Climbing Out of the Rescue Phase
In any disaster or calamity, there are usually two phases: first the rescue stage and then the recovery period. It appears to me that we are crawling out of the rescue phase of this COVID related economic upheaval. Sales leaders have had to learn resilience in order to pivot to a new normal of virtual selling. Now it seems we are about to head into the recovery phase. So how do learn the lessons from COVID and begin to restore some sense of normalcy to our sales incentive programs? Or will normal ever be possible again?
Moving into the Recovery Phase
A recent article in Forbes discusses how sales leaders can move past the need to immediately respond during COVID and begin to focus more on recovery and the future. For sales leaders determining how to do this in the coming year, Forbes offers the following suggestions:
- Outsource sales leaders. Something executives don’t always consider is that it can be transformative for a business, especially in times of crisis, to outsource sales leadership. As everyone begins to find their new normal, companies in every industry can benefit from bringing in outside expertise to influence and bolster their operations. This solution especially serves businesses that can’t afford to hire full-time leadership.
Motivate differently. Another requirement of successfully recovering from the events of last year involves thinking about how to show your team members you appreciate their work and are ready to recognize and reward it in a way that meets the moment.
Because this moment is still relatively new, it’s a good time to rethink and restructure your incentive plans. This actively shifts the focus from being solely on responding to the crisis in real time and toward recovering from it in the days ahead.
Depending on your goals and needs, this will look different for every organization. For some, it might make sense to choose a different type of incentive plan altogether. This could involve moving away from commission based on the first dollar from sales toward a structure based on meeting and exceeding sales goals instead.
You could also work to align your incentive metrics, rather than paying salespeople for contributing to total sales of all products, consider rewarding incentives for sales of specific products in specific ways.
- Automate and increase conversion. In the average company, sales reps spend roughly 16% of their time in front of customers; meanwhile, the best-performing sales organizations aim for closer to 40% to 50%. What makes this difference possible? Automation. These organizations have intentionally redesigned their processes and automated tasks that take time away from representatives—and give them that time back to put to better use.
Technology is a huge reason businesses were able to pivot like they did last year, and now it’s time to think about how it can accelerate salespeople’s ability to connect more effectively with customers into the future.
- Go digital-first. Understanding the role technology can play in recovery and growth this year, sales leadership needs to consider taking a more holistic digital-first approach. As more people adopt a digital mindset and use technology for almost everything, sales teams have to engage with customers in a relevant digital way.
Making this shift lets sales leaders and sales teams exemplify the customer-first mindset that is so crucial to success.
Redesigning Your Incentive Plan
If it’s time to rethink and restructure your sales incentive plan, look no further. This is what we do. Let us help.