In our previous blog, Greg Moses started a discussion about training and motivating a sales team to greater heights. Here is the conclusion. I hope this helps you get your year off to a great start. We look forward to supporting your hopes and dreams in the coming year.
How we do what we do. At one time, in our society, work consisted of mainly simple, non interesting tasks; factory work, if you will. To gain the desired results a worker had to produce X number of widgets within X amount of time. Otherwise, he may be docked pay. And you better watch them closely, wouldn’t want them to sit down before break time. Today, most work tasks are not simply algorithmic (having a set path to the correct outcome). Today, most work needs an individual touch and creativity where no algorithm exists to solve a task. This is the opposite of Algorithmic. Today, many work tasks change day to day depending on the circumstance. This is especially true with sales professionals. I believe that changes in our everyday workload are one of the very attractive things about being in sales. It’s different everyday. How closely are we watching are sales people? Do you think this makes them a bit “crazy?” Think about your boss looking over your shoulder… would that make you crazy?
The bottom line is that it is inconceivable that people are solely or even mainly motivated by external incentives.
“By studying Human Behavior, science has developed a new approach to motivation. This new approach has three essential elements: 1. Autonomy – the desire to direct our own lives. 2. Mastery — the urge to get better and better at something that matters. 3. Purpose — the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.” – Daniel Pink.
How do we help our team be more intrinsically motivated? How do we help them be autonomous (but still make ourselves available for help) and help them strive for Mastery and Purpose? Let’s get back to training. Wouldn’t training that is interesting, relevant information help your team Master their craft? Couldn’t this type of training help them to be more autonomous?
We have a pretty prestigious award in the sales division of our company. Over one hundred sales people compete, quarterly, to fill four winning slots each year to the Colorado Rockies for four days. While in Colorado these winners have the opportunity to visit with suppliers and learn even more about the products they sell. This prize is highly coveted and the competition to win can be fierce.
When I first started my position we had a pretty young sales team in our region and nobody had won this award in quite some time. The overall feeling was that it was just too hard to win, so other regions were taking home the prize quarter after quarter. I started to mentor one of our recent sales hires. He was, at first, reluctant because his sales territory was (in his words) so small. This sales person felt that there was no way he could compete with the more experienced sales folks. I put the planning process, and execution, responsibilities on him but I enlisted help from our suppliers and together we taught him what he needed to know to master the product lines involved. His purpose wasn’t completely altruistic; he craved being the first in a region that hadn’t seen victory in a while. But, this was a purpose that would be motivational.
Of course the ending to this story is a happy one. He won the prize and came back from the trip with a story to tell his counterparts. His willingness to learn and master his craft, his planning process and execution, and his “purpose” won this prize. Do you think he became even more autonomous, works hard to master more and finds purpose beyond himself? You bet he has. He has since gone on to win other accolades and has been promoted to the position of Sales Manager. His purpose now is mentoring those to whom he serves as a Leader. Together we have mentored the sales team on to six of the past eight contests, winning the past four in a row. Probably the best story each of these winners tells is how their sales numbers, on profitable business, continues to grow even after the trip. Our region now has competitors in the top 10 every quarter.
Can you help your team find a higher purpose to grow beyond their limits? As a Servant Leader, the responsibility is yours.
Greg Moses is a 27 year sales and marketing veteran, working for some of the top food manufacturers and suppliers servicing the Foodservice Industry and is employed by Gordon Food Service as a Product Specialist. He resides in Northeast Ohio with his wife of 26 years, Marlene, and their two daughters.