You did your best to hire good people for your sales team. And for a while, they were excited, motivated, and producing. They'd approach you with any challenges they faced, bringing great ideas to the table, and your numbers looked amazing.
Lately, though, you've noticed some worrisome behaviors among your staff. They wander into work late and seem to be dragging themselves through the door. Sick days have increased, and you're noticing more personal internet usage. You hear rumblings of gossip and dissatisfaction among the group, some even directed at you. There are petty squabbles between employees, and the fountain of innovative ideas that have been flowing freely for quite some time now appears to have dried up.
Then, there's the bottom line. This lack of enthusiasm for the company has made it up the ranks, and your higher-ups are now seeing the negative results in your team's profitability. A sales team with low motivation doesn't just make work a less than pleasant place to be; it actually damages the company as a whole. Something has to change.
Don't think that you're alone. It's not just your team facing this challenge. A recent Gallup poll showed that 70% of American workers are disengaged at their jobs.
So how do you ensure that your team is excited to come to work and doesn't become part of this frightening statistic?
Build motivation, improve morale, and increase teamwork with team-building activities.
Low motivation at the individual level will lead to low morale at the team level. When you look at the individual members of your staff, are they striving for success or satisfied with doing the bare minimum?
There are a number of factors that can contribute to low motivation in your sales team. These include:
Employees are not being challenged to grow
We no longer live in a time where an employee takes a job and works those specific tasks for the next 50 years. Employees want to grow. They want to learn new things, take on new responsibilities, develop themselves personally, and move upwards in a company. When they don't have these opportunities, they feel stifled and anxious, and they'll look elsewhere for work.
Expectations have not been clearly outlined, or employees are not properly trained
There is nothing more frustrating than wondering: What are my responsibilities? What goals must I reach? What are the benchmarks of my success? Actually, there is one thing that's worse... knowing all of that but not being given the education or the tools to achieve it.
Employees have no say in their jobs
Not every employee is looking for power over someone else in the workplace, but most individuals would like to have autonomy over their own role and responsibilities. When employees are involved in the planning process and have the ability to make decisions, they'll be more engaged.
Low morale can strike even the most forward-thinking, culture-centric workplaces. Maintaining a positive environment for your employees is an ongoing process, and sometimes good practices slip away and make room for challenges to arise.
If your sales team is unhappy and appears to be going through the motions, it's important to understand what could be causing the problem. Here are a few possibilities:
There's no faith in the leadership
If employees believe that leaders are just out for themselves, don't have a clear idea of where they are guiding the company, or are inconsistent in their behaviors and interactions, trust will be eroded and morale will suffer.
Communication is not encouraged
If your staff doesn't feel comfortable approaching you with challenges they're experiencing with customers, procedures, management, or one another, they'll find another outlet for their dissatisfaction. That could mean complaining to customers, or each other, or looking for new opportunities outside of your company.
Employees are being left in the dark
Change is the only constant, but if you aren't letting your employees in on the changes happening within your company, they'll be mistrustful, and may even jump to their own conclusions (which they then share with others).
Taking steps to boost morale in your sales team is one of the most important things you can do for the health of your organization. Here are a few ways to do it:
Give your employees the opportunity to socialize with one another and encourage enjoyable experiences. This will not only bond your group together and encourage teamwork but will introduce an aspect of fun and liveliness into your team. Motivational speaker Marvelless Mark Kamp has fun and interactive team building programs to ensure that your employees stop performing like solo artists and start performing like a band.
Often times, managers will plaster a fake smile on their face and pretend that everything in the company is perfect. Unfortunately, this doesn't improve morale; it actually damages it. If there is something happening that you don't agree with but can't control, it's okay to explain this to your team. You don't have to bash anyone or anything; just explain that this is the current environment, and while it's not necessarily the best thing in your eyes, you'll need to make the most out of it for the good of the team.
While time spent at work should be time spent on work, your employees have families, friends, health problems, and other issues outside of the office that may occasionally interfere with their mood or energy level. Being understanding of your team's personal lives will go a long way towards building loyalty and creating a happy staff.
Your employees likely have philanthropic endeavors that they do during their time off (or wish they had more time off so they could do). Why not give them a set amount of hours each month or each quarter to volunteer or to dedicate their services to a worthy cause? Encourage them to work together on these projects, and you get the bonus of fostering teamwork.
While your sales team may not be motivated at the moment, all hope is not lost. There are a variety of practices that you can incorporate into your company today.
Why does your company exist? What problem is it solving in the marketplace, and how are your employees a part of this? The company mission isn't just a few sentences decorating the lobby; it's a guiding star that should dictate every decision that gets made.
In order for it to do this, you must share your mission with the employees and, most importantly, live it.
What do you expect from your team members? Do they have sales goals that they have to reach or other KPIs that you are measuring them on? Be clear about exactly what your employees must achieve in order to "excel at their job." Put this in writing and revisit it on a regular basis. Including them in the development process will also help to get their buy-in.
Now that your employees know what they're supposed to do, give them the training necessary to accomplish those goals. This may include one-on-one sales training or mentorship, access to business or personal development books, or bringing in a motivational speaker to shift their mindset. Marvelless Mark shares the wisdom of music's greatest icons to help your employees unleash their inner rock stars.
Employees need to know that their hard work is valued and their contribution lifts the entire team up. Celebrate not just the ideas that panned out but also the attempts that blew up in their faces. Why? Because innovation and risk breed amazing rewards and help employees feel like they can step outside their comfort zone and still be appreciated.
Low morale and motivation can be a dangerous virus that spreads throughout your team and organization. Thankfully, by taking the right steps now, you can improve how your employees view their jobs and what they bring to the table each day.