Summer: the time for baseball, beach vacations, and ice cream. Unfortunately for sales managers, the good weather can cause a dip in productivity. It’s common to see B2B sales slow down during the summer months, which can take the motivation out the sales for your sales team, furthering a vicious cycle of underperformance.
But showing up at the office during July and August doesn’t need to be a major drag. Here are 10 tips for keeping your team motivated and ready to sell even when it’s sweltering outside.
1. Run a sales contest.
Sales representatives are competitive souls by nature, so competition is a great way to get your team re-motivated. You can run a contest that lasts for only an afternoon, or something that’s a little more extensive. As a rule of thumb, however, shorter contests tend to work better in the summer, as your team may find it a little harder to get invested in a month-long contest if they’re leaving for vacation next week.
Dividing contest participants into teams is a great way to build camaraderie and encourage socialization. This segmentation may also foster new professional and interpersonal dynamics among your sales reps that would otherwise not have the chance to blossom.
2. Give team members Friday afternoons off after weekly goals are met.
To offer a little extra motivation for meeting weekly goals, make a deal with your team: If they meet goals, they get to leave after noon on Friday. This can give them the extra push they need to make a few extra phone calls during the week. And the prospect of Friday afternoons off can make the workweek feel much more manageable.
3. Offer professional development (that’s actually exciting!)
Your team will probably be less busy during the summer, so it’s an ideal time to focus on professional development. However, make sure that the training is not boring. Save the Power Point lecture slides and tepid instructional videos. Instead, opt for these fun professional development ideas for summer:
- Send employees to a summer conference at an exciting location.
- Bring in a dynamic speaker who can re-ignite sales team’s excitement levels.
- Have the team engage in role-playing exercises and other interactive activities that have them up and moving.
- Pair professional development exercises with a fun activity such as food or a movie.
4. Let team members work from home for a day.
While many sales representatives will take a summer vacation, a day to work from home is a great way to allow team members to rejuvenate without taking any vacation time. Try establishing one day a month where everyone will work for home, or allow sales representatives to select their own work from home day. The prospect of being able to work from their pajamas will motivate your team—and allow them to return to work refreshed and ready to take on the challenges of sales.
5. Set realistic goals.
It’s not just your team that’s slowing down for the summer; other businesses are also slowing their pace. Many of your contacts will go on vacation and be more difficult to reach. Given these contingencies, you can’t expect sales representatives to close as many deals in July as in April.
Give team members goals that are realistic for the summer and encourage them to track their progress. Everyone likes meeting goals—even when it’s 100 degrees outside—but team members become discouraged when their targets are higher than is realistic for this time of year.
6. Allow your team to celebrate small wins.
Since you may not be closing as many big deals during the summer months, it’s more important than ever for your team to celebrate the smaller victories. Even something so small as scheduling a certain number of demos can warrant celebration.
Encourage your employees to share the small wins at weekly or even daily meetings. When employees see that their efforts are noticed and appreciated, they’re more motivated to get through the summer slog.
7. Go on the occasional ice cream run.
Ice cream is almost synonymous with summer, so why not let your team indulge every once in a while? Make weekly ice cream a summer tradition at your company. Every week, one team member gets to be in charge and choose where you’ll go for ice cream. Then, everyone can enjoy a cool treat together. Schedule ice cream days for Tuesdays or Wednesdays to help conquer those middle-of-the-week blues.
8. Have fun together outside of the office.
While some people roll their eyes at the mere mention of extracurricular outings, they really do work for bringing people together and building team spirit. The summer months offer a number of possibilities:
- Have a backyard barbecue at someone’s house.
- Go to an evening concert in the park.
- Enjoy a baseball game as a team.
- Host a department-wide pool party.
- Go to the racetrack together.
- Play a sporting event together, like softball or Ultimate Frisbee. The winning team earns an extra day of summer vacation.
9. Redecorate the office to make it a more pleasant place to work.
To alleviate the unpleasantness of being cooped up in a hot office, take a critical look at your working environment and take steps to improve it. Do you have adequate lighting and cooling throughout the office? Are there fresh plants and other decorations to spruce up your surroundings?
If your décor needs some work, ask employees to take an active role in redecorating. That gives them something fun to do and enables them to exercise ownership over the space.
10. Play hooky for a day and go to a movie.
Although you can plan a movie day, it’s especially exciting to play hooky for a day. For a really special summertime treat, surprise your employees with a movie day. To make it more exciting, employees vote on the movie. Once you’ve decided on a movie, get tickets to an afternoon showing. Then you get to kick back with popcorn in a comfortable, air-conditioned movie theatre.
The summer months will probably never be the peak of sales productivity. But by implementing these tips, your employees won’t dread the prospect of Monday morning.