Motivar a la fuerza de ventas requiere de un conjunto de estrategias clave.

How to motivate your sales force?

Maintaining and improving the motivation of the sales force is crucial to the financial performance of any organisation. When sales are down, all the alarm bells go off; when they are up, optimism reigns in the company. It is the sales department that is on the front line every day, taking care of the relationship with real and potential customers, in order to close new business deals and open up new business opportunities.

1. Why is it so important to keep the sales force motivated?

The work of the sales force can be very lonely. Sales agents spend a good part of their day travelling to visit one customer after another. They lack the peer support that salespeople have in a call-centre or retail outlet.

They eat alone, travel alone, and spend long days away from their families. They need great resilience to walk through the customer’s door, put on their best smile and try to convince them that their product is the best.

A sale can be seen as a psychological game between the seller and the buyer. The seller has a clear twofold objective: to sell as many units of a product or service to a customer as possible and to establish a long-term relationship with him.

The buyer, on the other hand, needs to fill a need, but may have certain misgivings and questions about the quality of the product and the customer service offered by the company. He has received several commercial offers from different companies and has doubts. You want to make the right decision and get a return on your investment.

In this scenario, the mission of the sales force is to give the customer confidence in the company and in themselves as professionals. They have to convince the other party that the company is solid, reliable, offers a fair deal, and that if there is a problem, they, the sales agents, are there to help in any way they can.

Once the sales agent has gained the customer’s trust in this first phase, the actual negotiation begins: How many products? At what price? With what discounts? And what about delivery times?

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– “You’re not going to be late, are you? Because I need everything by next week”.

– “No, of course not. Company X has a great reputation for deliveries. I will personally see to it that everything is in their warehouse before the deadline”.

In these negotiations, the sales force is making a titanic effort to dose the information it offers to the buyer at each stage of the process, while deploying its persuasion techniques at key moments.

This professional needs to be 100% motivated and self-confident, and to feel fully supported by his or her organisation. Emotional stability plays an equally crucial role: a moment’s hesitation, a tiny discouragement at a key moment in the conversation, and that’s it: the buyer senses this unconsciously in their non-verbal language and can back out in an instant, almost without knowing why: “I don’t see it clearly, I need to think about it”, they will say.

When a member of the sales force leaves the customer’s house he is exhausted: he has put all his body and soul into the negotiation. The feeling can be one of euphoria if the deal has been successful, or of utter frustration if things have not gone well. And it is in the face of failure that the company must take the greatest care of its sales force: a depressed sales agent is incapable of selling anything.

Tickelia - How to motivate your sales force?

2. Five keys to motivate your sales force

The strategies to motivate the sales force that we will discuss below are not exclusive in nature. On the contrary, they are complementary measures that should be implemented in parallel, as part of a comprehensive sales department policy to motivate these professionals.

2.1 Motivation through objectives and rewards

Variable remuneration for the sales force has a long tradition in companies in all sectors. The classic “fixed variable” involves a base salary plus a percentage commission on each sale achieved.

There is no doubt that this system has proven to be remarkably successful in incentivising the sales force. However, other types of complementary incentives can also be incorporated, which will further strengthen the motivation of the sales force. For example:

  • Bonus orcashrewards based on the targets set. These incentives can be of an individual nature or oriented towards the goals shared by the sales force as a whole.
  • Non-salaryprizes and re wards for performance, including trips or tickets to cultural and sporting events, which can also be individual or collective.
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2.2 Maintain team spirit

In deciding how to approach the above sales volume or productivity rewards, and whether they will be individual or collective, it is very important to consider how they will affect the relationship between members of the sales force.

While competition, sometimes fierce, has traditionally been promoted between different members of the sales team, current trends point towards a collaborative spirit among sales force professionals.

For example, if all the awards go, year after year, to the company’s “star salesperson”, this can be a disincentive to the rest of the sales force, who may feel that they will never achieve that level.

The commercial effort of companies is increasingly a team effort, because other actors are involved, such as marketing technicians, and because operations are increasingly complex, requiring more abundant, coordinated and varied commercial actions.

In this sense, it is also necessary to gauge the consequences for each salesperson of the client portfolio that he or she carries, and to consider whether it might be positive to make changes and balance the portfolios of the members of the sales force.

The manager or sales director should also hold frequent individual and joint meetings with the sales force, in order to learn first-hand about their concerns, doubts and problems, and be able to personally recognise employees for a job well done, as well as address their complaints, including redesigning the established incentive policy.

Organiza tu flujo de notas de gastos y viajes de empresa con Tickelia

2.3 Plan the sales force’s sales visits

Regardless of whether a sales mission is to open markets on another continent, or to reinforce sales in the corner shop, sales actions must be properly planned within the sales department.

Although when dealing with customers, there is always a day when you have to improvise, this is no excuse for not organising the work of the sales force with timing and according to a previously designed strategic plan.

The use of technology, such as CRM tools, has been of great help in streamlining and organising commercial follow-up, as well as coordinating the execution of the different campaigns.

2.4 Taking care of the employee travel experience

One of the most exhausting parts of the job for the sales force is travel, which can range from trips within the same city or another town in the province, to trips across the country or around the world.

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Reviewing spending policies on mileage, per diems and accommodation so that the sales force can carry out their sales work in comfort and without having to add personal money is another way in which an organisation’s sales agents can be motivated.

Likewise, managing advance payments appropriately, so that the professional does not have to advance money out of their own pocket during the trip, is something that can be achieved with minimum effort, thanks to expense management solutions such as Tickelia.

This solution can also help the sales department to make pre-trip media requests, such as booking accommodation or a rental car, for example, so that the sales force does not have to waste time on these formalities.

Tickelia - How to motivate your sales force?

2.5 Minimising bureaucratic tasks

These same technological tools can also become the ultimate solution to put an end once and for all to the sales force’s worst enemy: bureaucracy.

After an exhausting day away from home and with all the stress accumulated during the sales meeting, the last thing sales agents need is to waste time searching for, organising and reporting the expense notes that the trip has generated.

Facilitating this task through the use of technology is another measure that definitely helps to motivate the sales force.

For example, with Tickelia, all a salesperson has to do after receiving a restaurant bill is take a photo of the receipt with their smartphone, and that’s it! From then on, they can throw away the receipt. The Tickelia App will send all the data to the manager for the approval of the expense and, once the approval is given, it will be automatically accounted for, within the corresponding project and the employee can proceed to its immediate settlement via SEPA.

With this solution, the sales force can make use of smart payment methods such as the Tickelia Visa card, which will allow them to further simplify expense reporting and eliminate the worry of tracking and reconciliation of conventional corporate cards.

Moreover, from their PC, the manager has a 360º and real-time view of the sales force’s expenses, with the possibility of establishing multi-level approval flows, as well as limits and restrictions according to time slots or type of expense.

In this way, the sales force team has a payment solution in their pocket for 100% digital management of travel expenses, reducing sales force management time by 80%.

If you want to know more about what Tickelia can do for you, click here to request a demo!

Organiza tu flujo de notas de gastos y viajes de empresa con Tickelia
Bea Naveros
Content writer at Inology. Graduated in Advertising and Public Relations from the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
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