You’ve hired and trained a great direct sales team. You’ve developed a compensation plan that keeps them happy and makes everybody money. So how do you keep that team motivated to sell?
One word: Opportunity.
It’s an old adage in sales: if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward. This applies to your organization as a whole, your sales team, and the individual members of your sales team.
Everybody wants to grow. To advance. To be better. It’s a natural human impulse to want to move upward. Nobody wants to feel stagnant.
That’s why it’s important to have clear, defined ways to advance built into the structure and culture of your sales team.
Direct Sales Is All About Growth
Direct sales is an industry where the ability to replicate yourself and generate new sales leaders can lead to exponential growth. The more you maximize and expand your organization, especially in the Telecom industry, the more successful you will be.
That means keeping growth as a goal is imperative. And, in sales, growth is all about maximizing performance.
If the individual performers on your team are consistently exceeding expectations, they need to know that their careers will not be static. Most salespeople don’t want to continue knocking their numbers out of the park, month after month, knowing that management wants to keep them there forever. They need to know that there’s a place for them to grow.
So build growth into your business model! Have a structure that motivates the growth from individual performer into a team leader.
Build Leadership Opportunity Into Your Organization
A well organized direct sales firm will have two layers of leadership built in. High-level leaders and low-level leaders.
Low Level Leadership
Low-level doesn’t mean low-importance. A low level leadership position is a great way to motivate top performers toward further growth, while maximizing the performance of the whole team.
For example, consider training.
As you’ve learned from this point, hiring and training a top performing direct sales rep is no easy task.
It’s labor intensive. It’s time consuming.It takes a considerable amount of time and resources away from the management of the higher level team functions if the sales team leader is doing all of that training on their own.
Empowering an experienced sales rep to a training leadership position not only frees up time and resources for the team leader, but also helps teach fundamental leadership skills to the trainer. The team leader gets more time for high-level functions, the trainer has the opportunity to learn and grow in their leadership ability, the trainee gets expert help in learning how to be productive.
You’ve just strengthened your entire team by opening up that low-level leadership position.
High Level Leadership
The high-level leaders are the folks in your organization who are making the big-picture decisions in how to move the firm forward.
If your direct sales firm is growth-minded and scalable… (and it ought to be,) your goal should be to help transition low-level leaders into high level sales team leaders. If you, as a sales team leader, can replicate yourself and train up another benchmark sales team leader, you can empower them to open a new office and expand the reach of your firm.
This not only gives your sales performers an attainable goal that they can push for to keep them motivated, it puts your organization in a place where growth isn’t just incidental… it’s expected.
And that helps keep everybody motivated.
What To Look For In Potential Leaders
Now that you understand the importance of advancement opportunity to the members of your team, and the importance of sustainably growing leaders within your organization, a logical question arises.
What do you look for in potential candidates for leadership, anyway?
You’ve heard it said that those who can’t do, teach.
In direct sales, great leaders have to know the ins and outs of what makes good sales performance and be able to step in and lead folks in that direction.
Make sure that your leadership candidates have a history of good results to make sure they know the process.
Look for candidates who are consistent.
If you have a rep that vacillates between really great months and really terrible months of performance, you may be looking at somebody with great personal ability and magnetism… but they may have issues with motivation, or lack a thorough understanding of your sales process.
A candidate that’s consistently delivering good numbers, even if they seldom take first place for the month, is a much better candidate for a leadership role.
A leader is going to pass on the traits of success that they know. A consistent candidate will be better able to pass along lessons on consistency than a potential leader with numbers all over the board.
A Servant Mindset
If you think you’re looking at a potential leader, be sure to look at their motivation.
Not just whether or not they are motivated… but what they are motivated by.
Now, there should be a financial incentive tied to leadership. Hard work should be rewarded, and it’s best to have a performance based incentive tied to their leadership work to continue to keep them motivated. But someone who is entirely motivated by money is a poor candidate for leadership… they may not see the big picture if it extends past their wallet.
In the same way, hiring somebody who is entirely motivated by praise, title, or status can also be a detriment to leadership. Results don’t come from a position, and they may not be motivated to do less glamorous work that doesn’t get them the kudos they expect.
Instead, look for a potential leader who is motivated by the people around them. Do they enjoy helping others? Are they motivated when the team performs well? Do they help enhance the morale of the entire team?
Somebody with a mindset of service to the organization, in positions both above and below them, is exactly the type of person you want to encourage into leadership.
Not Every Top Performer Is A Budding Leader
Of course, not everybody is cut out to be a leader. And that’s okay. If you have a top performer who is consistently rocking your sales leaderboard, and they show no desire or aptitude for leadership, that doesn’t mean they can’t grow.
You just need to find a different way!
Usually, top performing salespeople who don’t have leadership interest fit the lone-wolf profile. They’re usually financially motivated, or motivated to overcome challenges out of a sense of competition.
If you’re working with a lone wolf salesperson, that doesn’t mean they have no opportunity for growth. But instead of leadership, leverage their skills and find higher-value products to sell. Give them more challenges and bigger sales opportunities. If you give them the financial motive, or the right challenge, they will continue to grow themselves.
Regardless of how you encourage scalable growth, be sure to keep your team moving forward through bigger and better opportunities along the way.
Is your direct sales team ready for the next opportunity? At Solcomm, we support sales firms to continue to grow and succeed in the Telecom industry. Learn what it takes to be a Solcomm Subdealer today!