10 Ways to Increase Sales Results without Changing the Commission Plan

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Once you begin generating leads from your lead generation campaigns, you need your sales reps to follow up and convert those leads into qualified sales opportunities. Based on the numbers we recommend to our clients, 75% of your company’s leads should originate from lead generation campaigns, events, and referrals. The remaining 25% should come from your sales reps’ prospecting activities.

Activities Drive Sales Results

Activities drive results. But what do you do if your sales reps aren’t making the calls that will generate the leads to drive the sales results you need? And, what do you do if your reps aren’t following up on campaign leads?

Those are two questions I get asked by business owners in one out of four conversations. Seriously.

The three things I tell them are:

  1. Train your sales reps to prospect and sell more effectively. It will increase their confidence and the sales activity.
  2. Make sure your compensation plan is motivating the activities and solutions you want your reps focused on the most.
  3. Manage your sales reps to your performance expectations. Have them defined and documented so your reps know what expectations you have and there aren’t any surprises.

The problem with managing to performance expectations is that many technical business owners take that quite literally. They turn into drill sergeants with whistles in hand, watching daily activity reports, counting calls completed and appointments set.

Don’t get me wrong. The drill sergeant aspect of sales management is critical. I’m the first person to coach you to define performance expectations for your team. But setting and measuring activities and goals isn’t the only way to motivate a sales rep into actions that drive sales results.

Sometimes your sales people just need to know you think they’re great at their job!

A little positive reinforcement can go a long way in motivating the activities you’re looking for from your team. Consider when you need to set aside the drill sergeant, get out your pompoms and become a cheerleader.

10 Ways to Show Reps They Are Great

Here are 10 ways to show your reps how great you think they are without putting on a cheerleader uniform. Once you get going, I’ll bet you can think of 10 more to add to the list!

  1. Praise their activity. I’m not talking about the big stuff. I’m talking about the little stuff: 10 competed calls in an hour or activity tracking in ConnectWise or your CRM.
  2. Ride along. Once a month, ride along with your struggling sales rep to observe how they do during sales calls. Use it as a training opportunity. You may model the way or simply offer some coaching. Share not just what can be improved upon but also what was done well.
  3. Listen in. Similar to the ride along, but over the phone. Listen in on calls your rep is making to offer coaching and praise. Even if your phone system doesn’t allow you listen to the conversation, sitting desk-side while your rep makes calls still provides valuable insights.
  4. Create a contest. Contests are a great way to get the competitive juices flowing and have some fun. Use some simple games to make prospecting fun. Even a chart with the thermometer bubble measuring calls completed or appointments set in a month can propel activity forward.
  5. Acknowledge their strengths. Acknowledge them to yourself. Stop harping on all the things your rep isn’t doing, and start noticing what they’re good at.
  6. Pick one thing. In your one-on-one meetings or after a joint sales meeting, share with your rep two or three things they did well that you noticed over the past week. Give specific examples so they can repeat the positive actions again.
  7. Send a note of appreciation. Your mother taught you to write thank you notes. Sit down and put pen to paper and tell your rep why you’re pleased to have them as part of the team. Maybe they stepped up to do something they didn’t have to, or you saw a spark of creativity.
  8. Share the love. During a meeting with a customer or vendor, talk up something great your rep has done. When you share the love, others notice your rep’s value and suddenly your rep is excited to do more selling.
  9. Shine a light on them. Tell the tech team, help desk, other reps and the leadership team something that your rep is doing well. Get the whole company involved in supporting your rep’s sales results.
  10. Ring the bell. At IBM, we had a big brass bell that hung in the sales bull pen. Reps were supposed to ring it every time they made a sale. I say “supposed to” because the modest reps were shy about tooting their own horn. Get a bell, and YOU ring it when your rep makes a sale. Whoop it up.

Why Sales Activity Increases

In your mind you’re thinking, why the heck do I need to do these things for a sales rep? Aren’t reps used to goals and targets? Don’t they take rejection in stride? All this feels pretty touchy-feely to me.

Do you hear the drill sergeant in that self-talk?

It’s precisely because a sales rep works from sales goals and activity targets that they need to hear when they’re doing a good job. The only time they get a real sense of appreciation is when they gain access to a new account or close a sale. You know those are both tough, and they don’t happen frequently. If you want to increase activity and drive more sales, your reps need some positive motivation between first-time appointments set and closed sales.

If you really want to improve your sales results, put the whistle and stick away once in a while. Whoop it up. Pull out the pompoms and show your reps how great they are doing at the right activities. You’ll see sales activities improve and sales results increase – without a change to your compensation plan.

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