During summer, everything sort of slows down. Sometimes, this is a good thing – to take a much-needed breather from work and set that out-of-office email. Other times, it’s not so great (where’d all the customers go?). In particular, summer can mean that sales are about to start slowing down. This can be discouraging for salespeople, maybe even causing some to give up prospecting completely during the vacation months.
While it’s realistic that prospecting will be significantly less successful during this season, it doesn’t mean that your sales team can’t be successful in other sales-related goals. All the team needs is a little motivation.
Here are some ways of increasing morale and productivity – yes, even in the summer.
Start with the Team Members
Everyone is driven and motivated by something unique because we are all different in how we live and work. To truly motivate a team, you have to start with the team members individually – what motivates each person. If someone is internally driven by the need to succeed, they will be motivated by something different than a person who is driven by external factors such as money or other tangible rewards. Use this knowledge to decide how to motivate each effectively. Whether it’s earned time off, ‘summer Fridays’ where the team can leave early or casual dress, there are plenty of non-monetary incentives you can employ.
Give Positive Reinforcement
Most employees, even outside of sales, thrive on words of affirmation – recognition that they are doing a good job. While it may not be the end-all-be-all for motivation, it’s certainly a large part of it. Even for “smaller” accomplishments, receiving a ping of encouragement and verbal recognition can mean a lot. When no one gets recognition, or a person is left out of praise for something they contributed to, it can breed disgruntled employees and negatively impact production.
Provide Learning Opportunities
Continued education and the chance to expand a person’s craft is a great gift. For those who thrive on learning and improving on their field and personal goals, this is the best incentive and tool for motivation. Invest in your employees by providing more training opportunities and access to new, extensive knowledge and tools during the summer. Not only is it beneficial to them, but it’s a productive way to spend the slower months doing something beneficial for the company.
Have Some Fun
Nothing fuels motivation quite like a sales contest or team outing. Here are a couple of fun ways to ramp up the action:
- Create a sales contest: Set up a sales contest to lightheartedly increase motivation and boost productivity. The winner could win an end-of-summer vacation (if it’s in the budget), or perhaps offer more affordable prizes such as additional vacation days or festival tickets to a future event.
- Take the team on an outing: Celebrating wins together builds rapport, a sense of community, and a support system, which is much-needed in the slower months. Everyone enjoys getting out of the office, so make it an outing that’s interactive and grows the bond between team members.
- Combine a mid-year sales training with some good ol’ fashioned team-building to strengthen the bond with your team. This way you share important information AND have some fun!
Renew Motivation After Rejections
In the summertime, salespeople hear “no” a lot. The last thing they want (or need) is a punishment to match that. A rejection is certainly no tell of the effort and contributions a salesperson put in. So, in essence, being reproached after a rejection in which they put in the same effort as a win is incredibly discouraging. Acknowledge the hard work that went into the lead, even if it doesn’t result in a sale. Encourage them to reflect on the deal and identify areas where they could’ve improved. This is a great opportunity for reflection, that ultimately leads to better performance all year.
Set Short-Term Goals and Give Small Rewards
In the summer, it could be next to impossible to get ahold of certain leads. Meanwhile, set short-term goals that the team needs to work on – goals that members have actual control over including outreach and/or social selling practices. For accomplishing these more tangible goals, reward the team with an outing or modest prize. Here are a few examples:
- Hold a calling blitz and reward the rep who sets the most appointments
- Conduct a peer-driven recognition program to encourage everyone to support their peers and reward great execution
- Ask reps to volunteer to do a Win/Loss Analysis for the team and surprise them with a gift card for their effort
- Reward the rep who builds the most pipeline opportunities over the summer.
Sales Can Wear You Down
Sales can be stressful. Take it from other experts who know how much of an impact motivation strategy can have on an entire team, and thus, an entire company. Find what works for your team and you can avoid the summer slump!