Last quarter’s numbers are in… and they don’t look too good. In fact, many of your “impressive hires” are floundering to even meet their goals, never mind exceed them. The pressure is on from upper management and you’re starting to lose sleep.

What happened?

Hiring a sales team is pretty easy. After all, hundreds (if not thousands) of resumes boasting sales experience will cross your desk every single year. However, it’s difficult to determine whether a salesperson is worth their weight until you’ve actually seen them in action. Their resume might show impressive numbers, but was it a fluke? Were they put in the position of “order taker” rather than a true sales role? Were they in charge of selling a product that literally sold itself?

Now that you’ve hired your sales team, it’s time to actually build the team. The responsibility rests on you to make sure that they are meeting their numbers, living up to the goals you’ve set for them, and helping to move the organization forward. It’s your job to improve their performance and raise your team to a rock star level of selling.

But how?

Help your team achieve the next level of selling
by hiring a keynote speaker for corporate events.

How Can You Improve Sales Performance and Take My Sales Team to the Next Level?

Improving your team’s sales performance is a fairly simple process… if you do it right. There are many managers that will resort to cracking down on fun, giving demoralizing “pep talks,” and making threats of unemployment to inspire their troops. Thankfully, you know better. You know that in order to motivate your team to reach rock star status, you need to understand what’s really going on with each employee.

Related: How to Get Your Employees Excited About Your Business Vision

How to Achieve the Next Level of Selling

There are several tactics you can employ to take your employees to the next level of selling.

1. Understand what drives them

It may be hard to believe, but not everyone is driven to perform by money. For some salespeople, financial incentives are lovely, but not why they come to work every morning. Some employees may be driven by healthy competition (whether with others or themselves), by the need for positive affirmations and reinforcement, or by a desire to have plenty of time to spend with loved ones.

First, you must understand why your team members would want to perform. Once you know this, you can focus on the best way to motivate and reward them. Perhaps they’d prefer some extra time off to a performance-based bonus. Or maybe, they need to be publicly congratulated for a job well done.

2. Raise excitement for the product

Have you ever tried selling something you don’t care about? Your lackluster feelings are difficult to cover up and the sales process doesn’t usually go well. It’s hard to be enthusiastic about a product when you don’t believe in it. On the other hand, when you can speak from experience… when you love a product because it has worked for you or someone you care about, you’re comfortable shouting it from the rooftops.

Keep this in mind when it comes to hiring and training your staff. If you can find salespeople who have used the product, even if they have slightly less experience in a sales role, they may sell with more enthusiasm than someone with tons of sales experience, but no experience with the product.

Once they’re already an employee, make sure they’re a customer too. If at all possible, give your product to your salespeople to test out with family and friends. Let them see for themselves how incredibly amazing your product or service is, so they can then become a raving fan.

Related: How to Boost Sales Team Morale and Motivation

3. Provide them with product training

The only thing worse than not being excited about your product is not knowing enough about it. Imagine that you sit down with a potential customer or client. You give your pitch and then they start asking questions. So many questions. So many questions that you can’t answer. Now, on top of being worried that you won’t get the sale, you feel stupid for not knowing your product inside and out.

Don’t do this to your employees. Make sure that they receive the product training necessary for them to fully understand and explain what they have to sell. When a new product is rolled out, provide them with the proper training before you ask them to hit the ground.

4. Provide them with sales training

As you saw earlier, most salespeople are merely order takers. When a potential customer is in front of them, they are able to log whatever products or services they’d like to purchase. They may even be able to slightly upsell them. However, what will they do when faced with the need to make cold calls? What will they do when they face objections for potential clients? Do they have the knowledge and skills to be a true salesperson?

Provide enough training that your employees can approach any sales situation with enthusiasm and confidence, and the techniques necessary to handle any situation.

Related: What Do All Great Teams Have in Common?

5. Recognize their achievements

Does it sound crazy to reward someone for not reaching their goals? What if they’ve come a lot closer to hitting them than they’ve ever come before?

While it’s great to reward goals that have been met, don’t forget to positively reinforce improvement. When an employee is doing their best… and getting better, yet they are still penalized for not making their goals, the result will be a disheartened employee who stops trying. When you congratulate them on stepping up and then give them more tools they need to succeed, you’ll be met with gratitude and enthusiasm (not to mention a better future month or quarter).

Taking your salespeople to the next level will take patience, dedication, and some hard work. Thankfully, you are perfect for the job! Support your employees with positive reinforcement and education, and come next review period, you’ll all be celebrating rock star sales numbers.

You realize that your department and your organization would be nothing without the amazing employees you’ve brought on board. They work hard, accomplish their goals, and move the company forward.

But sometimes, you wonder if they could be even more successful if they worked together better. How can you take your good team and turn them into a great team filled with rock star employees?

Make your good team great by hiring a keynote speaker for your next corporate event!

What’s the Difference Between Good and Great Teams?

It’s pretty easy to identify a bad team, right?  Employees are bickering, there’s a cloud of negativity in the office, team members are often back-biting and will step on one another to get ahead. You’d probably see high turnover rates, frequent sick days, and an overall lack of performance on the job.

It’s not quite as easy to recognize the difference between a good team and a great team. After all, a good team may have a common culture, common goals, the ability to handle conflict, and impressively skilled people.

A great team, or a “next level” team will exhibit all of these characteristics, but they’ll be stronger, more intertwined, and happier to work together.

Characteristics of a Great Team

If you’re sitting there right now wondering, “How do I know if my team is a good team or a great team?” it’s easy to find out.

Does your team communicate regularly or does communication breakdown at the first sign of struggle?

Does your team support one another to reach not only shared goals, but individual goals as well?

Does your team view conflict as a way to improve?

Does your team utilize the right people for the right tasks?

Does your team celebrate one another’s achievements?

Related: How to Create a Culture of Employee Engagement

What Do All Great Teams Have in Common?

While most bad or toxic teams exhibit some similar characteristics, great teams can be identified by several common characteristics as well. These include:

1. They have talented people in the right roles

You may have the best employee in the world, but if they are stuck in the wrong role, performing the wrong tasks, they’ll never live up to your expectations. Teams are useful because they bring a variety of skills and talents to the table and can work together to overcome one another’s blind spots.

Having the right people doing the right job is about understanding your individual employees and what they excel at… and then placing them in those roles.

2. Everyone understands what their role is

It’s wonderful to have employees that can cover for one another and perform multiple roles. However, if they don’t know what they are supposed to be doing, some employees will slack and become complacent, while others will take on too much work and become resentful.

Be clear with your employees about what they are responsible for and outline the procedure for requesting help or support with difficult projects. That way there won’t be confusion amongst the team.

3. Culture is understood and valued

It’s easy to say you have a strong culture when things are running smoothly. This is the sign of a good team. The real test of an organization’s culture is what happens when things go haywire. A great team is able to maintain their culture during the most difficult times.

Clearly communicate your culture and values to the team and put procedures in place to maintain this culture during the rocky periods.

4. Purpose, mission, and individual contributions are understood

Good teams understand what they are working toward in the future. They know what the mission of the organization is and they understand that everyone is working towards the same thing.

What separates the good teams from the great, is the fact that every member of a great team understands their role in the mission… and everyone else’s. This means that they not only recognize why everyone is there but have a strong sense of respect for each person’s contribution to the greater good.

