Managing and Motivating Sales Teams

The challenge with sales articles is that they often evoke mutters of “great in theory but not in practice”, because it is easy to say something, but so much harder to actually implement it to great effect.

At FMI, sales is at the very heart of what we deliver for our clients. In the fast-paced and demanding world of FMCG, utilities and telecommunications, having a strong, motivated sales team is a prerequisite, yet to achieve the objective of having a strong team and to  maintain the level of motivation necessary requires perpetual evaluation, unrelenting grit, and consistent effort.

Andy Salter, Senior Sales Account Manager at FMI is responsible for managing 6 sales teams across multiple accounts who report directly into him. Andy has worked in a variety of sales roles covering both B2B and B2C in the UK and Ireland. He has worked for FMI for the past 7 years and he shares his approach to motivating and managing his sales teams.

Employing the right people

It may sound clichéd to say, but employing the right people for the job is crucial to building a successful sales team. The primary requirement that we look for is a genuine, infectious enthusiasm for the job and a hunger to succeed. If they have those two qualities, you can teach them how to sell.

Money on its own is not a motivator

People mistakenly think that money is a motivator, it is not. It is what they want to do with that money that truly motivates individuals. If you spend time getting to know your team, you understand what is going in their lives and you quickly learn that someone is saving for a mortgage, or to send their kid to university, or that they have their eye on a new car. When you know this and are able to implement financial incentives, the motivation becomes so much more personal and effective.

Cultivating team spirit

An obvious, but often overlooked element, is the bonding of the team and the interpersonal relationships that develop within the team structure. At FMI we aim to create this sense of team through sales meetings and through social events.

The reasons for the sales meetings are two fold. Firstly we have a daily face to face meeting with the sales teams to discuss any challenges that the team may be facing. Then there are also Monday morning meetings which are attended by all the employees of the company. Each week someone gets to present a sales-related topic or matter of interest to the staff. These meetings normally follow a motivational theme and they provide an opportunity to acknowledge the top performers in front of all their peers.

On the social side, we organise group activities such as internal competitions, a variety of sporting events, like football games and fun runs and nights out with the team. As a result, the team members become good friends which in turn results in a good retention rate. They encourage and motivate each other and there is a real sense of family.

Upskill support

The team have a target that they collectively need to achieve and within that there are the targets that the individual needs to achieve. We break this down into daily, weekly and monthly targets. This allows us to celebrate the small wins and to quickly identify if there are any issues that need to be dealt with. We work on a “buddy system” in the field where the senior members of the team provide guidance to the more junior members.  They will coach them in areas where they are weak and provide feedback and guidance on how to improve their sales.  We all know what the targets are, and the teams work together to achieve this. There is tremendous support and camaraderie within the teams to spur each other on to reach the targets. By spending time with, and by focusing on the sales team, we endeavour to ensure that they become more confident in the field, which in turn yields better results for the business as well as making for an enjoyable working environment.

Members of the sales teams who are the most successful are those who view their work as a career and not just a stop gap. FMI is a very diverse company and offers great career progression. There are lots of opportunities for those who are committed and do well, and this motivates individuals in the team to do their best.

FMI treat people the way we would like to be treated, with respect and dignity. Our belief in their ability allows them to believe in themselves and that is by far the greatest motivator.