In addition to the salesperson, large account software sales teams include support personnel such as a technical consultant, business consultant, implementation manager, and contract manager. Have you ever thought about how different the motivations are for each of these people?
What employee engagement ideas do you use? I've found that, although not an ironclad rule, salespeople tend to rely mostly on financial rewards, managers on opportunities for advancement, and consultants on opportunities for personal development.
Keeping people with dissimilar motivations together in a cohesive team is problematic -- and usually not included in the job performance review. If the motivational divide between team members grows too wide, it can spawn feelings of apprehension, indifference, and resistance that negatively impact sales success.
Are You Sure Everyone Wants to Be Here?
Next time you writing goals for a job performance review, consider what happens to someone's motivation under the following circumstances:
- When the perceived magnitude of new challenges surpasses their skills and experience, they become apprehensive over the rising chance of failure.
- When they feel their skills and experience greatly exceed what is needed to meet new challenges, they turn indifferent from the lack of engaging work.
- When they deem that the rewards for success aren't on par with the work of developing new skills or meeting new challenges, they grow resistant to further effort.
Given time, team members tend to resolve these less-than-ideal situations themselves by leaving the manager, job, or company. This unplanned turnover is expensive for the company.
The Work Is the Thing: Make It Important to Them
What employee engagement ideas will keep the team engaged, motivated, and effective? Actively balance the new challenges, personal development plans, and reward system for each member of the team.
- Spread attractive assignments among team members. Don't fall prey to the "silver bullet" mentality that you can only depend on the same people that won the last sale. Develop team members as equally as possible- making best use of their individual strengths- and ensure that you have "depth on the bench."
- Make the creation of personal development plans a high-priority, transparent activity. The plan should go beyond a job performance review and help the employee grow into their next target role. It might include foreign assignments, work in different functional groups, earning a degree, or joining high-visibility projects.
- Consider sharing the wealth. There are ways to construct compensation plans that better motivate and reward team members while limiting increased expenses. In his book, The Compensation Solution, John E. Tropman suggests broad-banding, variable pay, or variable merit increases.
These employee engagement ideas will help close the motivational divide and alleviate the symptoms of apprehension, indifference, and resistance that reduce the effectiveness of the sales team.
Have you noticed any lack of engagement across your extended team? How has an inability to work together caused problems? What results could you get if everyone worked as a driven, cohesive team?