Related: How to Motivate Millennial Workers

5. There’s diversity among the team members

As challenging as diversity can be at times, it’s essential to a great team. Having opinions from different cultures, religions, age groups, nationalities, lifestyles, and more will help your team better understand the needs of their consumers and respect one another for their differences and what they bring to the table.

When you put your team together, you should hire based off of experience and skills, but also keep their background and differences in mind. The more varied your team is, the more successful they’ll be.

6. They communicate efficiently and respectfully

While a good team should have open lines of communication, a great team takes it one step further. Your employees should feel that they are safe to share their feelings, their concerns, and their ideas. They should be praised for offering suggestions and for addressing any challenges that they see.

Communication starts with the leadership. If you reward employees for speaking up, they will continue to do so. If you don’t create the opportunity for them to share, or even worse, you penalize them when they do, you will create an environment where employees are not comfortable talking to you or to one another.

7. They support one another

 Very few projects are completed in solitude. It’s much more likely that your employees will need to lean on fellow teammates for support, encouragement, and assistance. While in a sales culture, employees may actually be competing against one another, a great team will find ways to make the pie bigger rather than fighting over a single slice.

Reward your employees for supportive behavior. When you see someone holding out a hand to assist a coworker, thank them for doing so and take this into consideration come review or bonus time.

When you look closely, great teams are easy to spot. They’re the employees who laugh together, cry together, and grow together. With the right encouragement and training, you can take your team from good to great and create an environment that rocks!

Everyone is so busy these days, many companies have considered skipping sales meetings altogether.

But not the smart companies.

You know how important it is to get all of your salespeople in one room, to get them excited about their jobs and motivated about the products or services they sell, and to give them the tools they need to succeed once they’re back in the field.

You’ve been entrusted to plan the next sales meeting, and you want to make sure that your employees are not only excited to attend but will walk away feeling positive about returning to work and feeling like they can conquer the sales goals you’ve set for them. Between travel and expenses, this event will cost the company a pretty penny, and you want to make sure it wasn’t in vain.

You know this sales meeting has to be special; you’re just not sure how to do that.

Make your sales kickoff a slam dunk
by hiring a keynote speaker for corporate events.

How Do You Kick Off a Successful Sales Meeting?

Before you can plan a successful sales meeting, you have to understand the different elements that go into this type of event. After all, you’ve seen those dull, events where the only thing keeping the attendees awake is high-octane coffee. If it weren’t for that caffeine spike and the pastries waiting around every corner, they’d be snoring in the aisles.

You want to create something better. Something that brings value to your attendees and improves the state of the business. The good news is that it’s completely possible.

You’ll need three elements to do this:

Education

Do your salespeople know their products inside and out? Do they have the best practices they need to sell? Have they perfected the sales process or could they use a refresher?

A sales kickoff provides the opportunity to give them all the knowledge they need to sell the specific products you’re launching (and any upgrades or changes to older products), plus, they get to learn new sales techniques, brush up on their sales skills, and learn what’s been working for the most successful people in your organization and in the industry.  

Entertainment

Let’s face it, product knowledge may not be the most exciting topic in the world to learn. Rather than just stacking your event with specifics and less-than-fascinating product descriptions, you’ll need to intersperse some entertainment throughout the meeting. The audience will be even more interested if there is audience interaction and participation. This will make them feel like they’re a part of the event (because they are!).  

Motivation

All the knowledge in the world won’t help your team if they aren’t excited about going back to work. Providing a motivational piece to the event will inspire your salespeople to become better employees and better people. They’ll leave the event hungry to return to the field and start selling.

The Best Sales Kickoff Ever in 9 Steps

When it comes to events of any kind, 90% of the success is in the planning stage. If you’ve done your job right, once the event gets started, you’ll be able to relax (a little) knowing that the machine is already in motion. There are nine steps to creating the best sales kickoff ever:

1. Define “Successful”

If you don’t know what “successful” looks like, how will you know when you get there? Sit down with your planning committee and identify what you’d like to get out of hosting this event. Are you looking to celebrate the past successes of your employees and your organization? Do you need to inspire some creative thinking among your team members instead of sticking to the ol’ status quo? Are you looking to inspire your sales force and motivate them to reach for even higher goals than they’ve hit in the past? Or, do you need to communicate the “state of the organization” and dispel some rumors or anxiety that’s been floating around the break rooms?

When you understand your purpose and your desired goals, you’ll have an easier time planning your event.

2. Choose a Sales Kickoff Theme

Now that you know what you want to get out of this event, you can select a theme that supports it. You can go uber-creative and choose a theme that’s both entertaining and whimsical, or you can choose something straightforward that communicates exactly what your team members will take away from the event. Examples of potential themes are “Improving the Customer Experience” or “Sharpening the Blade.”

Related: 20 Conference Themes for 2019 That Employees Will Love

3. Get the Team Involved

It’s no secret that when employees have the opportunity to provide feedback, voice their concerns, and give input into a decision, they’re more engaged. Send out some quick polls or questionnaires to your employees and ask what they’d like to learn at this event. Find out what interests them and what they’d deem worth attending to learn.

4. Choose your Content Based Off of Your Goals

It’s important to figure out what you want to accomplish during the meeting, but it’s also important to know how that fits into your company goals. Identify the strengths, weaknesses, and blind spots in your organization and provide content that supports closing the gap.

5. Decide on Sales Kickoff Games and Activities

Engaging your employees throughout the entire sales kickoff event will ensure that they are:

  • Not bored
  • Not rolling their eyes at the cheesiness
  • Learning and growing from the content provided
  • Going home with actionable steps they can start on the moment they get back to the office.

Related: How to Host a Knock-Out Sales Conference

6. Provide Some Glimpses of the Content to Get Your Salespeople Excited

Just because the event hasn’t yet arrived doesn’t mean that you can’t get your salespeople excited about it. At each step of the planning process, provide a glimpse of what’s to come. You can have the speakers record quick videos about the content they cover, ask the venue staff to do a virtual tour of the location, and even provide helpful hints for “things to do” in the city you’ve chosen.

7. Find a Rockstar Speaker to Give the Opening Presentation

The opening presentation sets the tone for the entire event. Find a speaker who can inspire, engage, and excite your audience. You’ll want someone who captures the audience’s attention the moment he or she steps on stage and is remembered for years to come.

Related: 5 Ways a Motivational Speaker Can Improve Employee Morale

8. Create Your Agenda (and Leave Plenty of Time for Socialization)

While you’ll be providing a ton of content for the attendees, the connections they make between sessions may prove invaluable. They’ll learn best practices from people crushing it in the field, and will make friends, getting to know their coworkers outside of the office environment and creating a stronger team back at the office.  

9. Relax

Yes, you’ll still have to be “on” once the event starts. But, you’ll know that you’ve done the proper planning to ensure that the event will be a success. Now, you can go enjoy it and keep an eye out for anything that could be improved in the future.

Your employees are your greatest resource. Invest in their development and training and the return on investment, both in sales and in employee satisfaction, will more than make up for the costs of a sales kickoff meeting.

As a business owner, you’ve probably read business and personal development books. You’ve probably attended seminars, taken workshops, and listened to podcasts—all in the name of improving your company, your life, and the lives of your employees.

