You Can Do It: Unique Ways to Motivate Your Sales Team in a New Year

Business.com / Sales / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

This is an excellent way to glue the high performers on your team to your company. At least for as long as the vesting takes.

As the calendar flips from 2015 to 2016, the New Year represents the perfect time for your company to reassess its compensation program for your sales team.

Even if you don’t have extra funds to throw at your sales team, there are some excellent options to help motivate sales teams.

Try any one of these suggestions to maximize sales without increasing budgets.

Related Article: Motivated to Sell: Proven Sales Compensation Strategies

Understand Your Team

Every year, successful companies sit down with the members of their sales team and make time to listen to their concerns. This process is usually paired with a performance review. Giving an employee feedback on their work is important. It gives them visibility on the areas where they can improve while allowing them to push themselves in ways they never thought possible.

The communication during an associate’s annual or quarterly review cannot be one-way. Just as the supervisor or team leader is taking time to give the employee valuable feedback, an employee needs to feel they can push back and offer recommendations to the company that will be taken seriously.

While listening is an important trait of a good leader, it’s also a critical feature in the most successful businesses in the country. Take the time to listen. What you’ll find is that employees aren’t just looking for more money. They’re looking for purpose, affirmation and opportunities to grow.

Leverage the Benefits of Working With a Growing Company

A company that is in the early stages will not have a ton of extra capital to throw at potential talent, or fostering current talent. That’s where smart leaders turn what may appear to be a weakness into a strength. The weakness of being small and having a smaller budget can be turned into a strength. To get the best out of your sales team, a leader has to sell their team on the future potential of their organization.

The most rewarding careers happened within companies that started small and then scaled out over the course of an employee’s time with the company. For growing companies, this can be an incredibly challenging time. However, finding partners to help your company grow from an idea into a major brand in the market is key to long-term success. That’s why many companies have partnered with business growth experts, like iTransition, as they tackle every phase of corporate development.

Corporate expansion equals opportunity. While a sales team member may feel they’re currently underpaid for what they bring to the table, the value of getting their foot in the door on a growing company can be priceless.

The leaders and management of tomorrow’s larger company should be plucked from the members of the team of today’s smaller, growing company.

Provide a Clear Game Plan That’s Easy to Communicate

Keep in mind that this approach necessitates a gamble on the part of the employee. If they feel their compensation or benefits package is too small for what they bring to the table, they have to then gamble on the future of the company being worth the short-term sacrifice. This is where having an easy to communicate plan for the future becomes critical.

Sharing your vision for the future with your team allows the people rowing the oars in your organization to have a sense of organizational direction. Plus, the more people contributing value to the plan for your future the better. By opening up your plan to the constructive criticism of your team, you’ll be able to give them buy-in while leveraging their unique experiences and insights.

Related Article: Fill It to the Top: Tips to Ensure a Strong Sales Funnel

Consider Offering Company Shares as Incentives

Thanks to those over-priced lawyers in your life, your company likely has multiple “classes” of shares. Non-voting, or class C shares in your company are the perfect holiday bonus to your top performers. By giving them a vested interest in the company, without giving them voting rights on the Board, you can easily show your top team members how much you value their contributions to your company’s bottom line.  

This approach glues your top-performers to the company as they now have an interest in the success of the organization. However, giving out shares isn’t without drawbacks. First, you’re giving away shares in the future of your company. As it grows, those shares will become significantly more valuable. Plus, you’ll need these shares in the future to help decide the direction of the company. This is especially true if your company is acquired, you look to raise new investment, or you take your organization public.

A cheap solution now may turn into an expensive one down the road. What happens if the employees you gave shares to end up not working out? While they won’t be able to vote with their second class shares, you’ll be tied to them for the foreseeable future.

To combat this, some companies require vesting of gifted shares. This means that an employee’s shares earned through direct or indirect compensation are only fully theirs after a set period of time with the organization.

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