Business Lessons 13 Mar 19 Rashmi Kapse

As a Sales Director, do you constantly struggle with reaching your sales targets? Well, you are not alone. 8 out of 10 Heads of Sales face challenges in achieving their annual sales target in spite of taking all the measures at their disposal: giving rewards & incentives, streamlining the sales process as much as they can, etc. 

In such a situation, you soon realize that there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to get your salesmen on the same page as you are, to drive performance. Also, if you deep-dive into the nature of field sales, you can tell that the biggest reason for not meeting annual targets is apathy and lack of motivation amongst the Sales Reps. Unless your team is motivated and aligned with your goals, your on-field abilities to perform well in the market get severely restricted. But is motivation really that important? And if yes, what are the different ways in which you can motivate your folks? 

Let’s find out. 

Why do you need to motivate your field sales team?

As you are aware, selling more than 100+ SKUs to around 35-40 outlets daily with continuous pressure of achieving targets is not an easy job, given the complexity of field sales. A field salesman travels 25 km per day on average, and this journey is often filled with fatigue, tension, rejections, complaints, and objections.

If pertinent technology solutions- such as salesforce automation or some other kinds of sales trackers- are not provided, the complexity can increase manifold. Moreover, field reps have to work alone almost all of the time. While selling, they have to resolve issues that arise right on the spot, all on their own. In such a scenario, the field reps get caught in a pool of negativity or fatigue which hampers their sales progress drastically. The only thing that can help them to go on is a commitment to the cause. And what establishes commitment is motivation and a sense of affinity with your company.- and of course a good SFA tool.

The higher your Sales Reps are motivated, the better are your chances to achieve your weekly or monthly targets. So now the question is, how can you, as a Sales Director, motivate them to keep their focus on sales? Here are a few thoughts on the same.

How can you motivate your field Sales Reps?

Build an innovative and smart incentive structure

Let’s start with the basic questions. Do you have an incentive system in place? If yes, is it delivering expected outcomes? What KPIs does the incentive system measure? How is the performance of the salespeople related to the achievement of their sales targets?

You might have answers to all of these questions, and you might be convinced that you are doing it in the right way. But when your business expands, your salespeople grow, do you also revise your incentive model or does it stay the same year after year?  

My suggestion is to keep revising the objectives of the incentive system once it has been adopted as a discipline. For example, you can create your incentive model to improve sales coverage, but once you are at the industry level, you need to change the objective and reframe the incentive model. Keep doing this, and you will have a self-motivated team.

Encourage your middle management to help their team on the ground [Joint Working]

As discussed earlier, the life of a field rep is filled with multiple challenges. Sometimes they need a third person’s perspective to solve their issues. The SFA feature of Joint working with their manager helps field reps to overcome various retailing challenges and get first-hand inputs on how they can improve their approach towards product selling across different outlet categories.

Empower your middle management with Limited and Focused data in the hands

How many of your middle managers are tracking the performance of their field reps daily? Are they appreciating their team for daily achievements? Are they helping struggling reps? Do they have real-time on-field data to make quick strategic decisions?

A strong sales force automation system gives your mid-managers access to real-time, authentic data, so they can make better decisions on the go. Timely decisions can positively impact your retailer relationships (using active schemes and promotions), how your product moves in the market with optimum product assortment (using ‘Must Sell’ and ‘Focus Products’), how your consumers are responding to your brand, or even how your competition is performing  (using instant surveys) 

Reap benefits of SFA

One of the biggest pain points of Sales Reps is manual reporting as it takes a lot of time in preparing reports and submitting them. The best way to keep them focused on selling is to empower them with the latest technology. SFA or sales force automation technology is a tool that thousands of brands are using to empower their field sales team. FieldAssist has introduced features that let your field rep track his own performance on a daily/weekly basis. When they can see their actual target achievement against expected target achievement, it motivates them to do better every subsequent day and keeps them aligned with their target.

Culture of Reward and Recognition

The smallest gestures of appreciation and encouragement are a big motivation tool. You should create a culture of appreciation where everyone acknowledges and recognizes each other’s small achievements as well.

When you make motivating field Sales Reps an important part of your job, it will make your life easy. Ultimately,  SFA + your team + company culture will prove to be an unbeatable combination that will spur your field Sales Reps to go that extra mile and smash those goals!

Rashmi Kapse

Rashmi joined the FieldAssist family recently as a Content Specialist. She spent 11 years in the Executive Search business before changing tracks. As a Content Specialist for the past 8 years, she writes on Sales Tech, HR Tech, FMCG, Consumer Goods, F&B and Health & Wellness.

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