However, did you ever stop to think that some of the best business lessons out there aren’t found in business books? What if you could learn how to become a rock star in business by studying… actual rock stars?

Infuse a rock star mentality into your company and culture
by hiring a motivational speaker for corporate events.

Business Lessons You Can Learn from Rock Stars

The music industry is ripe with lessons that you can use to improve your business and your life.

Related: 7 Tips for Fostering the Rockstar Mindset in Business

1. Let your failures educate you and feed your ambitions

Imagine that you’re Prince, the amazing musician whose music career spanned 4+ decades. You get up on stage, ready to give it your all, and you fail miserably. In fact, you’re so bad, you get booed off the stage.

That’s what happened when Prince opened for The Rolling Stones. But he didn’t let it discourage him, and neither should you. He kept playing and eventually became the superstar we’ll always remember. Hold onto your dreams and your core values. Stay focused, work hard, and you will reach your goals.

2. Seize the opportunities

Musicians and the record industry have often feared bootleg recordings and fans “stealing” music. Some even refused to allow recording devices of any kind into their shows. The Grateful Dead felt differently. They saw the cameras and recorders as an opportunity to develop deeper bonds with their fans and reach a whole new audience through their existing fans.

Is there something in your business that frightens you? Instead of seeing it as a negative, find a way to embrace the opportunity and welcome something new into your organization.

3. You are your own best product

Can you picture a time when Lady Gaga wasn’t the unique, outlandish star she is now? Turns out, she (like mostly everyone) suffered from some major insecurities.

However, she completely ignored those insecurities to strengthen her persona:

“I used to walk down the street like I was a f****** star… I want people to walk around delusional about how great they can be — and then fight so hard for it every day that the lie becomes the truth.”

—Lady Gaga

Do you deal with insecurities or imposter syndrome in your business? Hold yourself with confidence. Dress with confidence. Speak with confidence… and eventually, you will be confident.

4. Create a vision

While Aerosmith is a group of talented and hardworking individuals, the reason they’ve become the legends they are is their vision. They didn’t just work hard; they worked toward something.

Do you have a unifying force in your business? Do you have a clear, common purpose that everyone works toward? If your vision is a clear one, humble beginnings, setbacks, and disappointments won’t matter.

Related: Setting Rock Star Goals

5. Commit to the long haul

If you’ve followed The Rolling Stones throughout their 50+ year span, you probably remember the well-documented shouting matches, public insults, and explosive interactions between Keith Richards and Mick Jagger.

Yet, the band is still going strong. Why?

“This thing is bigger than both of us.”

—Keith Richards

Is everyone in your organization committed to doing what’s best for the “band”? When there’s a bigger vision and a bigger purpose, people must put their egos aside and do what’s best for the business.

6. Enact your own change

Since the early 1980s, Madonna has been wowing audiences with her performances on and off stage. She’s reinvented herself more than the average person cuts their hair. When other musical powerhouses are fading into the history books, Madonna has stayed relevant and popular. How?

She drives change. Rather than allowing the world to change around her while she stands still, Madonna has influenced our culture.

Are you changing the way your industry does business, or are you sitting back and waiting for the market to force you to change?

7. Find your fans

While you may not know the Dresden Dolls’ lead singer Amanda Palmer, her fans certainly do.

“Basically, our MO was that after every gig, whether we were a support band or if we were headlining a 2000 seat venue, or playing in a strange little venue… after a show, no matter what, we would always sign autographs.”

—Amanda Palmer

Are you getting to know your customers? Do you take the time to build a relationship with them? This is how you change customers into loyal fans.

8. Be adaptable

Sometimes, things don’t turn out as planned. Sometimes, you have to adjust your course to see continued success.

U2 has been playing together for more than 30 years and have sold almost 200 million records worldwide. However, in 1989, they decided it was time to take a break, regroup, and rethink the music they were making. So they did. They returned with Achtung Baby! and found a new groove.

If you’re in an energy rut, or if the road you’re on isn’t leading where you want to go, it’s okay to chart a new course.

9. Rock your BHAG

Do you have a big, hairy, audacious goal? This concept dares people and organizations to set your sights on the very best possible outcome for yourself and your organization. Consider the band KISS whose BHAG is to rock their fans with a full spectrum experience that no other band can match… and they’ve been doing it for decades.

It’s okay to set smaller, more attainable goals throughout your journey. However, if you want to be a rock star in business, you’ll need to look at your Vision and then set a BHAG for your organization.

Related: Rock Your BHAG

10. Rehearse… Rehearse… Rehearse

Glenn Frey, lead singer of the Eagles, once said that they never played a song at a live concert until they had played it perfectly 100 times in a row during rehearsals. This is a rock star level of dedication and preparation.

Have you taken the time to learn your craft? Did you stop learning and practicing once you became “good enough”? If you want to build a rock star business, you need to practice every single day. To reach this level, you must commit yourself to doing whatever it takes to be the best at what you do.

11. Bring the energy

Business isn’t always exciting. But, you might be surprised to hear that the music industry isn’t always exciting either. In fact, even musical legends like James Taylor admit to having an off day every so often. When that happens, he suggests getting the fans engaged by focusing on your favorite parts of what you do. Once they are excited, you’ll get excited.

Can you focus on your customers? Can you get them involved in what you’re doing and so fired up that they, in turn, get you excited? Be grateful for the customers and fans in your business and show them your appreciation. You’ll be sure to get the energy boost you need.

Related: 4 Ways Rock Star Energy Can Add to Your Workplace

You want the best for your business and for your employees. When you learn the lessons of the world’s greatest musical legends, you’ll improve your organizations and bring out the business rock stars around you.

You believe in the company you work for and the service it provides to the community. You’ve bought into the idea of a better future. You believe that your team has the power to achieve their goals and push the business forward into the future. Unfortunately, you’re not entirely sure if your employees know what the larger plan is for the business and what part they play in making it a reality.

How do you ensure that your employees are on the same page and working to make the organization a success?

Infuse some energy into your team and learn about
company culture with a motivational speaker.

Why Is Vision Important in an Organization?

A vision or vision statement is set in the future and describes the world as it will be when a company lives out its mission.

Without a vision, a company is just going through the motions, taking care of daily activities with no goals or dreams in sight. The business and its employees may fall off track, distracted by “shiny object” syndrome and unable to function. It may become difficult to make decisions without a clear end in mind.

When a company has a strong, clear vision and the employees are aware of that vision, it inspires action and helps employees stay focused and work together no matter what challenges they face. The vision becomes the North Star that guides the company forward.  

How Do Mission and Vision Affect Employees?

Sure, you can survive without a company vision, but your employees will be coming to work for a paycheck rather than a greater purpose. Their satisfaction will be low, their engagement as minimal as possible, and their happiness won’t come until the moment they step out of the building at the end of the day.

Employees that see, understand, and buy into the company’s vision will enjoy their jobs more, perform better, and truly drive the company’s success.

But where does mission fit into this?

The company mission defines how the company is going to reach its vision. Think of it like the GPS that guides the company along the journey. When employees understand the history and the “why” of the organization and have a clear concept of the mission, they will be better enabled to do their jobs and to understand the role they play in the company as a whole.

How Do You Implement Mission and Vision in the Workplace?

While the company’s vision statement may be prominently displayed on the lobby wall or front and center on the company website, if it isn’t an ingrained part of the culture, it will be regularly overlooked.

