Sales teams don’t work as a team … there’s always a “winner”
The second reason why most sales teams fail to achieve their full potential is that they don’t work as a team. You see this in Formula 1 all the time. You tell two highly competitive individuals who are judged independently of one another that they are on the same team, however, one will inevitably lose to the other one. There is no win-win solution. You can’t have 2 drivers in the number 1 spot, just like you can’t have 2 or all salespeople be the top salesperson. Someone will win, someone will come in second, someone will finish last, irrespective of how well they play along. So this notion of “let’s help each other” is foolish and illogical. It ignores the obvious, which I just mentioned. The reason we are always left fighting the same battle is that the structure we’ve created is a hierarchy based on merit and accomplishment. That is further reinforced by a graduated pay scale. The more you sell, the more you make. Now, I’m not advocating for participation trophies or paying everyone the same. That will have an even larger disastrous effect. I’m all for ‘eat what you kill,’ there are no moral victories and there can only be one winner. Which is why I think there is a better way. Create a system that rewards top performers, look to incentivize the behaviour that you want. From an individual and team standpoint. Of course paying commission commensurate to revenue sold is the first part. But, then look to leave that there. It’s important to understand each individual on your team. Money is a soft motivator, it’s not enough until it’s enough, and the increase in earnings doesn’t always translate linearly to an increase in sales. So pay enough to make your salespeople happy, but then forget about it, because the more you bring it up, the more they will think they want + need because the money isn’t filling a hole left by their affective desires. Money isn’t an intrinsic motivator. The root cause could be stability, achievement, recognition, freedom, a whole host of different things. It’s important to understand the WHY behind why your team does what they do. It’s important to test the affective desires of your salespeople to better understand how to align with their desires so you can press on the right buttons. Simply telling them you’re a team and you need to work together won’t do anyone any good. They will be in a dog eat dog mentality if they are pushing hard. But to create a team full of hungry, high achievers, that don’t create infighting, have no cultural issues, and work together, well, that’s a thing of beauty.