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Today’s sales managers are finding their footing and devising new approaches to the task at hand with their teams working from home. We’re in the trenches with these sales leaders studying the changing landscape. Based on our research, we’ve come up with six plays that help sales leaders position their remote sales force for success. Our previous post introduced the first two plays: Stay Close to Your Reps—Even When They Are Far Away, and Identify Your A Players.

Now it’s time for the next two plays: How to Reward Your A-Players, and Make Sure Reps Keep Their Heads in the Game. Again we turn to inspiration from those who understand what it takes to drive teams to perform their best in any situation.

Play 3: Reward Your A Players

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In today’s environment, closing deals might take longer than in the past, and cultivating strong relationships with existing customers takes on even more importance. In other words, closed deals aren’t the most meaningful measure of success right now. You need new ways to reward your reps so they don’t abandon your team.

Pivoting to reward new behaviors may seem counterintuitive, but it makes perfect sense when the rules of the game have changed, so to speak. Take the Ohio Buckeyes, a college football team with a long history of winning. In 2001, this once-dominant team was struggling. Jim Tressel took over as head coach and changed the reward system. Rather than hand out buckeye helmet stickers when a player scored a touchdown, he rewarded everyone on the offensive unit when the team scored at least a certain number of points. Ever since, the Buckeyes have been one of the winningest teams in college football.

The key to driving the best performance from your reps is to reward them for the activities that matter most in today’s climate. In many cases, that means figuring out those activities and coming up with a fitting way to reward your reps for performing them.

Play 4: Make Sure Reps Keep Their Heads in the Game

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When the going gets tough, you need your players to dig deep and play their hardest. What works is coaching your reps to play their best every time out. Doing so often comes down to mastering the basics.

Brad Stevens is a prime example of a coach who excels in this regard. Since taking over as head coach of the Boston Celtics in 2013, he has led them to the NBA Playoffs every year from 2015 on. Prior to that, Stevens made history as the youngest coach to go to two NCAA Division I Final Fours while leading the Butler University Bulldogs.

Stevens has built his astonishing record by coaching his players to focus on the fundamentals, teamwork, and playing to the best of their ability. At the end of the day, it comes down to what he calls “controlling the controllables.”

In much the same way, you can position your salespeople to stay focused at this time by helping them strengthen any weaknesses, rely on their teammates, and play to win. By showing your sales reps that the basics remain the same, you can guide them to continue performing to their full potential.

For more on the two plays we’ve introduced here, read Reward Your A-Players, and Make Sure Your Reps Keep Their Heads in the Game.


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