The Effect of Momentum on the Sales Force

momentumMomentum has a magical effect on salespeople.

When salespeople are doing well, there is pressure on everyone to keep up, carry their fair share, compete, be successful, and contribute.  It causes salespeople to remain focused, be at their best, and put forth the extra effort.  It contributes to happiness, fulfillment, excitement, confidence and success.  That’s all pretty good, huh?

On the other hand, when salespeople are struggling, rather than all of that good stuff we just identified, people can justify their struggles (“well, nobody else is selling anything”), rewrite history (“since I’ve been here we haven’t sold those things to those size accounts”), develop self-fulfilling prophecies (“it’s impossible to sell this stuff”), talk themselves out of working hard (“nobody is interested in this right now”), and basically cause a mass self-pity party.  It has the opposite effect of positive momentum and contributes to depression, helplessness, inaction and failure.  That’s all pretty bad, huh?

When things are going well, praise everyone, don’t let them get distracted, share successes, force them to take some well-deserved short vacations, make sure their calendars are full BEFORE they leave, and keep things going!

But what can you do when things aren’t going well?  How can you change the momentum from negative to positive?  What can you do when it’s a team-wide or entire sales force slump?

Go for easy wins. Let them multiply. Share the good news.  Gradually build on it. Hold short, exciting contests that anyone can win. Don’t base it on revenue – anything but!  Most new meetings, most new accounts or orders, first new order, biggest new order or account, most leveragable account, best referral, biggest margin, biggest account increase over last year, etc.  Have multiple winners, create buzz, keep everyone posted every week.

In addition, work with them more, coach them more frequently, harder, deeper and wider.  Get them refocused.  Keep them motivated, hold them more accountable. Help them succeed until you accomplish positive momentum.

What are some of the things you have done to successfully change the momentum on your sales force?