Sales Team Motivation From Frank Rumbauskas

By: Frank Rumbauskas

Managers often come to me for advice on how to motivate salespeople, especially when their salespeople are in a rut. More often than not telling them what not to do usually does the trick. Most managers are de-motivating rather than motivating and they dont even know it.
Lets talk about funnels and forecasts, for example. Funnels and forecasts are very important to the sales operation. Managers and salespeople both need to know what their potential opportunities, and funnels will track those opportunities. Your business cant operate successfully without proper planning for the future with forecasting. It is widely thought these are absolutely necessary to succeed with any operation. In reality though, few words scare sales people more than funnel and forecast.
Most people think of funnel reviews as micromanagement, performance review / probation. Just hearing those words can turn a positive sales person into a negative sales person. They shortly lose their excitement and dont know why. Managers frequently increase these reviews as performance decreases, this can cause performance to decrease even further, and nobody will win in the end. Continuous negative funnel reviews can only make your sales people lose self confidence and limit their beliefs.
Forecasts are a similar problem, but in different ways. Few salespeople forecast accurately. Nobody wants to fall short on their forecast, so they embellish, exaggerate and make sure the numbers add up to where they should be rather than where they really are. This results in managers who expect those numbers, and salespeople who dodge managers because they know they aren't going to perform as forecasted. Then there are salespeople like myself who do the exact opposite - since I hated nothing more than having a manager constantly ask me, "When is this one going to close? When is that one going to close?," I intentionally left good deals off my forecast. While it eliminated the problem of constantly being asked when all those deals would sign, it created another form of stress in having to deal with the consequences of a funnel that fell short of expectations.
Activity is another one of those de-motivating words. Unfortunately most managers will just throw this word around without thinking of its repercussions, to anyone not meeting quotas. This accomplishes nothing other than setting up the sales person to believe that a series of funnel and performance reviews are right around the corner.
To keep sales people motivated: *Trust your sales people *Dont be overbearing but offer help *Dont overuse the words funnel, activity and forecast
In order to help those who are troubled you need to stick to these guidelines. There will be an increase in motivation by your sales team.

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Frank Rumbauskus is the author of Cold Calling Is a Waste of Time: Sales Success in the info Age. He is the founder of FJR Advisors LLC, which publishes training materials on generating business without cold calling. He also owns a nationwide insurance agency. For additional information, please visit http://

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