Welcome to 2022!
As a Sales Leader, you hopefully have your business goals mapped out, your business plan completed, and are charged up for the new year. If you do not, that is an issue, which is not part of today’s discussion!
Having a specific plan to kickstart the year is important. You and your leadership team probably have spent many hours on the budget, honing PowerPoints and spreadsheets, positioning your numbers with supporting evidence, and leveraging whatever relationships you can to arrive at an achievable plan. Now you have completed the logical plan. It is in black and white, rather inanimate, and will now hang over you for the year. Go for it!
Next, there needs to be a plan to galvanize the hearts and minds of your sellers to execute. Emotion creates motivation and motivation drives action!
Sellers are reasonably uncomplicated characters. Let’s look at four components of your plan to fire them up:
- Compensation Plans
Get your compensation plans done promptly at the start of the year. If you do not, this creates a negative force field, which feeds off itself and drives the belief that they are not important. It also creates uncertainty about what they will be paid. Worst of all, a spirit of mistrust can start to propagate that maybe there is a subversive reason as to why the plans are being delayed.
Before sharing their compensation plan, figure out what motivates them. Is it company or leadership recognition, extrinsic motivation – such as money or incentives, or peer competition?
Spend time with each seller on their plan. Your job is to sell it hard! Collaborate on the critical success factors you both will have to work on to achieve the targets and write the plan down. Leverage their motivation style and design your talk track around what is important to them.
By the time you read this article, if your team does not have their comp plans, you are already behind!
- Organizational Noise
Often, at the start of the year, there are things happening that can impact motivation, such as functional reorganization, role changes, and internal politics while jockeying for positions takes place.
As a leader, you have the responsibility to shield your team from the noise. You may be battling a war upwards in the organization, thinking the targets being pressed on you are unrealistic. If you allow your sellers to be sucked into this environment and they sense your feeling of concern or discomfort, let’s be real, you are not leading your team!
As far as your team is concerned, you are motivated and confident that we can overachieve and set new opportunities for growth.
- Leadership Self-Reflection
This is a great time for us to reflect on what worked well last year from a leadership and motivational perspective. Were your weekly pipeline calls effective? Did they really drive value and create motivated sellers? Your one-on-ones with your sellers – how could you make them more thought leadership focused versus boring to the point that they are now firmly in a habitual rut?
Talk to other leaders about their review processes and what works for them. It is a great opportunity to change it up and create a new approach, whether it be the team or one-on-one reviews. Announce it to your team and talk about your reassessment and how you believe these changes will be great for the business and for them personally.
- Create Boundaries
Sales Leaders, especially first-line Sales Leaders have things “coming at them” from all directions. These things could be another review from senior management, an underperforming client contract that has been escalated, or fighting internal processes for deal qualification, solutioning resources, or price concessions. These all threaten quality time with your sellers.
The demands are not going to go away, but you can create boundaries to ensure your people know their success is just as important to you as the cell phone call that has interrupted your weekly meeting.
Make sure when you are with your people that they have your attention. Do not take calls. Do not glance at emails. And please do not treat their weekly calls as the meeting that can always be moved because something “more important’ came up.
In return, your salespeople need to respect your time and priorities as well. You cannot be instantly available to them all the time – you are not their help desk on-call. You are their leader!
The start of the new year is the perfect time for a reset. Change it up and inspire motivated sellers to knock it out of the park in 2022.
Set aside an hour to reflect on what changes you can make to address the four points above. Write down your decisions and put the piece of paper in a drawer where you can reflect on your actions 30 days later.