There’s no denying it—keeping your sales leaders motivated is tough, especially in an environment where there are incredibly high turnover rates. We focus so much of our time on reps that we many times forget about their leaders and their leaders’ leaders!
A 2015 study from The Bridge Group found that 54% of companies lose at least one-quarter of their sales team on an annual basis. If that doesn’t shock you, consider this: 12% of companies lose 55% or more of their sales team each year.
High turnover rates clearly play a huge role on quota attainment, which undoubtedly result in frustrated sales leaders. Don’t get into the trap of thinking, “Well, that’s sales.” Countless articles exist on how to keep sales reps motivated, but what about the valuable people who lead them? They aren’t invincible from burnout and low morale.
With the right approach, processes and tools, you can create an environment where your sales leaders feel supported and motivated to perform. Here are six methods I’ve relied on throughout my career.
Free up their time.
From strategy development to recruiting to coaching, sales leaders are charged with a significant amount of tasks. The No. 1 thing you can do to keep them motivated is to free up their time so they remain focused on important tasks. The best way to do that is to have a support team in place (think: Sales Enablement Manager or Sales Ops Manager).
In a 2015 Domo survey, 65% of sales leaders reported that it takes too long to pull insights from their data. Sales leaders should not be responsible for inputting data and then formulating insights. Strong sales organizations have dedicated roles that commit to these tasks, and then empower the sales group to make informed decisions.
This is also the case as it pertains to training and onboarding. It is crucial that leaders get to know new reps, but the sales enablement team should really own training. This way, leaders can spend more time tackling critical issues with the team.
Make meetings more efficient.
If you’re bringing all your sales leaders together just to check in, they’re not getting any value from these meetings. It’s all for your convenience. Stop pulling your sales leaders into meetings that are actually check-ins for you.
Instead, make sure that the team’s data and insights are easy to find, and then bring all of your leaders together to update you on systems and processes. Make sure you’re focusing on value-add activities during these meetings. Talk about the product, coach them, provide feedback, etc.
Provide them with better tools to do their job.
There’s a great deal of noise as it pertains to sales acceleration technologies. Last year, there were just under 200. Today? There are more than 467. Next year, we’re expecting to see more than 600. It’s important to know which of these will be the most impactful to your team.
Some of my suggestions?
- SalesHood basically allows you to run more effective meetings.
- ExecVision is a conversation insights tool, giving you visibility into recorded conversations.
- Xvoyant provides insights into how to coach your sales leaders.
If you have questions on any of these, don’t hesitate to reach out. Skaled can help you find the right tool and implement it. Once you have the right tool in place, it’s important that you teach the leader how to coach to them. Many sales leaders are used to coaching to the pipeline instead.
That brings me to another point: In leadership, I see people looking at the macro too often. Meanwhile, they have 15 teams underneath them, and they’re not getting granular enough. The right tools can help with that.
Nearly half of fast-growing companies report that they spend significant time and money on sales training, according to a 2016 McKinsey & Company survey.
From our work with companies, we see that most of those resources are put toward training sales reps. Sales leaders are appointed to their positions, receive no direction and then don’t know how to effectively do their jobs. You need to set your sales leaders up for success by investing in training for them.
Make expectations crystal clear.
It’s up to you to create a culture where expectations are clear. Many scenarios arise in which the CEO thinks one thing is happening, but the sales leader is thinking about something else completely. It’s important that you make sure your sales leaders are aligned on any unsaid expectations you may have.
The other piece is letting them have room to grow, beyond the top line. As companies grow and accelerate, sales leaders become detached from the front line. Companies don’t give leaders the leeway they need though to implement long-term strategies, and tend to keep them focused on sales. I understand you have numbers to hit, but you need to allow your sales leaders to plan for the longer-term, or you’re constantly going to be disappointed.
Provide them with opportunities to grow.
You need to have the right attitude to serve your employees; not for them to serve you. Leaders often treat salespeople as if they are coin-operated, so they coach to the machine rather than the individual. They don’t lay out career paths for top performers. If you don’t provide your sales leaders (and sales reps) with opportunities, you’ll be dealing with churn at the leadership level which can be a real nightmare.
Motivated sales leaders result in faster revenue growth
It’s a chain reaction: When you create the ideal culture for your sales leaders, they are motivated to do the same for their teams of sales reps. Those sales reps then feel driven to perform for a company that values them. You need to keep in mind, however, that it starts with you. If you don’t create the right environment for your sales leaders, you can’t expect to see things change for the better.
Need more direction? I’m happy to help – [email protected]