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Coaching Your Sales Team Through the Mid-Year Slump Vs Motivating
It’s officially mid-year and given human nature, a time when too commonly Sales Reps find themselves taking their foot off the pedal of their Sales Activity. This doesn’t tend to occur in Q4 due to heavy Sales Leadership focus on closing out the year strong or during Q1 when the entire organization is rallying around new year goals. However, the gap of time from Q2 through Q3 is often when Salespeople are left to self-motivate. This is when it’s essential that Sales Managers are proactive in helping Salespeople stay focused to keep the momentum going, additionally, managers should make use of any available data to help identify which reps are starting to fall behind.
I’ve found that in addition to the trend of this period having decreased hands-on sales management attention, there are a variety of reasons that the mid-year slump can be easy for a Salesperson to fall into. The three I see the most often:
- Sellers find themselves distracted by planning for their mid-year vacations in addition to taking care of children who are off during summer break.
- Buyers are busy with their summer business activities and personal time off, making them less accessible than usual.
- The mid-year interval simply gives Salespeople a false sense of security that there is “plenty of time left” to finish the year strong and no harm in lightening up activity a little.
Are you spread too thin and don’t have time to live in the trenches to guide and motivate your Salespeople effectively? I can help!
As a Sales coach, to combat these demotivators, it’s important to have a good pulse on key performance metrics in order to detect sales sluggishness early on. This visibility prompts you to recognize when to deploy motivation tactics to usher back in the right balance of activities that will protect long-term Sales Goal achievement. Sales motivation tactics should be tied to the “Dials and Levers” that we know directly correlate to influencing “the right” behaviors. They also work well to bring focus to new strategic direction changes that may have been decided upon during a company-level Mid-year Review.
Haven’t completed your Leadership Team Mid-Year Review? Draw from my workshop model to learn tips on facilitating an active review that assesses how the organization is tracking toward meeting its annual goals, and methods for collaboration when course correction is needed. Access the blog here: Mid-Year Review: Collaborate to Accelerate Your Business
Motivate Sales Teams with the Right Tactics
A lack of motivation has been cited as one of the main reasons why sales teams fail to meet their objectives. As a result, it is essential for sales managers to develop tactics that will help to motivate their team. The most effective motivation tactics will offer various positive results, such as sharpening the team’s focus and stimulating behavior adjustments that feed more strongly into meeting future sales objectives. However, in order to be successful, it is important to take a few key steps when developing motivation tactics:
STEP 1: During the mid-year span, assess your sales results from a leading and lagging indicator standpoint asking yourself things such as:
- Are you ahead or behind on your fiscal-year-to-date (FYTD) Sales Goals?
- Is your revenue performance trending as you forecasted?
- Does your Sales Pipeline show adequate volume and predictability?
- What is your Sales Pipeline projecting for Q3-Q4? This critical timeframe leading up to year-end needs to be secured far in advance.
STEP 2: Isolate opportunities for improvement and develop motivation tactics that have a direct connection to your “Dials and Levers” that drive performance. I’ll get you started with a series of examples after I finish laying the groundwork on these action steps.
STEP 3: Verify your current metric tracking system is equipped to monitor performance on new programs and develop adjustments as needed. Effective tracking is essential in understanding your Sales Rep adoption rate so you know when and with whom attention may be needed.
STEP 4: Develop your Sales Team communication plan before you take action. This is the essence of Sales Management; being connected with your Salespeople, ensuring they understand the objectives for new programs, and buying into the benefits to them personally. This may call for individual one-to-one meetings or pulling the group together in a creative way.
Invest time in your introduction in a way that aligns with the results you’re looking to achieve.
Are you or your Sales Leader interested in taking action but could use an advanced Sales Leadership Coach to guide your efforts? I help clients fill gaps in a variety of ways.
As I alluded to in STEP 2, “Dials and Levers” are the areas you’ll want to focus on to develop your motivation tactics to achieve big impact improvements. Below I’ve laid out a model to relay how you may want to approach this exercise. However, please note this is merely a sample model. Motivation tactics need to be custom developed to align with your Sales Process and overarching Company-wide Strategy to be effective.
This is a great way to get you started, here is a sampling of how certain problem areas can be tied to a motivation tactic to promote a different outcome:
Potential Mid-Year Sales Improvement Areas
Motivation Tactic Considerations
Sales aren’t closing with desired product mix balance.
FYTD sales are X% down from forecast.
There’s not enough Sales Pipeline momentum to support Q3-Q4 sales goals.
The same Sales Rep(s) continue to underperform.
Any of the above or others
Utilize Feedback Model by facilitating idea generation workshop with your Sales Team
As any good sales manager knows Mid-year Sales Sluggishness transcends industries, which is why it’s essential that Sales Management stay attuned to their Salespeople to apply motivational tactics to avoid the slump. It’s human nature for Salespeople to lose focus and momentum, especially during certain times of the year. With impending summer vacations giving rise to false senses of security heading into the second half of the year, it’s key that you have a “finger-on-the-pulse” of your Sales Team. With the proper motivation approaches, you will help your Sales Reps keep their foot on the pedal all the way through to a successful fiscal year-end!
Salesperson motivation has long been considered to be one of the critical tasks of sales management. If you struggle to allocate ample time in this impacting area, I can help.
Sales coaching is the key to unlocking a sales team’s potential and driving them to exceed their goals. But not all sales coaching systems are created equal. The Level Five Coaching System has been proven to deliver measurable results time and time again. With our system, you can master call planning and execution skills that will help your business achieve top-line revenue growth.
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I am part of a national group of Senior Sales Leaders who collaborate to share insights like the examples shown in this article. We formed because of our shared passion to help business leaders exponentially grow their revenue.
Dan is the President of Transcendent Sales Solutions, a company that empowers companies with sales strategies to accelerate revenue growth.