Like Dr. Sheldon Cooper, top performing sales people have their spot… That spot is an ideal intersection of the right incentives, easy access to sales enablement materials, and a healthy mix of qualitative and quantitative goals. Even though marketers may be covering more and more of the hidden sales cycle through content marketing, lead nurturing, and lead scoring initiatives, it’s still sales’ spot… And it’s best not to take sales’ spot. Interestingly enough, though, data from my April 2014 report for Aberdeen, Incenting Success: Best-in-Class Sales Management, reveals some valuable opportunities for supporting sales in their ideal spot – beyond simply supplying hot beverages, as social conventions would dictate.
Sellers Hate Public Recognition… Bazinga!
76% of Best-in-Class organizations support their sellers with public recognition as an incentive for performance, vs. 62% of Average firms, and 55% of Laggards. Now, I don’t want to overextend my expertise, but in my experience, marketers tend to have a knack for driving public recognition. Playing off the trend for the Best-in-Class, marketers have the opportunity to actually leverage their own top performing sellers as thought leaders or valuable resources in their content or campaigns. From a sales incentive standpoint, sellers get added exposure and credibility to make selling easier (not to mention a little feather in the cap for pride), while marketers can expand the scope of their content while also fostering a little healthy internal competition for the sales team.
Fun with Flagged, Easy to Find Content
Why do 80% of Best-in-Class firms maintain a centralized repository for sales collateral, proposals, and contracts? It’s not just because all the cool kids are doing it, but also because sometimes an easy path to success is enough of an incentive all its own. That’s why we also see 60% of Best-in-Class firms providing on-demand access to best practices, documented knowledge, and sales tools to their teams, along with 59% providing extensive cross-training into other company functions. Predictable enough to be a law of nature, sellers almost always follow the path of least resistance, so as marketers, the key is to make the easiest path the most valuable and productive as well.
“These Are the Sellers That Are Nearest to Me…”
How do you create effective, connected, and collaborative sales teams? You could use what I’d call Schrodinger’s sales team – whereby you throw a bunch of sales people in an office, and until performance metrics come in, you don’t know if you have an actual functioning team or not – or you could use Best-in-Class tactics to actively foster the necessary dynamics. As research shows, for example, 75% of Best-in-Class firms recognize and reward their entire account teams for sales, sales growth, and customer service, vs. only 54% of Average firms, and 45% of Laggards. The benefit of team dynamics isn’t just intangible “pat on the back” tactics, however, as teams also respond more positively to non-cash incentives as a whole – a good way to not have to overspend in order to satisfy sellers. Research shows that for 63% of Best-in-Class firms, non-cash incentives / rewards are a vital component of their sales performance management (SPM) efforts.
For more information on clever ways to leverage sales incentives, feel free to download my full, free report Incenting Success: Best-in-Class Sales Management.