by George Kriza | December 17, 2018
It's very important to recognize that salespeople think very differently than operational people. They even think differently from marketing people. Salespeople are their own breed. However, every organization and every sales team is different. Getting the most out of your sales team is essential to staying ahead in a competitive business environment. In order to achieve this, your first consideration is to understand the mindset of the salespeople in your program, and in some ways to own their minds.

No, this does not mean brainwashing them or controlling their thoughts in some sinister way. It means, at a time when every salesperson is being pulled in numerous directions by many demands and desires, your business needs and how they can meet them will remain at the top of your salespeople's thoughts. Successful sales campaigns and the resulting business outcomes must begin by getting to know the people executing the sales. Owning their minds results in driving your sales.

So how do you do this? 

The following seven techniques of owning your sales peoples' minds will bring great rewards to your sales teams and you bottom line:

1. Understand how they think.
To motivate a salesperson, start by thinking like one. Most sales employees are inherently competitive and highly responsive to opportunities that maximize their income. Encouraging strong sales across your organization or channel means motivating each member to perform at their peak. 

2. Know your audience. Profile the people in your sales audience. What is their demographic makeup? Are the Millennials, Gen Xers, Gen Yers or Boomers? How do they view your company and the products and services they're selling? How do they think, what matters to them, and, most importantly, what drives them? Tailoring your program to your specific audience will generate that "Wow!" reaction you want. Older participants may be looking for what's in it for them, while younger ones may like to feel that they are having a positive impact on the world. That might mean a completely different dynamic and program design.

3. Provide a supporting foundation of product knowledge.
People sell what they know. Take advantage of every opportunity to educate them on the benefits and features of your offering. Utilize online training, quiz and survey tools. Then, compensate them for their attention. There will be dividends in the sales column.

4. Drive out obstacles. Put yourself in the salesperson's place: Removing obstacles from the sales incentive process will only benefit and motivate the salespeople. Those obstacles are often found in the program rules. Drive out as many unnecessary constraints as you can. After two or more hoops, the salesperson is highly likely to switch to a program with less friction. Keep the rules to an absolute minimum. Then the target audience can focus on selling and avoid the obstacles you may have been putting in their path.

5. Select the right reward structure. Accomplishing your goal is driven by the type of promotion you run. Different programs accomplish different objectives. Group travel to a luxury resort at an exotic destination creates prestige and an opportunity to rub shoulders with the sales team's top performers and your executive team. Tangible rewards create long-lasting impressions. 

6. Shoot for conditioned reflex.
We're all familiar with Pavlov's Dog: Ring a bell, then feed the dog, and soon, every time they hear the bell, they salivate. We want salespeople to "salivate" about participating in your program. The very best way to do that is to shorten the time from sale to reward. So reward participants weekly. They will really respond to your program and drive sales, because it's "money in the bank".

7. Give them the right tools. Rewards are critical to owning your salespeople's minds, but to really get them moving quickly and meaningfully, give them the right sales incentive tools to accomplish their goals and yours. Surprisingly, a number of companies are still manually running incentive programs, which presents significant limitations for your sales team achieving real success. Automating those key processes with the latest sales incentive technology and software allows salespeople to focus on achieving successful results for themselves and the company. 

George Kriza has over 30 years'  experience in high technology and consumer electronics markets. Since founding MTC Performance, he has focused that experience as a Solution Architect, building modern approaches to sales incentive software, and he has built MTC Performance into a leading innovator of sales incentive management solutions for top Fortune 500 and growing middle market companies to more efficiently deliver exciting, effective programs that inspire success and reward results. Kriza's technology, sales and marketing expertise, combined with keen analytical skills, have enabled him to provide direction to many other corporations looking for a faster track along their marketing curve. Sony Corporation, Apple Computer, Panasonic, Xerox and Epson are just a few of the companies that have utilized George's experience. For more information, please visit mtcperformance.com.