Now, if you work at a non-profit where employees get to save the world, one child, tree, or homeless person at a time, it won’t be difficult for them to see the vision and become a part of it. However, when you work for a for-profit company, it becomes slightly more difficult (though not impossible) to implement your mission and vision.

Implementing your mission and vision in the workplace begins with effective hiring. If you bring in a new employee whose values don’t match that of the organization, there’s no amount of cheerleading that can get them on board. Rather than looking solely for employees that have the skills or experience to fill a role, also consider hiring for personality, values, and culture fit. You can always train someone on how to do a job. You can’t, however, change who they are as a person.

Once employees are situated within the company, a great deal of responsibility falls on you as their immediate supervisor to be a living example of the values and mission in action. Employees will be inspired by your actions and your attitude and will likely follow suit.

Related: How to Create a Culture of Employee Engagement

How to Get Employees Excited About Your Business Vision

Wouldn’t it be amazing if your employees were eager to come to work early, happy to stay late, and excited to work together towards a greater good? When employees are excited about your business vision, they will go above and beyond to make that vision a reality.

Communicate Your Mission and Vision

It may seem obvious, but if you haven’t shared your vision with the employees and they don’t know what their ultimate goal is… you can’t expect them to be working tirelessly toward it. While your vision and mission may be hanging up for all to see, you’ll still need to ensure that it’s a topic of conversation with new hires. When you onboard a new employee, their first lesson should be what the company does, why, and where the organization is headed. This should happen before you ever get into the details of their specific job role. Once you’ve discussed both, then you can tie these together so they understand how they fit into the grand scheme of things.

For existing employees, and as a reminder to everyone, the vision and mission should be read at every meeting and opened to discussion about how the organization is meeting or missing the mark.

Listen as Much as You Speak

As a manager or leader, you may feel that your voice should be heard more than those of your employees. However, if they aren’t talking to you… they are probably talking to someone else. That could be fellow employees or even customers. That’s not a conversation that should ever happen.

Check in with your employees regularly and give them ample opportunities to voice their concerns. Of course, you’ll also have to create a safe space for them to do so. If employees are chastised for speaking up, or if news of your conversation reaches others in the organization, they may never come to you again. Whether you agree with what they have to say or not, hear them out.

Pay Attention

You may be listening to your employees when they speak, but they might not feel comfortable doing so. If they aren’t voicing their opinions in meetings or coming to discuss ideas with you one-on-one, you’ll need to pay attention to their body language and their behaviors.

When you’re leading a meeting or conversation, you are often more focused on your own words than the way the audience is reacting to them. When you see that employees are no longer paying attention and becoming less engaged, it may be time to switch gears.

Incorporate Mission and Vision into Individual Goals

When employees clearly see the relation between their specific job responsibility and attainment of an organization-wide mission, they’ll be more likely to exhibit the desired attitudes and behaviors.

Reward, Reward, Reward

Like everything else in life, employees will respond better to positive reinforcement, being rewarded for a job well done and a mission well carried out than they will to being punished. This can be done with monetary rewards, gift certificates, time off, or any number of “bonuses” that communicate your satisfaction with their performance.

When your organization has a clear vision and mission, and the employees are excited to be a part of it and contribute to the whole, your business will be more successful and your employees will be more engaged, happy, and loyal. If you are clear on what you want to achieve and communicate that well with your staff, buy-in will happen naturally.

As an event planner, the weight of each and every conference seems to rest on your shoulders. From the location to the speakers to the food, you want every detail to be perfect. Often, those decisions will all be based on what you choose for your theme.

You could play it safe, but why? You want the attendees to remember this event for years to come. You want to see the wide-eyed expressions on their faces as they walk through the conference with awe and wonderment. And you want to have that amazing conversation with the client or your higher up where they tell you that you’ve exceeded their expectations and you’ll be hearing from them as soon as next year’s conference planning is underway.

If you want to create an event that will go down in the history books, it’s time to dig deep, get creative, and plan the event of a lifetime.

Book a keynote speaker for your conference now >>

Trending Conference Themes for 2019

You want as many people to attend as possible and for attendees to get the most out of the event as they can. In order to do that, you’ll need to select a theme that appeals to their desire to learn and grow but also piques their sense of adventure and satisfies their yearning for entertainment.

Take a look at these trending conference themes and see if any of them create a spark for you. Then, we’ll discuss how to tailor them to your event.

  1. Wellness and Health – Productivity, sales success, providing good customer service… all of these are difficult (if not impossible) when wellness and health are not taken into account. Attendees need to learn how to get their physical, mental, and emotional houses in order before they can excel in the office.
  2. Leadership – Leadership isn’t just for managers anymore. Companies with strong, focused, self-disciplined, autonomous, self-sufficient employees will see better returns than those with “flock” mentality. Encourage every employer to be a leader, whether they have direct reports or not.
  3. Reinvention and Resilience – As the economic climate changes, many (if not all) industries are seeing some sort of challenges with the way they’ve always operated. The successful companies will be the ones that learn to reinvent themselves and lead the change.
  4. Productivity – Companies want their employees to be as productive as possible. Giving them the tools to manage their time and responsibilities appropriately can help.
  5. Sustainability – Our environment needs us. Companies have the ability to improve their bottom line without endangering the planet further. It’s not only good for the world, but it’s also becoming an expectation of customers.
  6. Women in Business – Glass ceilings are being shattered every day. A conference focused on women in business can improve leadership skills, decrease the pay discrepancies, and celebrate the amazing and unique characteristics that women bring to the business world.
  7. Marketing – Businesses are constantly looking to reach more potential customers and get their message front and center. A focus on marketing can help companies identify who they’re trying to reach, where those individuals are, and how to best craft their message for them.
  8. Technology and Social Media – Love it or hate it, technology is always evolving, and social media is here to stay. Attendees would benefit from understanding the latest advancements and how to incorporate them into their job responsibilities.
  9. Communications – No matter what innovations occur in technology, communication will always be the most important aspect of life and business. How do employees interact with one another? With customers? With direct reports or with management? The better you’re able to communicate, the more successful you’ll be.
  10. Demographic, Social/ Lifestyle and Environmental Trends – The world is changing. Businesses can embrace this fact and learn how to evolve, or they can ignore these trends and perish.
  11. Creativity – Innovation comes from creativity. And successful business comes from innovation. Any business could benefit from thinking more creatively.
  12. Harmony – Diversity and Gender Fluidity – Do employees know how to interact with people that are different from them? We don’t all need to agree, but we do need to find a way to understand and respect our differences.
  13. Trust – Developing an environment of trust is so important to a company or brand’s future. Whether between employees, employees and management, or the company and their customers/ potential customers, focusing on building trust will increase brand loyalty, attract the best talent, and pay off in the long run.
  14. Customer Experience – Customer service is no longer king… it’s the customer experience. What do customers experience from the moment they learn about a company, throughout the sales process, and well past the close? How can it be improved?
  15. Culture – Corporate culture has become a popular buzzword for companies and organizations. Focusing on this at a conference can help ensure that everyone is on the same page with their attitude, goals, and behaviors.
  16. Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy – Employees’ and customers’ expectations have changed. The job of a company has spread beyond providing a service or product. It now includes providing a benefit to the community.
  17. Storytelling – Whether the bulk of your audience is in sales, leadership, or customer service… or they just need to communicate with fellow human beings, storytelling skills can improve their performance and help them create an emotional connection with anyone they speak to.
  18. Working with Difficult People – It would be lovely if everyone got along… but that’s just not a reality. Employees could benefit strongly from learning techniques to deal with challenging people in the office and in the field.  
  19. Teamwork – Are employees working together for the good of the organization, or have they gone rogue? Employees that function as a team unit rather than being isolated from the group, are happier, healthier, more productive, and more likely to stay loyal to the company.
  20. Performance – With the proper motivation and education, employees will perform better and be more satisfied at work. And the company will see an improvement in the bottom line.

