Every sales leader has their own take on motivation. While there are innumerable approaches and countless books about creating a successful, motivated sales team, what works for one leader might not necessarily work for another.
For that reason, we wanted to talk to one of our own sales leaders: Divisional Vice President Greer Bellomy.
Bellomy joined ITA Group in February 2017 with over 20 years of sales and marketing experience in the incentive and recognition industry.
Here’s what she had to say about setting sales goals, motivating her team, being a successful coach and more.
How do the motivations of your team influence your style as a sales leader?
I’m a big proponent of transparency and openness with no hidden agendas and an open dialog. Setting strict boundaries and prescriptive tactics has never really worked out very well. And, for the most part, I feel like when you have a group of passionate professionals that keep the client’s benefit front-of-mind, that sets in motion the actions and behaviors that guide them. It’s my job to set the vision, provide consistent leadership and let them do what they need to do in a way that suits their unique styles and the needs of their clients.
Salespeople, like everyone else, are driven by their own intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. Just as we profess with MotivologySM, they’re motivated by what uniquely motivates them. If they’re on straight commission, they’re highly motivated to sell because they have bills to pay, lifestyles to support and sometimes families that rely on them.
That’s enough of a push for just about everyone, in my estimation. After that, I think it’s their competitive nature that pushes them forward—not everyone’s cut out for sales. But it really helps when you believe in what you’re doing.
So it's more about letting salespeople be motivated by what really motivates them?
The most successful people I’ve worked with really like their clients and their clients like them, too. That bond of trust is huge. It’s hard to get a meeting with a client that doesn’t really like you or believes you’re just there to sell them something. You have to gain their trust. That’s key.
When a client says, “I’m going out on a limb to work with you instead of your competition because I really trust you”—that means a lot. It takes strong personal values and work to get to that point, and, once there, you have to execute perfectly to keep that relationship of trust and respect strong.
What else motivates your people?
I think another big motivator for a salesperson is the work-life balance that comes with sales. You’re typically not at your desk all day, you’re not punching a 9-to-5 clock, you’re self-managed. Your day is what you make of it based on the goals you set for yourself. Most of my team works remotely. I don’t monitor them; I know they know they have a job to do and it’s up to them to get it done.
I’m here to give them the support they need. I think it’s motivating to have a coach that loves brainstorming, being a thought partner, taking a challenging perspective and offering new ideas and strategies to help them assist their clients to reach their goals.
I feel that salespeople are self-motivating by nature. Salespeople like to be recognized for their achievements and want to celebrate their success with someone. Earning a spot on the incentive travel trips that many companies host, like our annual Leaders of Excellence, is kind of like winning the Academy Awards. What an honor! And the best part is you get to share it with a partner that’s been putting up with you and supporting you along the way. That acknowledgment makes your effort real.
As far as setting sales goals goes, what else do you believe in?
While letting people be motivated by what they want to be motivated by is enormously important, it’s also important to hold them accountable to their goals. Set a goal and make a plan. If you say you’re going to do it, then do it. It’s about being part of a solid team. It’s about disciplined autonomy.
Sales leaders can say, “Go after this business, we have a big target to hit,” but that’s only one part of the equation. How are you going to do help them do it? Let’s work on a solid action plan: Who are you going to meet with? What steps are you going to take to get there? What do you want to achieve and when do you want to achieve it? That’s what I want to know.
The next time I meet with that person, I’ll ask how they’re doing and how they’re moving toward those goals. I’m not only holding people accountable but removing any obstacles that are standing in their way. I see myself as their coach, helping them achieve success.
How do you integrate yourself into a new team and how does that influence your role as a coach?
With every sales team, everyone has different levels of experience and different backgrounds. Everyone’s unique, and it’s my role to get to know them better so I can help them. The first thing I did was schedule a one-on-one conversation so I got to know everyone better.
I didn’t want to know what was on their LinkedIn profile and resumes. I had that. I wanted to know who they are as people, their families, kids, pets, where they live, what they enjoy doing. Then, what they want in their careers, where they see themselves in a few years. That’s a great way to get to know your people and it opens up a good dialogue.
Every sales person needs a different type of coaching—some people need to know how to get to their goals; some people like having a strong thought partner to help challenge their thinking and some just want a coach to touch base with to ensure they’re on track.
How would you describe yourself as a coach?
I’m a very goal-oriented person. I just want to get the job done. I have high expectations. I’m high energy, curious and I have to have fun doing what I’m doing—or why do it? I want that kind of energy on my team.
That said, patience and support are really important to being a coach. Sales is tough. It’s stressful. You don’t know what’s going to happen when the phone rings. You might have to drop everything to hit a deadline or jump on a plane to put out a fire. That’s just the way the job is.
Coaches have to be able to laugh when the going gets tough and keep everything in perspective. This is our job. We work hard so we can live happily. You have to do the absolute best you can every day, then go home knowing you did your best and enjoy what you’ve built.
What about your background do you feel makes you a good sales coach?
Professionally, in my past role, I wore many hats. I had to jump in to unknown areas that quickly had to be my expertise, to think fast on my feet and solve problems. I loved it. To be a great coach, I think you have to be really interested in what everyone’s doing and meet them where they are.
Personally, I’m the youngest of nine kids, which taught me how to get along with a multitude of personalities, to think carefully before I spoke, to be tough, scrappy and able to stand up for myself and fight for what I wanted without ending up at the bottom of a brawl. That “education” has served me well.
It’s exciting to learn how the whole team works together and how everyone has a stake in working toward the end goal of helping the client. You have to love what you do and feel passionate about it.
When the going gets tough, take a deep breath, and remember that not everyone’s as lucky to do what we do. My daily mantra—seriously, it’s written on the first page of my padfolio—is: Learn, Laugh, Enjoy, Excel.
Do that and you've got it in the bag.
If you’re a sales leader, recognition and incentives are an invaluable tool for motivating your team, alongside the intrinsic motivation that salespeople feel. Download our new white paper, “Using Recognition and Incentives to Drive Results,” to learn more about how they can power growth.