Identifying Sales Management Challenges
1.Explain the way to motivate a Salesperson.
2.What are the challenges one might face while motivating the sales team?
3.Motivational strategy to be used to get the sales team perform at their best.
4.What kind of environment one will create to motivate the sales force?
1.Sales are one of the toughest job responsibilities that the individuals cater to in the organization. Sales is really important as it is the only revenue generating function of the organization and all other functions such as human resources, marketing, operation and finance depends on the outcome of the sales figures. Thus, it becomes really important to take care of the salesperson and keep them in high spirits and motivated at all times(Madhani, 2015). Some of the ways to motivate the salesperson are:
- Building trust in the team-The foundation of motivation lies at the heart of trust. If an employee is unable to trust the manager, he is less likely to be motivated at any cost. The team should understand that the manager has good intentions for the team and the company, only then will they feel motivated to work towards the goal and realise the weight in the words of the manager. Manager can ensure trust in the system by being transparent in their approach and following the path of integrity in all business practices(Hohenberg & Homburg, 2016)
- Ask the team how they would like to be managed-Every individual is different and has different personalities, therefore it is the duty of the manager to change his style for better fitment with the sales team. He has to ensure that his style matches the personality of the individuals and only then he can manage them. Thus its always better to have a relationship which is based on trust, faith and mutual cooperation
- Understanding the business objectives and goals- It is important that the salesperson knows the individual goal he has to achieve and on brick by brick building move over to the fulfilment of the organizational goals and objectives. Salespeople feel motivated if the manager is taking the onus to setup the goals and in the process the employees put in hard work to achieve the organizational goals and objectives(Johnston & Marshall, 2016)
- Reward and recognition- Every person has a motive to work, some work because of passion, some work because of monetary or non-monetary benefits attached with the position, some work for fame and some work for rewards and recognition. A sale is that function of business organization which is driven by numbers and thus reward and recognition plays a very important role in motivating the salesperson(O’Reilly, 2015)
2.A sales manager faces a lot of challenges while motivating the sales force, if he is unable to tackle the sales challenge, the productivity of the team would go down and so will the numbers. Hence it is important to know the challenges a sales manager can face in motivating his employees. Some of the challenges identified are:
- Sales Training/ Coaching- It is one of the most important responsibilities of the sales manager to train and coach its employees. At times sales manager is unable to give the industry relevant training to his team which leads to dissatisfaction amongst them, resulting in failure of the entire system. An effective sales manager has to over the challenge of sales training and provide the team with the best industry accepted and recognized knowledge and relevant skills (Ulaga & Loveland, 2014)
- Data driven approaches and analysis-Managers are seen to be often lost in the piles of spread sheets lying on their computer. Data analysis is a good thing, but at times managers get so lost that they interpret the numbers wrong and jump onto the conclusion. This results in losing the respect of the manager in the eyes of the employees. Hence, it is said that managers should use the tools which can give him accurate conclusion and interpretation of numbers(Gilliam & Flaherty, 2015)
- Time management- A manager is consistently bogged down by multiple responsibilities at his hand; at times he is not able to cater to all the responsibilities at once and in the process loses the track of time. Time management is one of the most important challenge at the hand of manager, if not managed properly would result in improper time allotment to task(Cameroon, 2001)
- Motivating employees-As mentioned in the earlier part, very person has different needs, different personalities and hence it is impossible to motivate all the salespeople under one common framework. It is required that the manager accesses the needs of the individuals and motivates them addressing their pain points. Some people like money, others like time off from work, some need competition as the motivating force and others look for recognition in the organization. Hence, manager has to ensure that the employees are handled differently and not all are looked with the same lens(Armstrong, Kotler, Harker & Brennan, 2015)
3.Sales manager has to up his sleeves when motivating his team, he should be encompassed with a comprehensive strategy tool kit to push the top performers, develop junior members and keep the team focussed towards achieving the targets. Some of the strategies that can be used to motivate the sales team are:
- Internalize the mission and vision of the company-It is essential that the sales team resonate with the mission and vision of the company. There feedback on the mission and vision has to be taken, and if they find it not to be motivating the same can be tweaked to bring out the motivation in the sales team. It is really important that the sales team is aligned with the mission, vision, goals and objectives of the organization(Fatima & Azam, 2016)
- Tracking daily progress/Win-It is a useful strategy which many managers have used in the past, under this strategy the sales team is asked to jot down all the positive things they learnt or underwent in their sales journey with the company. After everyone is done with recording their assessment, they are sure to come out motivated from the exercise.
