Encourage your sales team to take smart risks

Data can help your sales team take risks

By Brian Thompson,

Sales is a high-energy field and the best salespeople are always pushing to close their next deal. Sometimes, salespeople need to go a bit outside their comfort zone to succeed. As a sales manager, it's important to encourage smart risk taking on your sales team, but doing so requires careful planning. By carefully managing compensation for employees, it's possible to promote smart risks and keep your sales team motivated to pursue leads. 

Letting employees follow their own path
Employees who are content to sit back and avoid risk are unlikely to make the big sales that lead to a company's success. These employees are scared of rocking the boat, and don't have enough motivation to push themselves to the next level. 

According to SalesHQ, managers faced with an unmotivated employee might be tempted to confront the employee directly. While it is possible the employee's performance will improve after the interaction, they could feel less motivated. Restricting Internet access and instituting rules about time spent in the office can be similarly ineffective. While these efforts might make an employee pretend to work harder, it probably won't inspire them to take bold risks. 

Rather than mandating how employees act, managers should motivate employees to create their own routes to success. 

Create excitement with compensation
Few things will improve an unmotivated salesperson's performance like a comprehensive overhaul of compensation. Traditional metrics for salesperson success present a binary model of sales success where employees only receive compensation when they make a sale. Compensation software allows managers to create a much deeper compensation system. Using software, a manager can track employee activities throughout the day, and is able to generate metrics that measure performance before a final sale occurs. 

This makes it possible for managers to reward employees for unorthodox approaches, and the metrics generated by a computerized system allow managers to improve transparency regarding sales performance on the team. Enhanced visibility regarding overall sales team goals and each individual employee's progress toward those goals is immensely important. It allows employees to learn from each other's successes and mistakes, and makes it easy for a manager to identify important trends.

Invite experimentation by rewarding success
Entrepreneur magazine noted that businesses should work to make experimentation a core value. Compensation management software allows managers to motivate employees to think outside the box. 

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Brian Thompson