In the sales world, there are several celebrations—for a strong quarter close, fiscal year-end, or when that big deal finally closes—but how often do you thank your sales team in between these events? On the first Friday in March each year, sales teams are honored on National Salesperson Day. But this shouldn’t be the only day we thank our teams or check in to make sure they have all of the resources they need to succeed.
This year, National Salesperson Day falls on March 6, 2020. To help you say thanks, here are 10 key things you can do to make sure your team feels appreciated every day of the year.
1. Celebrate Every Win Big or Small
One of the easiest ways to reward sales teams for their hard work year-round is by taking the time to recognize their achievements. Encourage your team to celebrate their performance—send an email for every deal and shout out the team that helped you get the big win. Bring attention to the reps that are crushing their quota and closing big deals. Not only does this motivate them to keep doing well, it can also encourage middle-tier reps to step up to the plate and improve their performance.
2. Small, Personal Rewards
Personalized rewards can be some of the most inspirational thank you’s that sales reps receive. It shows that you have paid attention and gotten to know your team. These don’t need to be extravagant gifts (it’s the thought that counts, right?). Something as small as giving each team member their favorite candy or a gift card to their favorite store can be an adequate gesture. Again, this is also a good way to boost morale and motivate the rest of your team to up their performance to receive additional perks.
3. Give Reps 1:1 Time
While meeting with your entire team as a whole is important, it’s crucial to give each rep individual time with their manager on a regular basis. This allows you to be more up to speed on your pipeline and know where each rep stands. Offering one-on-one time for your team allows for additional coaching that individual reps might need and can help you layout personalized career paths.
4. Understand How Tenure Impacts Performance
A sales rep’s experience has a huge impact on their performance. You can’t expect a new hire to perform as well as a fully-ramped person on your team. However, Xactly Insights data shows that reps hit their peak performance between two and three years in a role. After five years, quota attainment tends to level off. This is the best time to talk with reps about career paths and potential role advancements so they maintain a high level of performance.
5. Balance Your Sales Territories
Believe it or not, sales territory maps have a huge impact on both morale and performance. We’ve all heard the argument – “Well my territory sucks. So and so’s territory is way better.” Getting your territories balanced is essential to your team’s success. By combining your existing sales performance insights with third-party data, you can design balanced territories that give each rep maximum, equal opportunities to meet and exceed their quota. Plus, organizations that use territory mapping technology can see upwards of 30% higher team performance overall.
6. Benchmark Incentives for Competitive Pay
Money is the biggest motivator in sales. It’s also the number one reason reps leave their job for another opportunity, according to HubSpot. When you aren’t paying your team competitively, accurately, or timely, you’re not telling them you appreciate their hard work. Comparing your incentives against industry peers (using a tool like Xactly Benchmarking) helps you offer stronger pay, attract new talent, and retain your top performers.
7. Watch for Sales Burnout
Sales is a stressful industry, so it’s no surprise that it’s a role that’s at high risk for burnout. Keeping an eye out for reps with decreasing morale and motivation goes hand-in-hand with one-on-one check-ins. Sales managers should monitor struggling reps more closely and touch base with reps regularly if they notice uncharacteristic performance dips.
Here are a few signs you should be watching for to identify sales burnout on your team:
- Physical exhaustion and a lack of energy
- Emotional exhaustion and depersonalization
- Increased negativity and detachment at work
8. Build a Stronger Team with Diversity
Research from McKinsey shows enterprises that embrace diversity outperform their competition. Xactly Insights data also shows that this is true in sales organizations. Teams with a more even split of male and female reps often see higher overall quota attainment. (Learn more about that in our State of Gender Equality in Sales report).
Therefore, diversity is something Xactly has consistently worked towards since our founding. Our VP of HR, Leanne Bernhardt, leads the charge at Xactly for diversity and inclusion—not only through each new hire, but also through internal programs and celebrations that help our organization understand and learn about different cultures year-round.
9. Know the Warning Signs of Turnover
The average annual turnover rate for sales is 34.7%, according to a Bridge Group study—and unfortunately, you can’t always see it coming until a top performer unexpectedly drops their notice. Using a tool like Xactly Insights, you can gain deeper visibility into performance, flag troublesome performance trends, and flag reps at risk for turnover—giving you more time to take action and retain your top performers.
10. Instill a Positive Work Culture
Work culture goes a long way in your organization and has a big impact on performance. By cultivating a positive environment, you help reps feel appreciated every day on the job. But it has to start from the top-down—your leadership team needs to live and breathe your culture, values, and mission and that needs to be shared down to each individual employee and every customer you interact with. Here’s how our Chief Customer Officer, Bernie Kassar, helps instill positive culture at Xactly.
Motivating Teams Beyond National SalesPerson Day
Long story short, you should be optimizing and transforming your entire organization to ensure your sales team is motivated every day. The days of traditional sales are over. With increasing competition, organizations must adapt to new markets, customer trends, and industry changes in order to lead the pack.
It has to start with leadership and ensuring sales teams have the resources they need to unleash their full potential and succeed. Ultimately, it comes down to whether organizations want to get stuck in stagnant waters or use frustration as a catalyst to drive change and innovation.