Preparation and Support Drive Seller Motivation
March 1, 2024
The Cringe Podcast - Episode 2 - Matt Cameron
More than 40,000 books, publications and journal articles have focused on strategies  to motivate sales reps and sales teams. Despite the comprehensive research and a wealth of strategies, an astonishing dilemma persists – approximately 25% of the salesforce turns over each year. 

Yes, every four years there’s a complete cycle of recruiting and training new sales staff. Not only does this bleed institutional knowledge, but also such a high turnover rate reveals a lack of institutional understanding of what truly motivates sellers.

“How to motivate salespeople” is among the most often used search engine queries related to sales management. The underlying question here is not only about motivation in a general sense, but also about what exactly is it that we are motivating sellers to do? 

The primary goals are straightforward: deliver high-performance selling through practice, adoption of new technologies and methodologies. However, the route to achieving these goals is where sales teams get stuck.

My research in this domain indicates that two elements: support and preparation are drivers for understanding seller motivation.

 

 

Support is a matter of perception

Support is often misunderstood by managers. Many believe they are providing adequate support to their teams, but support, in reality, is a subjective experience. It’s not about the actual support provided, but how sellers perceive it. This perception plays a vital role in seller motivation, satisfaction, performance, and even decisions to stay with or leave the company.

Employees often think about questions such as: Does my organization/manager value me? Does my manager care about my aspirations and feelings? Is my company investing in my growth? The answers to these questions shape employee perception of support.

A meta-analysis of perceived supervisory support in the Journal of Business Research reveals that when employees sense higher levels of support from their direct supervisors, they are more motivated and satisfied, less likely to leave the organization, and perform better. 

To foster this sense of support, managers and organizations must go beyond providing basic knowledge and compliance training. They should offer sellers high-quality coaching tailored to specific learning needs that have a direct impact on their success with customers. 

True mastery is not just about transferring information, it’s about changing behavior.

 

Preparation is the foundation of confidence

Support can be achieved with adequate preparation. When it comes to adequate preparation, the focus shifts to applied training with relevant and customized feedback. This training should relate to real-world scenarios where sellers can see their progress and success over time. Sellers should have an opportunity to practice the most critical component of their job: informed and productive conversations with customers. When sellers feel adequately prepared, their confidence soars.

Confident sellers are not only motivated, but they also approach sales conversations with enthusiasm. They engage with customers, knowing they are equipped to succeed. This confidence is the result of systematic, hands-on practice that simulates the real situations sellers will experience when they’re doing their job.

When sellers feel supported and prepared, they are more likely to align with the organization’s strategic goals, provide exceptional service to customers, and offer valuable feedback from the field.

It’s no surprise that engaged sellers, who feel both supported and prepared, contribute to a 21% increase in revenue, as reported by Gallup. Some studies indicate even higher gains.

The message for CROs and sales enablement leaders is unequivocal: increase seller motivation by ensuring sellers feel supported, not only with tools, but also with applied training that enhances their performance in customer interactions. 

Leads and prospects are precious and filling the top of the funnel is increasingly challenging. Sending unprepared sellers into conversations with customers is not just a missed opportunity; it’s a direct hit to the bottom line.

 

 

This content was created by Stefanie Boyer

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Despite significant investment in sales-training programs worldwide, nearly 70% of the information provided is very likely forgotten within a day and another 10% or more is likely forgotten within a...

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