Weather forecasters have been describing the last few days as fall-like, and I love it! It’s been beautiful out, and while I’m sad to see the summer days fading away, I am excited for cooler, fall days ahead. The summer has been filled with beach days, summer vacations, warm weather, and unfortunately, some slower times in the sales world. We’ve seen a slight decrease in the amount of leads we're getting from clients for follow-ups, and out-of-office replies are flooding inside sales reps' inboxes, making it a bit more challenging to get prospects live on the phone.
The good news is, we are quickly approaching what I think is the best time of year – September! Kids are going back to school and everyone is facing the reality of diving back into their work. Teams are starting to scramble to figure out how they are going to allocate the remainder of their funds for the year. It’s the perfect time for sales reps to attack, qualify and set as many appointments as possible. The challenge for sales managers is to figure out the trick for motivating their teams to get excited about the fall months and out of the summer mentality that “It’s typical for the lead flow to be down.”
As sales managers, it’s crucial to keep everything fresh, maintaining the appropriate level of engagement from their teams and then some. Below are a few ways to increase sales reps' motivation, especially when they are finding it tough to get back into it after the sweet days of summer:
Kick off new, innovative incentive programs. It’s always exciting to kick off a new incentive program and to see the reactions flood through the office. New ways to earn additional money, outside of regular commission, are perfect ways to entice your reps. We recently kicked off a referral program for reps where they are focused on networking to bring in brand new customers. The level of engagement has been excellent – I can tell not only by the leads that are starting to show, but because of the questions reps been asking and the go-getter attitude they have about the program.
Introduce new tools. New technology is exciting for most every sales rep in the industry. They want to learn more and more about new tools they can use to make their lives and jobs easier, better, and for lack of a better term, “cooler.” I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of content recently about how to motivate and manage millennials. Odds are, many of the members on your team are millennials and require a bit of a different management style to keep them involved and “in the Know.” Introducing new tools to keep them motivated as the summer winds down is a great way to keep them engaged.
Roll out a long-term contest. While September and October were always my favorite months on the phones because prospects were planning budgets, November and December were sometimes more frustrating because prospects were beginning to use the “Call me back after the new year” excuse. In order to think ahead but also motivate your team to get a strong start in September, think about how you can utilize some long-term contests to motivate them. For instance, why not put a contest in place that’s focused around which individuals can get the highest amount of qualified opportunities to sales by the long weekend in November for Thanksgiving? Even if you might not have budget left for a direct monetary award, giving additional PTO is a huge motivator for inside sales reps, especially as the year comes to an end and they are low on vacation days.
Before we know it, we are going to be reading and writing blog posts about the holidays, and the potential of sales slowing down again. Before we get there though, let’s focus on September and the fall months and on what we can do now to motivate our teams to drive as many qualified appointments as possible. Kicking off new incentive programs, introducing new tools, and rolling out long term contests are great methods to accomplish this. How are you motivating your teams as we say good-bye to summer?