How do you energize your sales force?
Some time ago, I wrote a blog that described the CARE™ framework that we use at ZS. With a survey, we can develop what we call the “CARE Fingerprint™,” a motivational profile that’s unique to each individual in the sales force. Once we have this fingerprint information, we need to determine how people in our organization feel about their sales experiences relative to their profiles.
Enter the Energy Score™.
Typically, when gauging motivation in a sales force, we use terms like engagement, motivation, or, now, energy, and a lack of energy in a sales force can be extremely problematic. I was working with a company recently that was significantly missing its sales forecast. Many salespeople weren't “engaged,” a term that the company used to refer to people who were in (or, in this case, out of) the money. To try to remedy this, the company did what many sales organizations do: it revisited the compensation plan. “We need to get more people in the money,” they said. “Do we change the payout thresholds? Do we lower goals?”
Ultimately, the potential solutions were bounded by what I believe is a common but potentially limiting constraint: the assumption that demotivated salespeople can be reenergized by providing them with more money, or at least greater opportunity for more money.
This is undoubtedly true in some situations. A collection of salespeople who are, on average, expecting to receive a certain target level of sales compensation dollars but who are collectively falling short will likely feel demotivated, so some immediate remediation in the compensation plan may be necessary. In other situations, compensation may not be the best answer and energy can play a role.
An Energy Score evaluates the differences between what matters to your salespeople and how they perceive their current situation. By tying this back to the CARE framework, we can determine if compensation is the driver of demotivation, or if one of the other factors—like control or recognition—is more important.
If so, simply providing higher commission rates, steeper payout curves or lower thresholds may not reenergize your sales force. Doing that may require mechanisms that are tangential to the sales comp plan. In some cases, these “Energy Boosts™” will supplement the compensation program through specific, targeted SPIFFs or contests, while in other cases, the Energy Boosts may come in areas that are not tied to variable payouts.