Keep Your Sales Team Motivated During COVID-19
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How To Keep Your Sales Team Motivated In Times Of Crisis

COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown have caused havoc with sales processes and customer relationships. Sales reps have been confined to their homes. Customers' businesses, largely, have been forced to close. This obviously has caused great consternation for companies who employ reps to retain and build relationships as well as seek, identify, and secure new accounts. Companies and sales leaders have been left reeling. The whole infrastructure of sales processes has been shaken to the core. Not only have they been forced into a physical lockdown, but their brains too have been locked down. So what now? Does this spell the end of the road for a sales rep?

No, not at all! There is hope my friend, and an effective way to continue interfacing with your existing customers as well as reaching out to prospects. Any and all contact, of course, will have to be remote. This requires a whole shift in mindset and will affect the way business is conducted going forward—even post lockdown.

What Is Required?

Creating a new habit—a new way of conducting business. As a sales leader, how are you currently managing your team? (I do feel for those archaic few who still insist on trackers in rep vehicles.) At this time, more than ever, your team needs attention, sound leadership, and regular communication. Your team will be looking to you to both reassure and motivate them.

1. Set Daily Tasks And Timelines

The first task of a sales leader is to set daily tasks and timelines. We are all creatures of habit, and this crucial element will keep your soldiers at least somewhat focused, and with deadlines to meet, a sense of urgency will prevail.

2. Stay Connected With Customer Base

Your second task is to create a method to keep in contact with your customer base.

  • How often should they be contacted?
  • What would be the best medium of contact?
  • How do you remain in front of mind and avoid becoming a “pest”?

Be sure to share the only good news, perhaps industry tips or even humor regarding our situation. Also, share items that perhaps, during their “normal lives,” the customer simply didn’t have time to read or consider. As most of our clients are in the hospitality and food sectors, our resident culinary expert, Marcelle, has written and cooked some fun dishes, which we are sharing with our clients. I weigh in with silly posts about a fun look at the lockdown; all designed to keep front of mind.

3. Create A Daily Schedule

Thirdly, create a routine schedule, day-by-day.

  • What time each day should your reps be “calling”?
  • How many calls do you expect the sales reps to make each day?
  • What reporting method do you require, and the frequency?

Call each member unannounced and unexpectedly. Show you care and that this is not merely to check in on them. Sales meetings must continue at the same time and frequency as pre-lockdown. Set your team up with Skype or Zoom. It is important for them to see and hear from each other and know how “my colleagues are bearing up.” This will create a powerful bond and make the team stronger.

4. Identify, Set, And Measure Sales Activity

Fourthly, identify, set and measure sales activity and expected objectives.

  • What should be discussed during each call?
  • How are your customers coping; what are their forward plans, if any? This exercise will greatly assist in managing debt, as the failures will be beyond anything we have dreamed of. Liaise with debtors and your senior management to keep them in the loop.
  • Set sales targets; non-monetary. Create competitions to stimulate and increase the interest of your team. Offer prizes for the winners— a Takealot keepsake?!
  • Instruct your team to report back on methods and processes, sharing them at your team meetings.

5. Upskill Your Team

Fifthly, there has never been a better time to upskill your team; use online, short courses. Make sure to give each a topic to research and present at your team huddles. Stimulate their brains, but keep their minds on the job.

Conclusion

In summary, now is the time for inclusive management. Keep your team active, focused, and upbeat. Encourage ideas and participation. This is unchartered territory, and we are all learning as we go. The old army adage holds true: a busy soldier is a happy one—they don’t find the time to grumble!

Stay safe and sane.

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