A recent article at inc.com says that the best way to boost sales force morale is to make “tough strategic choices” -not through benevolence. The article gives the example of IVO Appliance, a $12 million company that sells computer server systems that let employees access corporate software via the Web. One of the company’s executives saw that the salespeople were “spinning their wheels” when sales fell in previous downturns. He tells the magazine: “You can completely demoralize a salesperson if they’re selling in a segment that’s doing poorly, no matter what you do. It’s harder to get prospects and it’s a longer sales cycle.” Eventually, reps make fewer phone calls when they should be making more, the article says.
So the exec looked more closely at the company’s sales, discovering that new health care accounts were actually growing while other sectors, such as manufacturing, were falling. So he told his sales team to focus exclusively on that sector. The reps were happy to “focus on a new industry.” The result: The company has beat its midyear projection.
This tactic seems to fit with what Mike Marks of Indian River Consulting Group told MDM at the end of 2007. He said that distributors must be light on their feet. “The key is to have developed scenarios in advance to shorten the time required for meaningful response and also to recognize the need for change quickly. … As long as distributors can react quickly the economy should not be a major concern.”
Read the rest of the Inc article here.
If you are in an industry that’s been hard hit, what have you done to boost sales force morale? Comment below.