4 Tips to Keep Your Salespeople Productive During The Holidays

Jan 31, 2020
4 min read
Browse our company’s best practices and strategies on how to ensure salespeople are productive during the holiday stretch.

Oh, what fun it is to have… an office full of merry, jolly, and bright salespeople! This happens when final projects are finished, deadlines are met, sales quotas are made, and the spirit of the holidays can finally consume the office. But how do you walk the line between enjoying the festivities and keeping the focus on the important work that needs to be completed before the New Year?

Holidays around the office sometimes translates to a slower time of year in terms of productivity. With this in mind, a big question for leaders is how to keep employees motivated during the stretch of time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Between November and December, “holiday brain” can take over as the tempting influence of family, friends, parties, happy hours, and tradition outweighs the desire to work. Keeping your employees productive during the holiday season is tough because, after all, they’re experiencing the stress of both work and personal pressures during this time of year. 

But, at the end of the day, bottom lines must still be hit and deals must be closed. So... how do you instill the kind of motivation needed to keep your team productive when they’re minds are focused on gift guides and so-close-they-can-taste-it vacation destinations? 

If you take into account the following holiday productivity tips for your salespeople, your team will see this seasonal compromise as a win-win.  

1. Get into the spirit with a SPIF!

Show your employees that you enjoy the holidays just like they do by setting up a SPIF (special performance incentive fund). For example, if you’re running the SDR team you could put a SPIFF in place that would reward the team member who sets the most meetings in December or January with Apple AirPods. During a time when productivity often wanes, a SPIF is a good way to keep your team focused on their goals. Remember, your employees take cues from you.  If you’re the living, breathing embodiment of Ebenezer Scrooge, then they’ll likely follow suit and productivity will plummet. However, if you show them you’re in the holiday spirit AND work still has to get done you can bet you’ll be more positively received.  

TIP: Simple— decorate the office,  Create a SPIF, or throw an office holiday party when specific goals are met! 

2. Offer end-of-year rewards and recognition. 

Acknowledgment of past wins allows reps to remember the highlights of their year and can inspire even more productivity for the last part of 2019. There are many ways to share wins--you can send out an end of the year recap or circulate an email to senior staff with a summary of top performers. 

Extra points if you already have a platform like Xactly Incent that shows salespeople their ranking on the leaderboard. Find the high points of your team’s performance and keep in mind all of the positive achievements from this year— it will help remind everyone of why they do what they do, even when the job can be stressful.

Let your team know that their work is appreciated. When employees are thanked for a job well done, they are more motivated and inspired to do great work. This gives employees a sense of pride and ownership over their accomplishments. 

When the holidays finally come to an end, highlight the positives that have happened throughout the year with specific shout-outs to people who really went above-and-beyond to make sure your department stayed on track and full steam ahead during the slow period. In fact, according to this infographic from Officevibe, 69% of employees would work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated.

TIP: Recognition comes in many forms —it’s important to know what works best for YOUR team. Some respond better to monetary rewards while others thrive on public recognition. Create an email or powerpoint highlighting key sales metrics & how your team/department has contributed to the overall picture. 

3. Create a compensation plan measure that emphasizes end-of-year performance.

Many sales organizations start out energized the first two quarters of the year, but as the months come and go, that excitement starts to wane as the year comes to a close. As a result, it is important to create a compensation plan that continues to promote an active and diverse pipeline.

Hitting quota is the ultimate goal, but offering incentives for employees to keep selling once they hit their numbers is crucial. Timing is everything so it’s important to make sure that each rep is pushing through to the finish line (end of Q4)!

TIP: Put together a compensation plan that awards reps for continuing to sell, even after they’ve hit quota. For example, if Q4 is quiet for your selling teams, offer extra incentives for that quarter to kick performance into high gear. For them, this makes the light at the end of the tunnel brighter, and encourages them to continue to push through to the end of each fiscal year. 

4. Plan ahead & offer schedule flexibility.

Don’t let the holidays sneak up on you without having a concrete plan in motion to make sure everyone’s on the same page while the office is empty. Meet with your staff right NOW to go over everyone’s scheduling needs and to make sure nothing slips through the cracks. Does a prospect need to see a demo before 2020? Ensure that you’re staffed to meet those needs. Make your list of priorities— check it once, check it twice, and find out who’s responsible for what in order to make sure those are delegated out before they call their ride to the airport. 

TIP: If your staff can work remotely, consider letting them extend their time away while still meeting productivity goals. Allowing schedules to flex a bit to accommodate holiday obligations can help support your employees' work-life balance and build loyalty to your company.

Holidays aside, when it comes to sales performance— motivating your reps is key to success. Learn industry best practices and tips on how to inspire sales reps and maximize their selling power in our guide, “Inspiring Sales Reps Performance”.

  • Sales Coaching and Motivation
Emily Jahn
Content Marketing Manager

Emily Jahn is a Content Marketing Manager at Xactly. She earned a degree in advertising from The University of Colorado - Boulder and has experience in copywriting, social media, and digital marketing.