How to motivate a sales team in an outsourced sales environment?

This opinion piece has been written by Keryn Seal, one of our Account Directors, who has a passion for team motivation owing to his impressive sporting background.

As an Account Director at Air my role is split between managing a team of sales people (between 15 and 20) and managing the performance of 8 key client accounts – ensuring optimal performance across the board. But perhaps the most important aspect of my role, and my favourite part, is to motivate, retain, and reward all of the people within my team.

The atmosphere and performance on my section of the sales floor is a direct reflection of how well motivated those in my team feel – and I strive to make it as positive a place as possible. My job is to be tuned into the individuals in that space and how they are feeling on any given hour, day, or week. At Air, we know that no one wakes up wanting to be a telemarketer. It’s not a ‘sexy’ job and it often comes with a high-pressure environment, so I want my team to feel as motivated and engaged as they can be. It’s important that we show how grateful we are for the work that they put in for 8 hours a day.

As somebody with 15 years of experience in elite level sport, I know all too well that motivation levels can be different on any given day for a number of different reasons. In my opinion, the very best managers I ever had were those who took the time to learn what motivated and inspired me, and my wider team, to perform. Sales people are no different to athletes. We are all human beings with different drivers, pressures and commitments.

I base my leadership style on what I would want in a leader. I try to understand each one of my team members on an individual level; what motivates them, what challenges them, and where do they want to get to? From there I can then map out a progression plan with them, giving them motivation and a pathway to success. This doesn’t always have to be work related, it may be affording the car they want or achieving their next promotion.

Within sales environments companywide incentives are run to generate healthy competition and inspire high performance – we are no different at Air. But whilst an insurance company or a PPI centre are selling one thing to their prospects, at Air we can be working on up to 30 campaigns for 30 different clients at one time. It is therefore important that we create and devise fair incentives for our team, and I try to make these a little different each time to keep the whole team engaged.

Last month the cricket world cup inspired me to run a company wide Telemarketing World Cup incentive, where 32 agents battled it out over 2 weeks to be crowned the overall champion. I did this by creating a point system for each lead and campaign, based on the difficulty of that campaign. The team then played off against each other each day and the person with the most points that day went through to the next round. The winner of the prize could either receive a cash prize in their wages or a paid day off.

Motivation isn’t all about cash prizes, vouchers, or days off paid for by the company. It is about having fun and enjoying what you do and who you work with. I strongly believe in having fun, active, or inspiring daily buzz meetings that get the team switched on and ready for the day. The ideas for these come from my experience working as a youth mentor, after my sporting career ended. Again, sales people are no different to athletes or the young people in the groups I mentored. Motivating them always comes down to understanding what makes them tick, how they feel on that day, and what I need to do to get them to where they need to be in terms of being ready to perform. At the end of the day, I just want the team to succeed and be proud of what they achieve day in, day out.

Opinion piece by Keryn Seal, Account Director at Air Marketing Group

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