5 Sales Team Engagement Strategies You Need To Master
Wouldn’t it be nice to score a 20% uplift in sales without absorbing any meaningful costs?
How about if you could slash your staff turn over by 31%? What would that do for your margins?
Here’s the thing. Happy employees work harder, stay longer, and contribute more. And if you want to succeed, you need your team to be engaged in their work.
So make employee engagement strategies one of your top priorities for this year.
In this article we’ll look at why employee engagement is critical to your success. And how to make it happen.
Is Sales Team Engagement Worth The Effort?
The short answer is, “YES!”
Sales teams that display high levels of engagement are aligned with the goals of your organization.
This means they remain at the company longer. And in doing so, encourage others to likewise remain.
“Engagement equals higher business outcomes for the same amount of dollars. It is ROI at its finest.”
– Heather Whiteman, Ph.D.
This has a compounding effect on every important aspect of your business.
Experienced sales reps generate more revenue.
Sales reps that stay longer reduce HR costs.
And engaged employees can even affect customer loyalty and their experience with your brand.
Dale Carnegie combined research from their survey of 1500 employees with findings by Gallup and the Bureau of National Affairs.
Their data hammered home the incredible impact engagement has on business results. They found that:
- 70% of employees who lack confidence in their senior leadership are not engaged.
- 71% of employees are disengaged at work (OUCH!).
- Businesses in the U.S. collectively lose around $11 billion each year due to employee turnover.
- Companies with engaged employees outperform companies without by up to 202%.
If nothing else that last number should make you take notice. Engagement is a soft, fuzzy concept that translates into big, hard numbers.
How to Measure Employee Engagement
There are two rules sales managers should observe when measuring team engagement.
First, is to be proactive. You want to start working on engagement long before it’s needed. If there are opportunities to improve, you want to know sooner rather than later.
Second, you need to be consistent. Employee engagement doesn’t happen because you attended a team building seminar once. It’s a day in, day out philosophy that’s incorporated into everything you do.
The most common method to measure employee engagement is by effective use of surveys.
Surveys are popular because they’re an easy way to collect honest feedback about what’s important to employees. They can be used for general purposes, or to gather thoughts on a specific topic.
One common employee survey is a “Net Promoter Score.” And it’s identical to how customer loyalty is measured. The question asks, “How likely are you to recommend this company as a great place to work?” And employees reply with a score from 1 – 10.
Surveys can be used to track employee engagement levels over time. Which can be very helpful in identifying staff who have issues that have been left unaddressed.
Despite the positives, surveys need to be handled very carefully. Surveys only capture a ‘snapshot’ in time. Engagement takes a long time to build, but can errode very quickly.
And if your team thinks sales leaders aren’t on their side then they’ll provide false answers. For example, disengaged employees may report that everything is great when it’s not.
Hire The Right Salespeople
The best way to build a highly engaged sales team is to hire the right people.
Sales is one of the toughest jobs in the world. So you need people who are not only up to the task. But are excited and will be as engaged on day 1000 as they are on day one.
So how to make that happen?
First, be crystal clear about what the role entails. Expectation management is a huge component in engagement.
Write a detailed job description that outlines exactly what the candidate will be doing. And what outcomes are expected. Reiterate these expectations during the interview process.
Also, be crystal clear about compensation structures when hiring.
Second, do a short term trial to start. This gives both the candidate and the company an opportunity to assess fit. And a formal process to address issues that arose during the trial period.
Finally, use psychometric assessments as part of the sales hiring process. They’re not cheap, but a good assessment will save you a fortune on a bad hire.
OMG found that 95% of their recommended candidates reached the top half of the sales force in under a year. And 75% of the people they didn’t recommend failed within 6 months.
Focus Sales Rep Responsibilities
A nice thing about being a sales rep is you can get a chance to try all kinds of work. From client meetings to customer service, sales reps do it all. And it’s a fantastic way to learn a ton in a very short time.
You know what’s utterly demoralizing? The exact same thing.
In some organizations sales reps are asked to do pretty much everything. They have to do prospect research, outreach, appointment setting, client meetings, onboarding and customer service.
