Sales outsourcing offers your company the best of both possible worlds: You’ve got a flexible team of professional salespeople ready to help during busy times, or augment your existing staff, without adding considerable overhead. However, it can be tough to motivate outsourced teams who don’t interact with you and your full time staff every day.
So, how do you motivate an outsourced sales team? What makes them feel successful, happy and a part of the team?
Five Surprising Ways to Motivate Outsourced Sales Teams
Although your first thought may have been to offer them additional compensation or contests, money isn’t always the answer to motivating employees. A sales person who prides himself on constantly upping his game, for instance, is one who may find intrinsic goals more compelling than financial incentive. For him, having someone acknowledge his drive to learn and succeed may be perceived as a more valuable reward than a trip to Hawaii for the most closed sales.
If you’re struggling to find the right incentive, the Hierarchy of Needs proposed by philosopher Abraham Maslow—where high-level needs revolve around esteem, knowledge, and self actualization—provide a good template for encouraging and rewarding your long-distance sales staff.
The following five ideas can help you tap into your outsourced team’s need for acceptance, self esteem, public recognition and more. Best of all, most won’t cost the same as the trip to Hawaii.
Publicly acknowledge the contributions of sales outsourcing teams. Many teams have combined meetings, either in person or virtual, between in-house and outsourced teams. Use such opportunities to praise the outsourced partner as a valued team member. Give credit where credit is due, and make your outsourced sales team feel like part of the winning team.
Stay consistent. Nothing makes outsourced partners feel more disconnected than a corporation that constantly vacillates on goals, objectives and message. Consistency is the key to winning loyalty and respect from your outsourced partners.
Treat outsourced teams as partners, not vendors. There’s a subtle difference, but one that is keenly felt by many outsourced sales teams. Vendors come and go, but partners are here to stay, and no one wants to feel as though they’re disposable. Partners show respect and consideration for one another, and this feeds into every aspect of a business relationship.
Communicate clearly and often. Good communication builds relationships that make sales outsourcing partners feel like one of the team. That feeling translates into motivation to succeed.
Send thank you notes. Keep an eye on star players on your outsourced team. Send handwritten thank you notes to both the manager of the team and the individuals who contribute the most to your sales. A personal touch goes a long way in keeping sales people feeling motivated.
Outsourced sales teams often feel disconnected from their partner organizations. By bridging the gap between the two firms, and helping each team to feel connected, you can encourage and motivate your outsourced partner effectively. While fair compensation is definitely important, most people find the drive to go above and beyond when they are shown respect and recognition, not just offered a little extra money on the side.
Good Communication is Key
It’s hard for anyone to stay motivated when they don’t understand the impact their actions have on the bottom line. Most people, once they understand the ramifications of their small part in the bigger picture, take it as a personal challenge to do their best.
Career satisfaction requires that employees feel a sense of ownership over and competency in their assigned tasks. To engender this feeling, communication is key: outsourced partners need to know and understand your company’s brand messaging, marketing plans, products, and customer base.
A good sales outsourcing partner is a treasured business resource. Once you’ve found a great partner, build and enhance that relationship with incentives that tap into the deeper needs of your new workforce. It’s not always about money; often, it’s simply being recognized for a job well done.
RDI Corporation was founded in 1978 and is headquartered in Blue Ash, Ohio. We provide precise business solutions through a fully integrated outsourcing model and our clients ranged from mid-sized corporations to distinguished Fortune 500 companies.