Re-igniting the sales team’s passion for their work and fueling their desire to win is a key responsibility for every sales manager.
This challenge is set against the background of a universal crisis in terms of workplace motivation – where all but a small minority of staff are engaged in their jobs.
Are Your Sales People Engaged In Their Work?
Surveys consistently show that only 1 in 10 workers are fully engaged in their work. The figure is frightening and serves to draw the sales manager’s attention to an area of real opportunity for improved sales performance.
Only one in ten workers is fully engaged with their work. The result is that most people are performing at only a fraction of their potential. The reason is because they don’t particularly like their jobs. Imagine if that was true of your sales team!
Here is more of the detail regarding the crisis in workplace motivation – data that encompasses 25 million people across 27 countries.
The detail is even more alarming. It shows that one in four workers hate their jobs. In total 9 out of 10 workers are switched off to some degree and are happy to ‘just get by’.
The result also shows that managers are almost universally failing to get the most from their staff. When it comes to that part of the manager’s job description that says ‘motivating the sales team’ the manager appears to be failing abysmally.
Imagine if these same worker-engagement statistics were true in respect of your salesforce!
The Importance of ‘Seller Passion’
Deloitte’s Shift Index uses the term ‘worker passion’. They warn that at a mere 13% it is low and has the impact of hindering learning and performance improvement. But what is the level of seller passion within sales and just how important is it to sales success?
Well, let’s look to one of the Century’s greatest business visionaries for an answer:
Steve Jobs in his famous Stanford Commencement Address in 2005 said that ‘the only way to do great work is to love what you do’. The implications for sales managers is clear. If you want your salespeople to do great work then you have to engage with their passion for what they do.
Now maybe you are thinking that ‘passion’ is only for the creative types, such as Steve Jobs. Well, even hard-nosed numbers-driven business leaders such as Warren Buffet understand the importance of passion.
Even those on Wall Street believe that passion ranks right up there with the rate of return and the market opportunity as a factor that determines business success.
What does passion in selling mean?
In sales we use words like skills, process, systems and performance quite easily. They are easy to measure to manage and to grasp. The word ‘passion’ is much less likely to be heard in sales quarters. However, although it is not often talked about, it is unmistakable when it is seen. The sales manager who passionately believes in the potential of his/her team, the salesperson who has an absolute belief in his, or her product, or the key account manager who is passionate about meeting the customer’s needs – all of these stand out from the crowd in a very obvious manner. But few would argue that it doesn’t impacts on sales success too.
Putting The Passion Back Into Sales
Is it important that the people on your team love their work? For example: Will your customers notice if they don’t? Will it determine how hard they try? Will it impact on results?
We find that few managers would argue that greater passion and commitment among the sales team leads to increased sales. For this reason it ought to be on the manager’s agenda – right up there with new hires, pipeline reviews and sales skills.
It is intriguing to ask ‘what is the return on passion’ for a sales team? Would it deliver an extra 3% or 5%? Could it deliver as much, if not more than your investment in sales training for the year, or your investment in a new marketing campaign? Those are intriguing questions for a manager to consider.
Job Number One For The Manager
The worrying levels of worker disengagement evident industry wide are a wake up call for all managers and sales managers are no exception.
Re-igniting the sales team’s people’s passion for their work and fueling their desire to win is the job number of every sales manager. That starts with the manager re-igniting his, or her own passion.
Remember, most sales teams are just about as passionate as their manager.
It is hard to expect any sales team to be more passionate that its manager.
Passion is contagious. The level of passion exhibited by management and members of leadership teams sets the cue for the level of passion exhibited throughout the organization.
That puts displaying their own passion and igniting the passion of others as an important new addition to the sales manager’s job spec.