Related: How to Host a Knock-Out Sales Conference

How to Come Up With Conference Theme Ideas

Hopefully, some of the above ideas have gotten you thinking. If you’d like to stick with one of the trending themes, but perhaps you’d also like to add some zest to the event, here are a few ideas you can use to develop a theme that wows.

Who Is It For?

Consider the industry. There’s nothing worse than walking into a party wearing the same outfit as someone else… so don’t plan the same event as someone else. Do your research and figure out what themes similar companies or organizations are using and then do something different.

Take your attendees into account. Not every theme is a good fit for everyone. Think about who will be coming to the event. Are they generally male or female? A specific age range? Do they all have similar job responsibilities? Tailor your theme ideas to the specific people who attend and it will be more likely to appeal to them.

What do the attendees need to learn? If the organization is going through a massive shift, perhaps focusing on reinvention or resilience would benefit the attendees.  If sales have been low, maybe a focus on marketing, communication, or customer experience would be helpful.

Where Will It Be?

What city or state will be hosting? Certain locations like Las Vegas, Miami, or Houston have their own personality. Factor that into your thematic planning and create a unique experience for attendees.

Which venue have you chosen? Consider the decor of the event space. Is it rustic? Modern? Nature inspired? This could help you uncover the perfect theme.    

Dare to Be Different

Step up your theme. Perhaps one of the trending themes really caught your eye. How can you make it special?

  • If your focus is Teamwork, you could create a rock and roll themed event that inspires employees to work together as a band rather than as solo artists.  
  • If your theme is Sustainability, why not bring the outdoors inside with a beach, jungle, or woodsy feel?
  • When the theme is Storytelling, you could pay homage to the greatest stories of childhood and create a fairytale event.
  • Looking to improve the Health and Wellness of attendees? You could create a Zen-themed event complete with meditation stations, yoga classes, and a rock garden for attendees to stroll through.
  • If your focus is on improving Creativity, you could create an art museum themed event or turn the venue into a Lego playland that encourages attendees to experiment and build.
  • Focusing on Diversity? What about a celebration of the world’s cultures?
  • If your theme is Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy, why not center your event around a cause and show attendees how they can get involved?

You want your event to be a rousing success. While there are many details that go into making this a reality, choosing the theme is one of the most important decisions you will make. Select a theme that’s appropriate for the industry and the attendees and the organization’s current climate, and then throw in some creativity to spice it up and make it an event that attendees will never forget.

You’ve just been given the green light. Next year’s sales conference is your responsibility. You’re excited, of course. After all, you’ve attended sales conferences for years and had amazing ideas on how to improve them. However, you’re a tad bit nervous as well. You’ve got all of these ideas… but will the attendees like them? Will your higher-ups be pleased with the event you put together?

You want your attendees to be speaking about this conference for years to come. You want your sales team to learn how to kick their sales into high gear. And, you want to do all of this while looking like a rockstar.

Book a marvelous motivational speaker for your sales conference now >>

Sales Conference Planning: How Do I Host an Annual Sales Conference?

An annual sales conference is an entirely different animal from other events you may have planned in the past. Why? Because all of those events had a very specific and immediate goal. Have fun, recognize someone for their achievement, join people together… whether the event was a success or not, the rest of their lives were probably not affected.

A sales conference, on the other hand, needs to create lasting change for the attendees. Employees that attend these conferences should be entertained, inspired, educated, motivated, and given actionable takeaways that will improve their role in your company and possibly even their lives.

Taking a logical approach to the planning can help take some of the anxiety out of the process. You’ll need to decide on the following:

Budget

Very few event planners are given an unlimited budget. Speak to whoever is footing the bill for this conference and find out how much you’ve got to spend and if there’s any leeway with that amount. Do you have to run your decisions through a committee, get approval from a higher up, or is your say is enough?

Date

You’ll need at least a one year lead time to secure the venue and the speakers that you want for your event. Ideally, you’ll have more time than that. If you gamble with planning a conference in less than 12 months, you may find that the venue you want, or the speakers you’d like to have, are no longer available.

Location

Do you want your employees to travel to a new city or state for the conference or do you prefer that they stay close to the office? There are benefits to having a conference in another city (change of environment could assist with a change in mindset, having to stay in a hotel and not go “home” at night may create relationships and foster a team building atmosphere). However, there are also drawbacks (travel costs and time).

Venue

Your venue choice will depend on whether your attendees will have to travel. If they are leaving their home area, you’ll need to find a venue that also offers lodging or you’ll need to secure a hotel and possibly transportation to and from it.

Food

There’s a good likelihood that the venue will supply food. Discuss this with your contact and decide on a menu well in advance. Keep in mind that there are a number of dietary restrictions that may concern your attendees such as vegetarian or vegan, gluten-free, Kosher, and allergies.

Agenda

Will you be providing entertainment at night, or are conference attendees on their own once the educational day is over? Make sure you factor in plenty of break time. People need to step out, get air, have a snack, and clear their heads in between sessions. Plus, the best networking happens during these times.

Entertainment/Speakers

The speakers you hire will be determined by your goals for the conference. Are you looking to motivate your staff and get them fired up to return to work, or are your goals more focused on introducing new products, training them in specific areas, or teaching them sales techniques?

Publicize

A conference without any attendees isn’t very exciting. Invites can be sent out through email blasts, social media, etc. Many keynote speakers will even create a short video for you to send out to your employees getting them excited about the upcoming event. Remember that you need to share the benefits your attendees will receive.

Evaluate

Provide surveys to all employees to determine what they liked and what could be done better in the future. You may want to follow up with another survey in 3-6 months asking if they’ve implemented anything they learned. Whether you plan the next event or it gets handed off to someone else, this information will prove invaluable.

How Do You Have a Great Conference?

As you go through the planning process, put yourself in the attendees’ shoes. Some employees may have work that has to be done once the conference day is over while others will be concerned about the growing pile of work waiting for them when they return to the office. Either way, business doesn’t stop just because they are at a conference, so you need to make the event worthwhile for them.

How you judge “success” will ultimately come down to whether you’ve met your goals for the event. What do you want your salespeople to get out of the experience? Did you want to renew their excitement for the company and their role in it? Or did you want them to have steps they could take the moment they got back to the office?

Sales Conference Ideas That Will Make Your Event Stand Out

You want this conference to be one that employees remember for years to come. Here are a few ways to help make it an event to remember for all of the attendees.

1. Celebrate Your Successes

Your employees are your greatest assets and should be acknowledged for the hard work they do. Consider sharing stories of employees that have gone above and beyond for customers, hit (and blown past) sales goals, assisted fellow team members, or otherwise performed like business rockstars.

