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Shaun Thomson, CEO of Sandler Training in the UK, reveals the top three reasons your sales team is demotivated.

The start of the year is a tough time for any sales team; as well having to get back into the groove of work after the festive break, they also have host of new annual targets put upon them, so it’s fair to say many feel like they are staring up at a very high proverbial mountain.

But let’s be clear, these team members are without a doubt your most important asset – without them and their successes, the whole business will fail. That’s why I am often surprised that the sales team are often the most neglected department in the business.

Keeping them happy and motivated should be a key business priority. The more engaged and valued they are, the better the sales, and ultimately the business.

So, here are the three most common reasons you’ll find your sales team is demotivated – once addressed, you can revel in the mutual success

1) Your goals are not aligned

It is imperative to align your company goals with those of your sales team. I regularly speak with management teams who feel that the overriding corporate goal should be year-to-year growth, and that as they have invested in the infrastructure, process and systems, and sometimes even increased production capabilities, then they have ticked the boxes to enable this. However, when I speak to the sales team they simply say that they are merely ‘satisfied’ with this goal.

For a sales team ‘satisfaction’ is the enemy of ‘desire’.

If the sales team does not have the desire to reach the same corporate goal then it must be addressed. The sales goals should come first and the team should be engaged to agree what these should be – then the company should support these goals.

2) You aren’t tapping into their personal motivations

The vast majority of managers believe that their sales staff are just motivated by money and that attractive commission structures are all that is needed to keep them selling. Of course money is important, but it can be used much more effectively – the compensation plan should reflect the behaviours of the sales that the company wants to promote.

Also, managers need to be clear on the personal goals of the individual sales team members and ensure that they are aligned with the company goals. Staff rarely leave for money, they leave because they don’t feel valued. Never forget that recognition is a great motivator for sales teams, particularly peer group recognition.

3) You don’t have a company-wide sales culture

A successful, well integrated sales staff is critical to the success of all companies; their successes should be regularly shared on a company-wide basis. Doing this and making each employee aware of the role they have in supporting the sales team will create a stronger sales culture within the company. There is nothing worse than a sales team that feels unappreciated. The sales team is not the whole company but the whole company should be the sales team.

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