Sales Managers – The Clock is Ticking on Hitting Sales Goals

Jonathan Farrington

Sales Managers - The Clock is Ticking on Hitting Sales Goals

Are your salespeople on track for hitting their sales goals? 

If they are: Congratulations…to you and to them.

If they are not: What are you going to do about it?  The clock is ticking.

How are you going to motivate your salespeople (or at least those whose numbers aren’t up to par) to pick up the pace…to knuckle down and do what needs to be done before time runs out? 

Do you even know what it takes to motivate them?

Have you taken the time to discover just what it is that motivates each of your sales team members?  Is it money, status, awards?  Perhaps, it’s meeting a new challenge or reaching a goal before anyone else.

While there are many things that motivate salespeople to perform, the various motivational elements can be grouped into three broad categories:

  • Relationship
  • Status
  • Achievement 

Individuals who are relationship motivated have a need for friendly relationships and are motivated by interaction with other people.  They have a need to be liked and held in popular regard. 

Individuals who are status motivated have a need to be effective, influential, and to make an impact.  They thrive on recognition.

Individuals who are achievement motivated have a need for a sense of accomplishment.  They seek the attainment of realistic yet challenging goals.  They have a strong need for feedback as to achievement and progress. 

Can you match each of your sales team members to one of these descriptions?  Are you providing them with opportunities congruent with their motivational needs?  When you understand what motivates them, you can work to channel their energies in directions that support their needs (and department goals).

Sales team having a discussion
A sales team having a discussion in a conference room.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Relationship motivated salespeople are typically good team players.  When you assign tasks or projects to them, allow them to work with a partner or other team members.  Involve them in committees and focus groups.
  • Status motivated salespeople typically have a strong need to lead and get their ideas across.  Increasing their personal status and prestige is important.  They are good project team leaders.  Provide them with opportunities to organize, direct, and report on projects.
  • Achievement motivated salespeople constantly seek improvement and ways to do things better.  Solicit their input and ideas regarding ways to improve department performance.  Use them as sounding boards when appropriate.

Since we’ve been exploring things that motivate salespeople, it’s only fitting to also explore things that de-motivate them.  And, the first place to look is in the mirror. 

Do you give your salespeople a verbal pat on the back for their accomplishments—major or minor?  Or, do they only hear from you when things don’t go as planned? 

Do you give them the latitude to analyze situations and make decisions?  Or, are you looking over their shoulders at their every turn? 

Do you take the time to build supportive relationships with your salespeople; to listen to them and provide coaching and guidance when needed?  Or, are you too busy with your supervisory responsibilities? 

Do you provide your salespeople with the tools—training, technology, and information—to grow personally and professionally? 

And finally, what influence does your attitude have on your salespeople’s motivation?  Does it bolster or weaken it?  Are you normally positive and upbeat, or is your normal demeanor more negative and pessimistic?   Perhaps it’s time to take an introspective look at your own behavior.  If you feel your sales team isn’t motivated, you might be the reason.  Don’t discount your influence. 

The more you know about what motivates your team members, the better equipped you will be to augment their motivational needs, and the easier it will be to get them to align their goals and actions with department goals before the clock runs out.