2. Foster Teamwork

Having your entire sales team in one room as a captive audience presents an opportunity to build teams and strengthen relationships. Consider hiring a team building speaker or finding a keynote speaker who can fulfill both roles.

3. Improve Their Skills

No matter where they are in their career, every salesperson could use some extra skills training. From communication to closing, every employee could stand to take their skills up a notch.

4. Clue Them into the Competition

It’s always helpful to know who else does what you do. Provide real-world examples of your competitors in action and provide ways that your team can set themselves apart and be heard above the market noise.

5. Hire a Unique Speaker

There are thousands of motivational speakers that could deliver a good presentation for your conference. And chances are they’d even teach your attendees a thing or two. However, if you truly want your conference to be unforgettable, you need a speaker who not only educates, but motivates, and creates long-lasting change for your team.

Planning a sales conference is a lot of work, but the payoff is enormous. When you put in the time and effort to choose the right speakers for your event, you’ll see rewards as your team uncovers their inner business rock stars.

You’ve hired some of the best and brightest employees in the industry. They are creative, capable, and great at working independently. Unfortunately, there’s no camaraderie in your office. Your employees are focused on getting their job done, not on helping the team—or the company as a whole—flourish.

You know how important teamwork is to the level of happiness and productivity at work. You know that the more your employees work together as a solid unit, the better it will be for everyone. You know that your employees are business rock stars… you just want them to perform more like a band than a room full of solo artists.

But how?

Fostering a strong team culture can help improve morale and productivity while limiting employee turnover, sick days, and that “case of the Mondays” that’s been following your team 5 days a week for months now. You’ll want to encourage your team members to get to know one another, trust one another, and respect one another. You can do that through team building activities.

Get a Team Building Speaker Who Puts on Great Events!

Corporate Team Building Activities That Actually Work

You want to create a strong team, but the idea of doing trust falls and singing “Kumbaya” just doesn’t appeal to you. Thankfully, there are a variety of team building activities that will have your employees excited to participate rather than glancing for the nearest Exit sign.

Related: Do Team Building Workshops Actually Make a Difference?

1. Commercials

Chances are that your employees have been working together for months, if not years, yet don’t know much about each other. This exercise will give them the opportunity to get to know one another.

Divide your team into sets of two and give each partner 2-5 minutes to interview the other about their childhood, experiences, hobbies, dreams, etc. Once each partner has had a chance to go, give them a few minutes to write up a commercial about their partner. Then, have each team come up and give a 1 minute commercial about each other.

2. Improv

A team that plays together, stays together. Break your employees into teams of 3-5 people and then assign them a situation to act out.

Your employees will have the opportunity to have fun supporting each other, and they’ll exercise their “quick thinking” muscles.

3. Half-Time Trivia

Pay attention to when your employees hit their lowest energy point of the day. Is it in the morning? In the afternoon? Incorporate Half-Time Trivia into your day to get them excited and working together.

Divide your staff into teams of 3-5 and ask them a trivia question. The first team to come up with the right answer receives the points. The team with the most points at the end of the week (or month) gets a prize.

4. Pictionary or Charades

Work environments can get stuffy and extremely serious. Get your employees feeling comfortable with one another and bonding by giving them the opportunity to act silly and have fun.

You don’t have to be a great artist or actor to benefit from these games. Encourage your employees to get on the same “wavelength” with their coworkers by playing a few rounds of Pictionary or Charades each week.

Divide your staff into two teams and designate one employee as the “artist” or the “actor” Give them an item to draw or act out while their teammates try to guess what they’re doing. Provide prizes for the winning teams.

6. Shark Tank

Encourage creativity and teamwork with a Shark Tank inspired game.

Divide your employees into teams of 2-4 people and give them a set period of time to create a new product. You can either give them well-known objects to repurpose or have them start from scratch and pure imagination.

Once they’ve created the products, they’ll have to identify the target market, price the items appropriately, and determine a marketing and distribution plan for their new venture.

They’ll present their products to staff, and you’ll judge their work based on creativity, presentation, and, most importantly, how well they worked together to create their product. You can even open the judging to votes from the other teams. Winners can receive a prize, or perhaps even a dinner for them to enjoy together.

7. Show and Tell

Chances are you’ve got some really interesting people working for you. Outside of work, many employees have interesting hobbies and intriguing stories and have traveled to fascinating destinations. Select a few people each week to bring in an interesting object from their life and tell the story behind it.

This not only provides a break during the day, it also allows your employees to get to know each other better and bond on shared interests or experiences.

8. Potluck Parties

Diversity is now the norm in business. You’ve likely got individuals from different cultural, racial, or religious backgrounds working together in one office. Instead of ignoring their differences in the name of political correctness, celebrate their unique heritages with food.

Throw a potluck party where each individual brings a dish from their culture to share with the group. Provide each employee with the opportunity to share information about their dish and perhaps a personal story from their childhood.

Keep in mind that there are a lot of food allergies and different diets these days. For safety purposes, make sure that each dish is labeled with all of the ingredients and any cooking methods that may be important.

9. Rock Band

Encourage your employees to find their true inner rock stars. Divide them into “bands” of 4-5 members and allow them to write their own songs that they can then perform for the group. They can use “instruments” they find around the office, or you might just discover that some of your employees have actual musical talent and would be willing to play their real instruments for the group.

This exercise gives employees the opportunity to get creative, learn more about one another, and showcase their musical talents while bonding.

Related: 7 Tips for Fostering the Rockstar Mindset in Business

9. Scavenger Hunts

Your employees probably spend enough time cooped up in a stuffy office. When the weather is nice, set up a scavenger hunt on your company’s property, or if you’ve got a few hours to dedicate to the game, you can extend the perimeter elsewhere in town.

Break your staff up into teams of 3-5 employees and then provide clues for them to track down the treasure. Supply prizes for the winners. This will get them thinking more creatively and working together as a team.

10. Volunteering

People love to help. Sometimes, they just don’t know how. Get your employees together to choose a cause that’s close to their hearts (you’ll want to rotate this throughout the year to please as many people as possible), and then give them a day each month or each quarter to volunteer as a team.

This can be anything from walking dogs at an animal shelter to packing lunches for the homeless or reading to children at the local school. Give your employees time to get involved in the community, and then provide the space for them to discuss the experience as a team.

The possibilities for team building activities are endless. Get creative and give your employees the time and the space to form tight-knit relationships with coworkers. Then sit back and watch morale and productivity soar.

You did your best to hire good people for your sales team. And for a while, they were excited, motivated, and producing. They’d approach you with any challenges they faced, bringing great ideas to the table, and your numbers looked amazing.

Lately, though, you’ve noticed some worrisome behaviors among your staff. They wander into work late and seem to be dragging themselves through the door. Sick days have increased, and you’re noticing more personal internet usage. You hear rumblings of gossip and dissatisfaction among the group, some even directed at you. There are petty squabbles between employees, and the fountain of innovative ideas that have been flowing freely for quite some time now appears to have dried up.

Then, there’s the bottom line. This lack of enthusiasm for the company has made it up the ranks, and your higher-ups are now seeing the negative results in your team’s profitability. A sales team with low motivation doesn’t just make work a less than pleasant place to be; it actually damages the company as a whole. Something has to change.

Don’t think that you’re alone. It’s not just your team facing this challenge. A recent Gallup poll showed that 70% of American workers are disengaged at their jobs.