And with all these responsibilities they get spread too thin.
They’ve got no opportunity to become great at any one thing. And they’re pretty much being set up to fail.
As part of your sales process, sales leaders should limit sales reps scope of responsibity.
Break down the core sales activities and hire according. Or outsource functions like b2b data development to a virtual sales assistant.
Your sales force will appreciate you protecting their time. And enabling them to focus on closing deals.
Upskill Your Sales Team
You won’t have to look hard to find financial reasons to upskill your sales team.
Companies with the highest overall sales training rating have a win rate 11 percentage points higher than average
– Rain Group
But sales training is so much more than just revenue numbers. It’s also one of the best ways to boost motivation and team morale.
Your employees appreciate that you’re investing in their personal growth. Which improves loyalty and has a positive impact on company goals.
Interestingly, helping employees grow makes it easier for them to leave. But no one wants to leave an environment where they can achieve success and grow as a person.
Upskilling makes everyone feel more valued. And since they’re better at their jobs, they enjoy them more.
So invest in sales training. Your team members will thank you for it in ways that impact your business every day.
Sales Teams Need Recognition
Everyone needs recognition, and salespeople even more than most.
Sales leaders should take note that 65% of employees say they haven’t received any form of recognition for their good work in the last year. OUCH!
But here’s the thing. Recognition costs little, or nothing. And it’s worth its weight in gold. Companies with a high recognition culture are more profitable. And boast a 31% lower voluntary turnover rate.
Here are a few common ways to recognize salespeople.
Find The Good
Sales isn’t just about closing the occasional massive deal. Great work happens every day. Wait until someone books an appointment or makes a great proposal. Then tell your sales reps you see their efforts.
Imagine if your sales manager told everyone you just did a great job prospecting. And if they want to improve, you could probably provide a few pointers. How would that make you feel? Pretty amazing, I’ll bet.
Public praise is very powerful. And it gives your sales reps a reputation they need to live up to.
Increasingly we live our lives on social media. When you publicly share someone’s contributions it gets seen by everyone in your company. And potentially by their wider circle of friends and family.
Gifts don’t have to be a big deal. Small gifts (often with the company logo!) are silly and sometimes useless. But if they’re given with good intentions then that’s all that matters. Besides, some branded swag like pens and mugs get used every day!
So take a few moments every day to develop high trust relationships. Allowing employees the chance to succeed will boost your sales numbers and create strong bonds.
Define & Manifest Company Values
Every company has a way to contribute in its own unique way. You can save the environment, create local jobs, or help those in need.
We all want to be part of an organization that has a defined set of values. And espouses a mission-driven company culture.
But so many organizations talk big, but have no substance. They say things like, “we give back” or “we’re all a family.” But there’s nothing to back it up.
Be 100% clear about what your company values are. And communicate in rigid terms what is expected to live up to those ideals. This will do more to boost employee engagement than empty platitudes.
Think in terms of specific action. For example, if one of your company’s values is personal growth then ask how that value is being realized.
Many companies will say, “here’s a subscription to some learning content. Good luck!” But that’s not enough.
Make the value come to life in a tangible way. For example, personal growth can be a compensation-based KPI. Whereby the sales rep needs to declare what they are going to learn, and prove their competency.
How you define and realize the values of your organization will ultimately be reflected in your employee engagement.
And the stakes are BIG. Gallup research found that about half of employees are looking to change jobs. HALF!
But here’s the good news:
- When people feel like their boss cares about them reductions in absenteeism can rise 41%.
- Highly engaged organisations have 21% higher profitability than those who are disengaged.
- Companies with high engagement rates see 20% higher sales than competitors with disengaged employees.
So make the effort to define your values. And rigorously align your workplace actions with those priorities.
How Do You Improve Sales Team Engagement?
So that’s everything you need to know about keeping your sales team fully engaged.
What have you found works well?
I’d love to hear what you do differently, and why. You can message me on Linkedin or send a message on our contact page.
Look forward to hearing from you!
Matthew Murray is the Managing Director of Sales Higher. He knows any company can THRIVE with enough qualified sales leads. So he’s spent the last decade helping companies meet engaged prospects and win new deals.