How to Create Urgency on Your Sales Team

By Chris O’Connor, Head of Sales Development at Ambition

People often compare sales reps with professional athletes. Their competitiveness, work ethic and drive to succeed correlate strongly. And why wouldn’t they? Everyone loves a hustler. 

Like athletes, sales professionals hit a wall now and again. Perhaps they are overworked, bored or feel as though they are simply going through the motions. Creating and maintaining urgency within teams can prove challenging for sales leaders.

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So, why is it necessary for your sales team?

There are many reasons why creating urgency can be advantageous for your sales team. A sense of urgency is critical to your reps’ success and can directly affect your team’s ability to meet its quota. Let’s discuss a few of the most impactful benefits. 

Helps reps maintain focus – For many of us, maintaining focus – especially when working from home – has become a challenge. However, a lack of focus doesn’t mean we are lazy or unmotivated. The issue might be the opposite — that we are struggling to manage our time correctly. Sales reps are tasked with managing multiple clients, moving them through the sales funnel and still meeting the company’s goals and objectives. With all these moving parts, losing track of even urgent tasks is unsurprising. When you create a sense of urgency around the right activities and objectives, your team members know where to allocate their time.

Keeps deals moving As a sales rep, keeping deals alive is one of the most stressful parts of the job. On one hand, some prospects may be slow-moving in closing a deal, and on the other, some prospects just want to get the deal closed quickly and move on. If sales reps don’t feel the sense of urgency or care whether a deal gets done this week or next week, your potential buyers will also feel that kind of indifference.

Keeps engagement and energy high As sales managers, we often try to keep sales fun for our reps and create a great work environment. Therefore, adding urgency to your team can have a significant impact on culture. When you create the best type of work environment, you’ll see a considerable decrease in burnout and boredom with your reps and, eventually, a lower turnover rate and a more effective sales team. 

Three ways to add a sense of urgency to your sales team

We’ve already discussed why creating urgency on your sales team is important. But let’s get into how exactly to do so.

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Establish S.M.A.R.T. goals

Setting strategic and data-driven goals is essential to your team’s ability to do its job well. With the S.M.A.R.T. goal framework (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely), reps can clarify their ideas, focus on their efforts and use their time and resources more productively. Additionally, the goals give them the ability and confidence to move forward quickly and efficiently. 

Make sales competitive

Adding a healthy dose of competition does wonders by improving a sales rep’s morale and can help to continually motivate teams. But sales gamification goes beyond simply infusing some fun into the work culture. Gamification has been shown to boost employee engagement and tangibly increase conversion rates. According to a TalentLMS survey of 900 employees, nearly nine out of 10 people said when a task at work is gamified, they feel competitive and more eager to complete it. 

Another way sales leaders can ignite the competitive spirit of their sales reps is through sales contests. Sales contests are usually time-bound and oriented around specific vital metrics, which helps your sales reps move fast and keep them focused on the activities that matter most. 

Build in accountability

For sales managers, a delicate balance exists between being overbearing with your reps and holding your reps accountable. Being a “gotcha” manager, always looking to catch people off-guard can be bad for business and have a dramatic impact on your team’s culture. But you can keep your reps on their toes by incorporating accountability to goals daily and by holding coaching sessions and conducting performance reviews. 

There are a few ways to build accountability in your reps. One would be to schedule quick one-on-ones biweekly or monthly with your reps to check-in, see how they are doing and how their deals are progressing. The other would be to use triggers and alerts throughout the day to see how productive your reps are. For example, a sales manager could put together a “10 by 10” alert, where reps are expected to make 10 calls by 10 a.m., so when they exceed the goal, managers can get an automated notification alert through email or Slack. 

Creating urgency within your sales team is essential. If reps don’t feel any urgency to close a deal, then why would your prospects? As a sales manager, using these tips can build urgency on your team that will improve your reps’ productivity and your relationships with prospects.

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AmbitionChris O’ConnorGuestSales DevelopmentSales TeamUrgency