By Laney Pilpel
The age-old question that every sales manager asks themselves is, “How can I better motivate my reps?” We often talk about rewarding our reps with things like money, extra PTO, company outings, and culture to keep them engaged. The reality is that while all those incentives are necessary, we sometimes forget about the intangible ways we can motivate and keep reps interested. In a meeting with my boss yesterday, he reminded us of something that is right at our fingertips that we sometimes forget about: Empowerment. It plays a very large role when it comes to motivating sales reps and it’s a great way to better your team as a whole.
I think many sales managers hesitate to use empowerment because they have the attitude that if someone else is responsible for certain tasks they won’t get it done the “right” way and mistakes will be made. I used to be like that to a degree and to be honest, these people aren’t the best managers, and are most likely micro-managers. I am the first person to provide guidance for reps and offer support, reminders, etc. but there comes a point where they have to move forward with decisions on their own. This is the best way for them to become better reps and gain professional development at the same time. It’s not always easy to empower your reps, but you’ll be surprised how much better your team will be as a result of them taking ownership of their actions and holding themselves accountable for the decisions they make. It can be tough at first, but like anything, it gets easier with time. I had a sales coach say to me once, “If it feels different and uncomfortable, that’s a good thing – it means change is happening and you’ll get different but better results.” He was right.
All this fluff I am rambling on about sounds well and good, but how does empowering reps result in a better, highly motivated team?
It helps reps to understand the whole picture. When reps have to make decisions on their own like coming up with ideas for a list, scripting, creating their own reports, creating ways to be more efficient in your CRM system, etc., they start understanding how they play into the whole picture of helping the organization. They start to understand for themselves what it means to be more efficient by developing systems and processes on their own, and eventually become more knowledgeable by actively doing instead of waiting for something to be done for them.
Ideas will develop that you didn’t think of before. This generation has great, fresh new ideas. Because they are millennials, they are a group that likes to be part of everything and are really driven by the latest technology and processes. Once they start creating efficiencies on their own, new ideas arise and you can help them carry them out. We have gained some amazing new insights on processes we have been doing the same way for years recently and it has had a huge impact.
Your time is freed up to get out of the weeds and manage your team. All the new reporting capabilities, tools, etc are extremely enticing, but the problem is, sometimes it causes us as managers to get caught behind a computer all day instead of focusing on business planning for our teams. By empowering reps, they can take on more of these types of tasks so your time can be freed up to explore and develop the team as it relates to the bigger picture.
The next time you do something for your reps, ask yourself if you could empower them to do it on their own instead. Let them do it and make mistakes, and watch them naturally become better reps for it. How do you empower your team?