In follow-up to my recent post on sales compensation in the face of an economic downturn (and my hints to him regarding the great thoughts he left in my comment thread), Paul Hebert of Incentive Intelligence has posted on Motivation in Tough Times. The wisdom in his post has application well beyond sales employees, particularly the ideas on communication and recognition (which go a long way in helping maintain a positive and motivational work environment) that he shares from a terrific related post on The Happy Burro Blog.
Paul also shares some suggestions for new sales goals that might be considered for slower times, to be rewarded on a non-cash basis in order to maintain a separation from the ongoing compensation structure, including:
- Meetings with clients to discuss their business to see if there are ways to reduce costs vs. sell more stuff. Give points for each meeting and for documenting new ideas.
- Meetings with clients that are "non-traditional" users - brainstorm about this and set up some targets for "meetings" not sales. This will be more of a learning exercise not a sales call. The goal is to get the sales person outside their normal comfort zone and see if there is a market where they never thought there was one. Award for the meeting and for sharing the information.
- Administrative activities - updating databases, expense reports, etc. Anything that sales people don't typically do - get them to do it now. Spending time on these activities won't impact sales too much if the market is down for a bit .
I like and will leave you with a quote shared by Joe Raasch (aka The Happy Burro) on the post that Paul links to, which suggests a wonderful framework from which to approach the challenges that may be coming our way.
Better to light a candle than curse the darkness