In 2017, sales manager effectiveness will largely be measured by the ability to motivate and inspire each salesperson to produce at higher levels. Here are five sales management strategies to achieve consistent revenue growth:

Be Committed

What makes great sales coaches great is often their commitment to their trainees’ success. What their teams remember later is the effort that they put into communicating and connecting with them.

The sales coach who turns up only when a mistake is made or when there is a bad outcome becomes associated with failure. Instead, be the coach who is committed to knowing each team member and their individual strengths and development needs. If you regularly touch base to offer feedback, your team members will know that you believe in their success.

Coach Strategically

Sales managers and coaches typically spend the most time with their best salesperson or their worst salesperson. This is a logical plan; the worst salespeople are the most severe underperformers, while the best salespeople likely work on the most profitable deals.

Think of it another way, though. Who will actually benefit the most from your coaching efforts, and who will be most capable of quickly implementing your techniques? The best salespeople will probably know if they need help without your telling them. The team’s lowest performer, who lacks both the skill and the will to succeed, is likely not a good fit for the team. It is those in the middle, salespeople with the will to do well but whose skills need development, who can most benefit from and be inspired by your attention and efforts.

Make Use of Natural Motivators

There are four factors that can lend themselves to natural motivation for the sales team:  achievement, recognition, the work itself and the desire for increased responsibility. While it may take some effort to learn which of the four factors works best for each individual, they are all powerful motivational forces to keep on hand.

  • People naturally yearn for the sense of achievement that comes from feeling that they are improving, which you can offer them by means of a “Success Profile” – a compilation of sales best practices that forms the basis of regular coaching conversations focused on helping your salespeople become better.
  • Recognition is fairly easy to offer, and there’s no need to go overboard with it as long as you are formally recognizing individual success in some fashion.
  • As far as the work itself goes, salespeople who love their jobs often tend to be great at their jobs. Give their efforts meaning by making it clear to them why their work matters, and their self-motivation will be profound.
  • Offering recognition in the form of your trust in their ability to take on more responsibilities or even move into a higher position can motivate many of your more ambitious salespeople to reach even greater heights.

Motivate the Demotivated

Sometimes, what a demotivated or uninspired salesperson really needs is an honest conversation. Try to avoid passing judgment or jumping to conclusions. Rather, make specific observations of what you’ve noticed, and open the floor to your salesperson to discuss their problems or concerns. This is an important task to keep the team on track. Make your mindset that of a helper, and work to understand where they are coming from, reach an agreement on the nature of the problem that exists and what has caused it, and find methods to address it.

While you do not want the team member to feel attacked, you do want them to know you are aware of an issue and to feel like you truly want to learn more about it. It can help to approach these crucial conversations asking yourself one question: How can I have the greatest possible positive influence on this rep and the situation? If you take that approach, you will be acting with the right mindset and intentions.

Set a Breakthrough Goal

There is a tendency among salespeople to set modest goals. The problem is that while such small goals are relatively easy to reach, they are ultimately not very inspiring, even when they are obtained. To put it simply, playing it safe does not do much to motivate anyone.

This is why setting a “breakthrough goal” is so helpful. Set a goal to achieve a level of performance that is beyond anything that your team has reached before, and should by all accounts be just a bit beyond your combined capabilities. The effort to reach this new goal will require great focus and effort, and, while it may take several attempts to achieve it, the motivation of seeing just how much more the team is capable of should go a long way toward inspiring everyone.

What’s your breakthrough goal for your sales team in 2017? Now is the perfect time to answer this question, and share your breakthrough goal with your sales team. Make the New Year your best year – ever!