- Look for positive metrics in the sales framework-A sales metric is composed of many small factors like; calls made, meetings done, employee satisfaction, sales incurred, pipeline and so on. The manager has to ensure that even if a person is not able to get the numbers in the past, but his other metrics are promising, he should then be further motivated to keep up the good work and work hard to achieve the numbers.
- Reward and recognize the sales team publically-Every person working under a corporate structure looks for reward and recognition. Reward makes him feel encouraged and recognition gives him fake, a sense of respect in the team. Thus it is to be ensured that the managers reward and recognize the good work of its sales force publically.
- Offsite event and team building – Offsite events take off the pressure of daily/weekly/monthly sales targets from the salesperson. Events can be seen as a source of revitalization and rejuvenation for the employees. A change in the environment and zero pressure brings out the best in the employees and when they return back from the event, they feel motivated. Similarly, team building will ensure development of positive synergies amongst the team members.
4.Motivation can be understood as the force which makes the person go to his work daily, pushes him to achieve the best and overcome any challenges in the path of fulfilment of their targets. Motivation does not necessarily work in isolation; there are a lot of factors working alongside motivation which increases the efficiency and effectiveness of the motivation process. Environment plays an important role while motivating the sales people. A positive work environment can be created in the organization by reducing the hygiene factors and focussing on the motivating factors. Hygiene factors in the organization are company policies, supervisor relationship, work condition and salary. All these elements if not made according to the sales force, brings negativity among the sale force, hence efforts should be made to convert these hygiene factors into motivating factors. In the similar way, advancement growth, achievement recognition, added responsibility and growth are the factors which lead to a positive working environment for the sales force.
Another way to motivate the sales force is by bringing in learning and training in the system. Every individual looks for growth and growth can be initiated by providing an environment of continuous learning. Salesperson wants to learn what are the best sales practices in the industry and thus it is required that managers share their experience with them and also try to bring in some of the respected industry sales leaders to have a sales talk. Positivity fosters in the environment of learning and growth, reward and recognition, goal setting, mutual respect, trust, team cohesiveness and so on, thus any company which is able to provide an environment filled with the above mentioned characteristic, the sales team is bound to show amazing numbers by performing exceptionally well. Feedback is another important aspect of the environment, which if given constructively can create a positive environment and help the sales force to be up and running towards their goals.
Armstrong, G., Kotler, P., Harker, M., & Brennan, R. (2015). Marketing: an introduction. Pearson Education.
Cameroon, M. (2001). Management of a Sales Force. The Service Industries Journal, 21(1), 243.
Fatima, Z., & Azam, M. K. (2016). A study of salesforce control systems and salesforce motivation. The Marketing Review, 16(4), 357-371.
Gilliam, D. A., & Flaherty, K. E. (2015). Storytelling by the sales force and its effect on buyer–seller exchange. Industrial Marketing Management, 46, 132-142.
Hohenberg, S., & Homburg, C. (2016). Motivating sales reps for innovation selling in different cultures. Journal of Marketing, 80(2), 101-120.
Johnston, M. W., & Marshall, G. W. (2016). Sales force management: Leadership, innovation, technology. Routledge.
Madhani, P.M., 2015. Ethical behavior in sales organizations: Key dimensions.
O’Reilly, K.A., 2015. When theory meets practice: A new approach for teaching undergraduate sales management courses. Marketing Education Review, 25(1), pp.3-8.
Ulaga, W., & Loveland, J. M. (2014). Transitioning from product to service-led growth in manufacturing firms: Emergent challenges in selecting and managing the industrial sales force. Industrial Marketing Management, 43(1), 113-125.
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