So how do you ensure that your team is excited to come to work and doesn’t become part of this frightening statistic?

Build motivation, improve morale, and increase teamwork with team-building activities.

How to Motivate a Sales Team With Low Morale

Low motivation at the individual level will lead to low morale at the team level. When you look at the individual members of your staff, are they striving for success or satisfied with doing the bare minimum?

There are a number of factors that can contribute to low motivation in your sales team. These include:

Employees are not being challenged to grow

We no longer live in a time where an employee takes a job and works those specific tasks for the next 50 years. Employees want to grow. They want to learn new things, take on new responsibilities, develop themselves personally, and move upwards in a company. When they don’t have these opportunities, they feel stifled and anxious, and they’ll look elsewhere for work.

Expectations have not been clearly outlined, or employees are not properly trained

There is nothing more frustrating than wondering: What are my responsibilities? What goals must I reach? What are the benchmarks of my success? Actually, there is one thing that’s worse… knowing all of that but not being given the education or the tools to achieve it.

Employees have no say in their jobs

Not every employee is looking for power over someone else in the workplace, but most individuals would like to have autonomy over their own role and responsibilities. When employees are involved in the planning process and have the ability to make decisions, they’ll be more engaged.

How to Boost Sales Team Morale

Low morale can strike even the most forward-thinking, culture-centric workplaces. Maintaining a positive environment for your employees is an ongoing process, and sometimes good practices slip away and make room for challenges to arise.

If your sales team is unhappy and appears to be going through the motions, it’s important to understand what could be causing the problem. Here are a few possibilities:

There’s no faith in the leadership

If employees believe that leaders are just out for themselves, don’t have a clear idea of where they are guiding the company, or are inconsistent in their behaviors and interactions, trust will be eroded and morale will suffer.

Communication is not encouraged

If your staff doesn’t feel comfortable approaching you with challenges they’re experiencing with customers, procedures, management, or one another, they’ll find another outlet for their dissatisfaction. That could mean complaining to customers, or each other, or looking for new opportunities outside of your company.

Employees are being left in the dark

Change is the only constant, but if you aren’t letting your employees in on the changes happening within your company, they’ll be mistrustful, and may even jump to their own conclusions (which they then share with others).

How to Boost Sales Team Morale

Taking steps to boost morale in your sales team is one of the most important things you can do for the health of your organization. Here are a few ways to do it:

1. Encourage Social Time

Give your employees the opportunity to socialize with one another and encourage enjoyable experiences. This will not only bond your group together and encourage teamwork but will introduce an aspect of fun and liveliness into your team. Motivational speaker Marvelless Mark Kamp has fun and interactive team building programs to ensure that your employees stop performing like solo artists and start performing like a band.

2. Be Open and Honest with your Team

Often times, managers will plaster a fake smile on their face and pretend that everything in the company is perfect. Unfortunately, this doesn’t improve morale; it actually damages it. If there is something happening that you don’t agree with but can’t control, it’s okay to explain this to your team. You don’t have to bash anyone or anything; just explain that this is the current environment, and while it’s not necessarily the best thing in your eyes, you’ll need to make the most out of it for the good of the team.

3.  Recognize That Your Employees Have Personal Lives

While time spent at work should be time spent on work, your employees have families, friends, health problems, and other issues outside of the office that may occasionally interfere with their mood or energy level. Being understanding of your team’s personal lives will go a long way towards building loyalty and creating a happy staff.

4. Provide Time for Employees to Pursue Outside Interests

Your employees likely have philanthropic endeavors that they do during their time off (or wish they had more time off so they could do). Why not give them a set amount of hours each month or each quarter to volunteer or to dedicate their services to a worthy cause? Encourage them to work together on these projects, and you get the bonus of fostering teamwork.

Motivating a Sales Team Tips

While your sales team may not be motivated at the moment, all hope is not lost. There are a variety of practices that you can incorporate into your company today.

1. Be Clear About Your Company Mission

Why does your company exist? What problem is it solving in the marketplace, and how are your employees a part of this? The company mission isn’t just a few sentences decorating the lobby; it’s a guiding star that should dictate every decision that gets made.

In order for it to do this, you must share your mission with the employees and, most importantly, live it.

2. Set Clear Goals

What do you expect from your team members? Do they have sales goals that they have to reach or other KPIs that you are measuring them on? Be clear about exactly what your employees must achieve in order to “excel at their job.” Put this in writing and revisit it on a regular basis. Including them in the development process will also help to get their buy-in.

3. Provide the Necessary Training

Now that your employees know what they’re supposed to do, give them the training necessary to accomplish those goals. This may include one-on-one sales training or mentorship, access to business or personal development books, or bringing in a motivational speaker to shift their mindset. Marvelless Mark shares the wisdom of music’s greatest icons to help your employees unleash their inner rock stars.

4. Celebrate Accomplishments and Failures

Employees need to know that their hard work is valued and their contribution lifts the entire team up. Celebrate not just the ideas that panned out but also the attempts that blew up in their faces. Why? Because innovation and risk breed amazing rewards and help employees feel like they can step outside their comfort zone and still be appreciated.

Low morale and motivation can be a dangerous virus that spreads throughout your team and organization. Thankfully, by taking the right steps now, you can improve how your employees view their jobs and what they bring to the table each day.

You’ve always been conscious of the term “employee engagement,” but it wasn’t until you started noticing some unsettling behaviors at work that you really started to take notice.

You hired rock stars… wonderful employees with high skill levels, positive attitudes, and excitement to excel. Unfortunately, they are no longer performing at the level you expect. Team members that used to show up bright and early for work, eager to start the day are now shuffling into the office late (without so much as a homestretch hustle). Whereas your requests used to be met with excited head nods, the response is now a low grunt followed by a cloaked eye roll. There used to be an energy of excitement in the office and laughter could be heard from the hallways. Now, any laughing that occurs is usually due to a snarky complaint. Sick days have increased, productivity is low, and apathy is at an all-time high.

Even worse, you’ve walked over to a few employees just in time to see them minimize the job search website on their computer. You’re not alone. A Gallup poll showed that 32% of US employees are disengaged at work. That means that 1/3 of your staff would rather be somewhere else. Something has to be done before your already damaged team gets fractured.

Infuse some energy into your team and learn about
company culture with a motivational speaker.

Company Culture Drives Engagement

Wikipedia defines Company Culture (they call it Organizational Culture) as “values and behaviors that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of a business.” It includes the organization’s “vision, values, norms, systems, symbols, language, assumptions, environment, location, beliefs and habits.” Ideally, your organization’s culture is something that was discussed and fleshed out when the company began and then taught to each new team member during on-boarding.

While your employees will contribute to your company culture (or possibly work to destroy it), it’s important to understand that they do not drive culture. The responsibility falls on management to properly (and thoroughly) communicate and exhibit that culture for their employees. When this is done, employees will have a positive attitude, be more capable of solving problems with creative thinking, be excited to learn and grow within your organization, exceed their performance goals, and contribute to a positive work environment.

Why?

Because they will understand the company’s mission and be excited to be a part of it. These employees will be engaged and motivated to be the best employees they can be.

Related: How to Boost Sales Team Morale and Motivation

How to Create a Culture of Employee Engagement

You can’t control the company as a whole, but you can make sure that your team is happy, healthy, and productive. Here are a few steps you can take to make the most out of your team.

