Motivation of staff is a key to measuring performance

American entrepreneur, investor, and software engineer Marc Andreessen apparently quipped that “software is eating the world”. He was referring to the increasing reliance on technology in nearly every industry, writes Commercial Director Ian Pick.

He is the co-author of Mosaic, the first widely used web browser, co-founder of Netscape and co-founder and general partner of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

He would know a thing or two about measurement and analytics and crunching data. But how does that apply to sales performance and measuring how a team or individual is performing?

Successful companies know their employees are essential factors in any business and if you treat your people well, your company will succeed and reap the benefits because:

  • Employees are your biggest resource and can affect public perception of your brand
  • They are brand ambassadors and the face of your company. If your employee retention is low clients may question why
  • Ultimately their success drives profits for your firm

I was thinking the other day about measurement and motivation within our businesses and how we drive it forward.

I look at sports people and see how they strive for improvement. Getting better a bit at a time until they get to the top of their game.

The same applies to business and all walks of life really where we strive to improve on everything we do.

Former England rugby union coach Clive Woodward took England to World Cup glory in 1997, and his approach understood the necessity of incremental improvements to performance.

Break it all down

His method is to break everything down into sections and improve on each, by improving fitness levels, employing a top-level medical team and ensuring players have the right nutrition. Every minor detail, even down to a change of shirt at half-time was carefully planned. Natural gains that took them from moderate to world-beating.

For sales teams, it’s not all about targets, which are of course important. It’s about building a winning team. If you look at the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United, their success is based on building it up gradually with an inspirational leader at the top.

That kind of leader can also understand why there is a fall-off in performance. Team members can be underperforming for many reasons and often the brute force figures analysis does not get to the root of the problem.

Neither does hiring and firing as is often seen with football managers. That high turnover of staff route is costly, wastes time and effort and ultimately can be counterproductive by engendering a climate of fear within the workplace.

Deter new clients

I don’t believe that is a good look for a company and that kind of reputation will potentially deter top people from joining a business.

Too many companies base success on how many appointments have you made, how many sales, and the amount of profit.

That is one way of measuring success and is important, but a more subtle way is by sitting down with individuals and identifying common goals, introducing new training methods if necessary and understanding if there are other underlying problems like stress or anxiety.

I have been involved with account management over the years.

You could be in a situation with 200 accounts. You look at the sheet and identify the top 50 that are performing well and can be left to get on with it. But the other 150 may be underperforming to a greater or lesser degree.

The challenge is to move the dial just a small amount. So, for instance, if you can get accounts to improve by 10 per cent, then over 150 accounts, that becomes a lot of extra revenue. That success in turn motivates those staff to improve which can clearly be measured.

Identify what drives people on

That is self-motivating and to encourage that, we need to identify what makes people want to get up in the morning.

Are they driven by money? Do they just love the buzz of selling? There are many different reasons.

Each is different and motivation is not just about ringing a bell when you notch up a sale.

Communicate regularly to the staff and identify their needs, even if they are just minor adjustments to their office space, or tweaking working hours, and ultimately it will pay off with a happier workforce.

Those staff have already proven their worth by getting the job in the first place. They are professionals, so identifying why there is any fall-off in performance is key.

Breaking it down with staff members and discussing problems will help them realise that things are not as bad as they think and there is a way around the problem.

For a professional, forward-thinking hi-tech business, well-motivated and confident staff will find their own rewards while building success for their employer. You don’t need to be a genius to measure that.

Motivation and measurement go well together. Indiscriminate hiring and firing should be consigned to the dustbin.

Contact our UK-based team of account managers today to find out how we can help your firm.

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