By: Anamitra Roy
B.Com. (Hons.) [C.U.], Certified Financial Accountant (CMC), DFA (CMC), PGDBF (HSIS India), Certified Financial Accountant (GLOBSYN Skills & NSDC), GPBL (TASMAC & University of Wales), Associate Member – NIPM.
Motivating the sales department staffs remains one of the most difficult and crucial jobs in any business. It is the sales department who will acquire the business and make the organization run by ensuring a smooth flow of money. In the absence of a motivated sales department there will be shortage of business, leading to a shortage of funds. That is bound to hamper the smooth operations in relation to the day to day activities as well as the future long term plans of the organization. So they (the employees in the sales department) will have to be motivated properly. It is very often said in modern day human resource management that motivated people run faster than jets. When you have a bunch of motivated sales staffs, they not only help you to earn business volumes, but it also has to be remembered that motivated people are happy people. Thus, motivated sales staffs are a very important and effective source of advertisement.
Generally speaking, methods of motivation may vary from man to man. But still there are some generalized methods followed by talent development departments around the world. A discussion on some of these methods is as follows:
- Proper Recognition:
Recognition is a very important tool for motivation. In the absence of recognition employees become sluggish performers and develop frustration against the management of the organization. During recognition of the contributions of sales staffs in the organization, they are told/ reminded about their importance in the organization. Recognition sort of highlights/ prominent the job role played by sales staffs.
- A Proper Plan of Incentives:
Incentives are a great source of motivation. However, it also has to be mentioned here that there are arguments against motivating sales staffs or for that matter any staff through financial rewards. But there are lots of organizations in favor of it. NIIT, one of the Indian IT training giants has financial reward schemes for the employees of its franchisee departments. In NIIT when an employee successfully opens a franchisee training centre, 17% of the franchisee registration fees is paid to the employee as a financial reward. Psychologists and human resource development experts are mostly against usage of financial rewards as tolls of motivation because that creates severe completion, sometimes unhealthy completion and jealousy among employees which instead of motivating them, may ruin the work environment in the organization.
- Suggestions from the Sales Staffs:
The staffs from the sales department usually interact most with the prospective as well as the existing consumers and customers. So they know the market demands better than anybody else (read: staffs from other departments in the organization). Hence, while devising new products, their opinion about the market demands will have to be given utmost importance. If the R & D department makes the new products according to the suggestions given to them by the staffs of the sales department then the sales department staffs will have products that have the demand in markets. Thus they will be able to sell these newly launched products in a much easier way. This method of motivating of sales staffs has been developed from an old school of marketing management thinkers. These thinkers think that in order to ensure sales of products one should not try to match the demands with the existing products. Instead products will have to be developed according to the needs of customers and consumers.
- The Philosophy of Education:
Education in India is viewed as God … as a means of attaining the greater heights of life and achieving purity. In this country Goddess Saraswati is worshipped as the Goddess of education. Sales as a career and profession offer one of the most exciting and enriching fields. Sales experience can be one of the greatest educators.
In order to avoid monotony of work, sales staffs can be told about the great experience that they are gathering, about the usefulness of this experience and price of this experience. In order to keep the sales staffs motivated, they may be told about the great education that they are receiving about human characters, markets, economic systems, consumer behavior, psychology etc. when they are interacting with customers, traveling from one place to another and trying to convince the hardest of the customers.
In a sales job there is always a pressure of target that is usually measurable in terms of money. At times such a target can be extremely steep. Chasing such targets can be stressful. It is believed by many counselors that stress is one of the commonest factors that force many people to come out of a sales job. On not achieving the targets the staffs of the sales departments may get frustrated and slowdown in their pace of achieving the targets. This can be avoided by periodical counseling of the sales departmental staffs through trained counselors and stress management experts.
Thus above have been stated some ways by which the staffs of the sales department can be kept motivated. However, in this context it will have to be remembered that these methods may not be equally responsible for motivating the staffs of the sales departments always.
Ultimately what is needed to motivate the staffs of the sales department is a harmonious blend of all the motivation methods written above. The degree and the intensity may vary from time to time and from circumstances to circumstances.