Take Your Sales Coaching to the Next Level With Employee Appreciation

Motivating a sales team is a challenge. When every member of the team has their own personality, it’s difficult to ensure that everyone remains enthusiastic. That’s why many companies implement sales coaching initiatives. By specifically focusing on training, you can identify individual employee strengths and find ways to leverage them.

However, training alone isn’t enough. You also need each member of the team to feel as though their work has been recognized and acknowledged. Whether that takes place during performance reviews or during weekly company meetings, employee appreciation is a key element of effective sales coaching.

The Current State of Employee Appreciation

According to a study by the Boston Consulting Group, which involved over 200,000 participants throughout the world, “feeling appreciated” is the main reason people enjoy their work. Having a positive relationship with supervisors came in second.

Approximately 81% of participants reported an increase in motivation when they felt as though a supervisor expressed gratitude for their work. Clearly, this is an easy way to get the most out of your sales team. The problem is, supervisors and sales coaches often neglect this fact. Even when they think they’re offering genuine support, far too often, they merely establish ineffective employee recognition programs.

Employees tend to perceive these recognition programs as empty gestures. They view these as tactics that instead of actually making team members feel appreciated, simply make the organization look good.

This isn’t mere speculation. Statistics back up these statements: Across the country, employee recognition programs have become commonplace, with approximately 80% of all United States organizations instituting them in one form or another. Despite this, only about 30% of the workforce is actively engaged.

Why have these programs been so ineffective? There are a number of potential reasons, but a major one is simple: they come across as insincere. Appreciation and gratitude should be personal; incentive programs encourage supervisors to merely go through the motions when recognizing their team members.

After all, organizations with employee recognition programs typically require all supervisors to participate, whether they like it or not. The individual actually expressing the company’s appreciation is often a division manager, or someone else who doesn’t actually know the people whose efforts they’re praising. These programs also feel impersonal: in many cases, entire teams are recognized, instead of specific employees. It’s also worth noting that the form the appreciation takes tends to be generic. A low-value gift card for every team member isn’t indicative of true gratitude.

Recognize Employees the Right Way

If you want to express genuine gratitude, you need to do so in a manner that employees actually prefer. For example, many team members don’t enjoy public recognition. Giving someone an award in front of a large audience may make them anxious. Have  a one-on-one meeting or pull them aside to show your appreciation.

Words can feel empty, too. Saying you value an employee is easy; actually demonstrating your gratitude through actions requires more effort, but yields higher levels of employee engagement.

Sadly, rewards also seem to have little effect on a team’s motivation. A gift is an insincere way to express genuine appreciation. These days, carrots and sticks can only go so far to boost engagement. Instead, providing sincere recognition backed up by action is the best way to appreciate employees.

Be Genuine

Smart sales coaches don’t merely train lower-level employees; they also help supervisors better understand how they can motivate their staff. If you’re managing a sales team, you need to make sure you’re genuinely expressing real appreciation.

The first step is to actively explore your own feelings. Sincerity can go a long way towards improving employee morale.

Yes, it’s easy to get frustrated with team members when they aren’t hitting their sales goals. However, if you’re managing them, odds are good you’ve been in their position before. Try to remember what that role is like.

Routinely contacting individuals or organizations and trying to sell them on anything isn’t easy. Sale teams face a lot of rejection. The fact that your employees are still striving to meet their goals is something you ought to appreciate. When you’re able to be genuinely thankful, you’re more likely to express yourself in a genuine manner.

Provide Outlets for Feedback

You should also give your employees frequent opportunities to express their own feelings about both you and the company. Let them know you’re open to suggestions. If you rely solely on your own approach and perspective when managing the team, you’re sending the message to everyone else that their opinions don’t matter.

By welcoming their opinions, you’ll communicate to your employees an essential fact: you value not only their efforts, but also their input. This helps foster a more positive work environment. This is especially important with sales teams: Many of your employees may spend time out of the office and meeting with clients. During the time you spend together, having a positive relationship is crucial.

If you regularly schedule coaching sessions, make sure that you express your gratitude during them. Doing so will keep your team engaged during training.

The statistics prove that appreciating your team members is one of the best way to keep them motivated. Just make sure you’re showing your appreciation in genuine, effective ways. For sales team, this can have a directly positive effect on your revenue, while also encouraging an overall positive work culture.

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