Well we are one month into the new year with new sales goals fresh on our minds. With an economy in seemingly great shape, expectations are high for another year of solid growth. The problem with the fenestration industry, however, is that January is anything but blazingly quick out of the gate. So, in the meantime, how do we motivate our sales forces to help companies achieve another year of solid growth and profitability?

Well, there are three major factors that motivate a sales force.

#1: Money

It’s no secret that salespeople are highly motivated by money. Give them the opportunity to make more money and they’ll jump on it. Independent reps are a prime example; their income is 100% commission based. The more they sell, the more money they make. You don’t have to tell them to get out there and sell. They are telling themselves this every hour of every day! You also don’t have to tell them to watch their expenses, because they pay their own. They spend the company’s money as if it were their own, because it truly is! Now, if you have a company-direct salesforce, the money factor still applies. Most companies pay direct salespeople a base salary plus commission or bonus, so make the commission or bonus a significant part of the equation to allow your salespeople to significantly leverage their efforts to grow their income. If your sales keep growing year after year, then it should not bother management to pay salespeople more money. Sales compensation is still a small percentage of overall revenue, yet sales represents the lifeblood of the company. Without their success, nothing else matters. Sales growth propels the company into a leadership position not to mention it satisfies the company’s shareholders.

#2: Respect

Great salespeople are highly confident, competent and self-motivated people. They don’t have to be told what to do, and in fact despise it. So, show them respect by not micromanaging. Give them the freedom to go where they feel they need to go, to manage their own time and to tailor their sales approaches in manners that work best for them. Granted, they must manage their expenses in such a way to meet budgets and corporate policies, which, as previously mentioned, is not an issue for independent reps. But telling them when and where to go and who to see will not work with self-motivated creatures like salespeople. It will only drive them to take their talents to the opposing team, and that will work against you. In fact, if you have salespeople that feel they need to ask you where they should travel, who they should visit, and how they should pitch your product, then be worried. Be very worried. Invariably it’s the best salespeople that end up leaving due to frustration. It is also the ones who care the most about your company. The people who stay don’t really care as much as they are simply there to collect a paycheck. This article by Ronald Allan Pablo really sums it up. The best people leave and the ones who stay are merely going through the motions!

#3: Marketing Support

Marketing support is like the air and naval support backing up the troops that are storming a beachfront. Marketing support consists of: advertising to build brands; sales aids to help pitch products; independent test reports to prove that your product has real advantages; quality samples that allow prospective customers to see and touch your products; and, last but not least, high quality and unique products that command a higher price yet represent a greater value. Great salespeople do not like to sell on price – it’s a losing battle. There will always be a cheaper product to come along to displace a cheap product. Great salespeople love to establish long-term, trusting relationships with their customers and are known for solving customers’ problems by providing unique and high- quality products that are backed by superior service.

So, remember these three main principles necessary to create a highly motivated sales force. It could make the difference between celebrating a highly successful year in December versus being left in the dust of your competitors who know how to better leverage the talents of their more motivated and effective salesforce!

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