1) Dedicate time and resources to training

Have you ever been hired for a new position and been “thrown to the wolves,” forced to perform before you knew exactly what your job entailed? This can leave any employee frustrated, frightened, and resentful. Or perhaps you’d been working a job for a while when changes were instituted… yet never fully explained.

A lack of training will not only show up in your bottom line, but it will also appear on the faces of your unsatisfied employees. When you ensure that employees are properly trained (at every stage) and motivated, they’ll be happier and so will the higher-ups.

2) Create individual and team goals

Almost as bad as not knowing how to do your job is not knowing what “success” means to management. What are the expectations that you put on your staff? If you don’t clearly outline their individual sales goals (plus any customer service goals or other KPIs), your employees will have nothing to shoot for and won’t know if they’ve hit the mark.

On the other hand, team sales goals will enable you to create a culture of teamwork, support, and personal responsibility. Each employee must know they contribute to the whole and have the ability to ask for (and receive) help when they are unable to meet those goals. Imagine your staff working together to bolster one another to ensure that team goals are met.

3) Give thanks

Your team is working hard (Even if they aren’t, they likely believe that they are).

Think about your home life. If your spouse nags about taking out the trash or having dinner ready, are you eager to help them out? Probably not. But, if they thank you for the little behaviors, are you more likely to do more of those? Absolutely!

Showing appreciation for their hard work is positive reinforcement. When you acknowledge the employees that are already working at the best of their abilities, they will feel cared for and encouraged to keep working their tails off. When you thank the “less than stellar” employees for their contributions, they’ll be inspired to contribute more.

Foster an environment of celebration rather than one of punishment. Just about everyone likes being acknowledged for their work, and EVERYONE loves to feel appreciated. You can do this through verbal praise, bonuses for a job well done (whether monetary or token gifts), and celebrations when goals are met and exceeded. You’ll be amazed how far a simple “Thank you” will go.

4) Encourage growth

The days of securing a position and working that job for the next 40 years are over. Employees today (especially the millennial set) want to increase their knowledge base, strengthen their skills, learn, grow, and move up the ladder in their company. If they don’t have the opportunity to do so, you’ll soon be reading their resignation letter.

Provide employees with the resources they need to develop themselves personally and professionally. Offer training programs, allow them to shadow other departments, give them opportunities for promotion, bring in motivational speakers to inspire them and shift their mindset, and most importantly… encourage and support them when it’s time for them to move on to something new. If employees feel trapped, their performance and attitude will suffer. If employees feel free to grow, they’ll do their absolute best for you and move on when the role has run its course (rather than sticking around to poison the work environment).

5) Avoid Helicopter-Managing

Like the overprotective mother on the playground, if you don’t allow your employees to make their own decisions and learn from their mistakes, they won’t grow, and they’ll resent you. Unlike in parenting, your employees have the option to just leave. If they choose to stay, morale will be damaged and employee engagement will plummet.

Micromanaging sends a message to your employees that you don’t trust them and deem them incapable of doing the job you hired them to do. Sure, sometimes employees need to be reigned in and retrained, but you must give them the freedom to do their work their way.

Employee Engagement Strategies

Now that you understand how to improve the company culture within your organization (or at least within your team), how does this translate into improved employee engagement? There are a number of strategies that you can use to create a more engaged team, such as:

1. Diagnose the problem

Have you ever gone to the doctor and had her prescribe something before you told her what the problem was? Probably not (and if so, find a new doctor ASAP!).

The reason this doesn’t happen is that before you can ever create an employee engagement strategy for your team, you need to find out what is and isn’t working. While you may spend most of your waking hours with these individuals, they may not be comfortable expressing their challenges to your face.

Before you park yourself in front of the whiteboard to devise a strategy or prescribe a remedy, you’ll need to figure out what’s wrong. Create an anonymous employee engagement survey that asks team members to share their feelings towards the company, score how happy they are in their jobs, explain what (in their opinion) does and doesn’t work, etc.

2. Do something about it

You probably think this goes without saying, but how many times have employees been asked to take surveys and had absolutely nothing result from them? Being asked to give your opinion and then not having it taken into account may be worse than never being asked at all.

Take a good hard look at the results (and brace yourself, for they may be a bit painful to see). Figure out the two or three biggest challenges standing between your team and maximum employee engagement and then ask them for solutions. Bring your team together and announce that you recognize the problems they’ve disclosed (and take responsibility for them if appropriate). Ask them to help you brainstorm some ideas to solve those problems and create a more positive work environment. The more employees are allowed to contribute to policy and to change, the more attached they’ll be to the outcome. Whereas you may be tempted to throw a monthly pizza party at your employees and call it a day, they may have some creative workarounds that will solve organizational problems at the team level.

3. Be creative… and reasonable

As a sales team manager, you likely don’t have control over how the company is run. You have limited power to make changes within your department. Sure, these ideas will hopefully spread if they work with your employees, but that’s not something you can guarantee.

Be creative in how you handle the challenges presented, and don’t over promise if it’s something that must be approved by upper management. For example, let’s say that the problem has been diagnosed as a parking frustration. Your company has grown so large that employees are unable to park anywhere near the building. They have a hefty walk to the doors that leaves them exhausted and frequently late for work. Even worse, they may have to park in an offsite facility and rely on a bus or shuttle to reach the building. They are tired, sweaty in the summer, and frozen in the winter, and in order to be on time, they need to pad their commute with an extra 45 minutes.

You should probably be surprised if they aren’t disengaged.

You can’t do anything about the parking situation, but what can you do? Can you offer employees the opportunity to work from home some days? Can you give them a 10-15 minute leeway to arrive at their desks? Can you provide them with a break first thing in the morning (that doesn’t affect their other breaks) so they can freshen up before starting their day?

Use your imagination and show your team that you are looking out for their best interests.

4. Follow through

You’ve diagnosed the problem, invited your team to provide input on solutions, and gotten creative. Now it’s time to do what you say you’ll do. If an initial idea doesn’t pan out, do something else. Don’t just let the issue drop, or your employee engagement will be even lower than it was before.

Measuring Culture and Engagement

You’ve followed the steps above to improve your company culture and then to diagnose and cure the problems leading to low employee engagement. Now what? How do you measure this effort and ensure that your hard work was not for nothing?

1) Ask

Remember those surveys you sent out to identify the problems? They also serve as your baseline. Repeat the survey quarterly or even monthly and check in with your employees to see if they see and feel the difference.

2) Look around

It may seem simple, but you knew something was wrong with the team based on their everyday behaviors. Their attitudes were poor, their faces lost their light, and their productivity was low. Do they seem happier? Has laughter returned to the office? Are their numbers better? Pay attention to what’s happening in the office, and you’ll know very quickly whether your engagement plan has been successful.

3) Remain vigilant

Employee engagement isn’t a “one and done” strategy. Keeping your employees happy must be an ongoing priority. Work closely with employees to maintain that positive environment and when something goes awry, address it quickly rather than letting it spiral out of control.

Ensuring that your company culture is at its best and that your employees are fully engaged in their roles will create a healthier, happier work environment. Your productivity will be higher, your sales will soar, and your employees will actually enjoy coming to work. They’ll become the business rock stars you know they can be. Who can ask for more?