case for Sales Performance Coaching

More companies are taking notice as research continues to reveal the undeniable benefits of adopting a coaching approach to sales management.

And with good reason.

Consider the results published in the 2018 edition of The International Journal of Sales Transformation – When combined with analytics to focus the coaching, SAP quantifies the ‘Coaching Uplift’ as:

  • 40% increase in opportunities created
  • 31% increase in accounts won

It’s clear that a coaching approach to sales management works.

Cultivating a Coaching Culture… an environment that feels safe and encourages expression, ideas, and participation without fear of consequences is what great sales managers do.

And that brings me back to those wise words about Camelot…

You probably remember that Camelot was the location of King Arthur’s Court.

Well, with the presence of King Arthur and the Knights of The Roundtable, the people of Camelot felt safe. They trusted that they were protected and they did not fear outside aggression.

Because of this, Camelot symbolizes the epitome of idyllic happiness. A place where there is no judgment, diversity of thought is valued, and collaboration and creativity thrive.

To ‘keep your people in Camelot’ means to keep them in a world where there are no problems, only opportunities for personal growth and team success.

And that’s the atmosphere that keeps teams engaged and motivated.

Here’s the key takeaway…

Establish a relationship of trust and authenticity – and understand the motivating factors of each member of your team.

That’s when you’ll begin to experience the year-on-year value of adopting a coaching culture.

If you’re a sales manager caught between corporate expectations and creating a culture of coaching – we can help.

At Leap Dialogues, we’ll help you navigate corporate politics and get on the right track to realize success. We’ll work with you to identify and address anything that’s holding you or your team back. The future is yours to seize.

Ready to embrace your full potential as a sales manager?

Find out what Leap Dialogues can do for you.

Marti is a consumate sales professional

By | Testimonial - Sales Performance

Marti and I worked together at Microsoft. She was a Solution Specialist for Microsoft Dynamics in the western Canadian region. Marti is a consummate sales professional with a deep understanding of both the technical side of the oil and gas industry and the application / software space.

She is able to bridge how technology can help solve business problems and is a true solution sales person who thoroughly understands the enterprise space. Both personally and professionally, Marti is a person with integrity and a strong work ethic. She is goal oriented, focused and will deliver. She is also funny and able to pull a team together. I would welcome the opportunity to work with Marti again and would gladly refer her with an exceptional reference.

Tracey Bodnarchuk

I am blown away by Marti’s insight into the selling process

By | Testimonial - Sales Performance

I am blown away by Marti’s insight into the selling process. Working with Marti helped me not only with selling services but with influencing change among people who I believed were absolutely incapable of changing their business mindset. More importantly she helped me realize my own potential and to buy into my own innate abilities. Marti’s vast knowledge in many different business platforms came in handy when trying to find other resources, books, websites, articles etc. to deepen my understanding of my current projects, challenges and opportunities.

In preparing for a process improvement presentation she not only guided my pitch, she guided my mindset and even enriched my presentation with many resources and thought-provoking questions. Preparing for this presentation with Marti at my side, made the process a delight as opposed to the usual fear-based prep.

With the sense of assurance that Marti gave me, I also felt more confident in my home life. My wife and kids even commented a couple of times about how confident I appear when coming home from work. Selling, presenting and influence come more naturally to me. My process is now much more human, insightful and engaged. Thank you, Marti!

Yermi Mehl

The path to success is only defined by yourself

By | Testimonial - Career Performance

The path to success is only defined by yourself; Marti is the embodiment of this philosophy and adage. Her matter of fact and direct approach to professional coaching was made very apparent to me in our first season yielding tools that manifested into direct results. Engaging Marti has been one of the best investments in my professional career.

Jihad Traya

Look forward to working with Marti in 2019

By | Testimonial - Career Performance

I have been working with Marti for over a year. Marti is a great motivator, as she always listens and ensures my needs are addressed. She has been so flexible with my schedule. She always knows when to push me to achieve my goals. I would like to thank you for providing me guidance, knowledge, and wisdom. You have inspired me to pursue my goals with hard work and dedication. She has been an excellent mentor and great inspiration for me. I look forward to working with her in 2019.

Sat Dhillon

Having a coach that has lived in the trenches is priceless

By | Testimonial - Sales Performance

It’s very rare to find a coach that has a background in complex sales with complex companies that have complex people in them (sounds complex right?! 😊. Most sales performance coaches understand sales from a theory perspective….. but having a coach that has lived this life in the trenches is priceless. What was great about our coaching relationship is that it went beyond technique to the psychology of sales.

By understanding my blind spots and the fears that were holding me back from playing full out, I was able to take the next step in my career.

I can go on and on about Marti, so just call me if you want to learn more at 416-878-5173.

Nishan Arumugam

Career Shift Success

By | Testimonial - Career Performance

Marti coached me through an interesting career shift. I walked away from our sessions stronger and more clearer about my purpose than ever before in my career. Her belief in me was unrelenting and my resolve strengthened with each conversation together.

Marti’s pacing intellectually and emotionally melded with my own and our conversations always produced a result I could use. Through her visioning techniques, she was able to reconnect and ground me with my core purpose. I am now able to move forward in ways I’d never thought possible. I feel fearless and am only curious and excited about what lies ahead.

Thanks to Marti, I see the curves in the road for what they are and am strapped in confidently for whatever my ride.

Susana Slavnik