6 Tips to Keep your Blue-Collar Sales Teams Motivated in FMCG during Pandemic Times

July 24, 2021 at 3:29 PM

The COVID-19 outbreak taught us how quickly things can change, and it made a huge impact on the ways of working, as well as the level and type of support our employees, customers and colleagues need from us. Generally, all the functions of organization has to adopt to remote working infrastructure at a rapid pace, ensuring that work from home also can do so. It is evident that many were successful, while others are still taking measures to overcome. During the pandemic, each industry reacted differently, but the first aspect that brought many salespeople down was their own motivation. Consumers found they had excellent objections like “there is a crisis”, “coronavirus”, or “now is not a good time to shop”. It could take just a few such negative responses in a row for a salesperson to lose all their motivation. 

When it comes to the FMCG industry in Sri- Lanka, which considered as a General Trade dominant market (80%-85%) , is predominantly depending on their large Sales force who are scattered across the island visiting each and every retail store and having face to face conversations with the retailer about their sales orders. During a pandemic time when shops are requested to close and when travel restrictions are imposed, these boots on the ground are heavily impacted and their motivation levels collapses drastically. Therefore, the main responsibility of business leaders, sales heads etc would be to motivate their Sales team while navigating their business to achieve bottom line. 

As Forbes highlights, following 6 Tips can support Sales Heads to boost motivation level of their Sales Engines. 


  • Set Realistic and Measurable Goals considering the Pandemic

Our sales team is much more likely to remain focused when it has clearly defined goals. To be effective, goals need to be reasonable and measurable and it must be well redefined by considering the true protentional which has impacted due to the pandemic. Vague, intangible goals do little to push your team forward, not only it demotivates them but the negative vibe they generate impacts on the entire sales force. 

Additionally, Sales Objectives can capture and keep the attention of employees when there is some form of incentive attached. Incentives do not always need to be monetary. If the money is not there yet for meaningful gifts for the family, sales vouchers, recognition awards can boost their energy. We should not forget the fact that, when these sales force decides to step on to the field not only, they risk their lives but also risk the lives of their families as well. Therefore, such commitments should be well appreciated. 


  • Keep coaching and providing them learnings 

Nowadays, sales tactics are constantly evolving as companies blend traditional sales techniques with online selling. Sales force also need to modify their approach as consumer trends fluctuate or the target audience changes. The need to adapt and evolve has never been greater.

There are any number of low-cost, virtual sales programs introduced by Educational Institutes in Sri-Lanka to sharpen sales skills . If the cost of classes for everyone is beyond the budget, companies could consider holding virtual sales workshops in-house using their Management. 


  • Search for Opportunities to Automate

There can be some of your sales processes that could be automated. Eliminating tedious and repetitive tasks associated with sales allows your team to focus on closing sales calls and provides a boost to morale. Automation also works even when your team is off duty, laying the groundwork for them to hit the ground running upon their return next day. 

For example, well updated customer relationship management software they use, can automatically record and update customer data and the details of an engagement during the sales call. To prep for next day sales calls and meetings, sales reps can pull a customer, retailer data and get all the information they need with just a few clicks.


  • Have Compassion towards your Customers

Authentic connection with retailers and customers has always been a vital part of sales success, but it will be even more important in 2021. The Covid-19 pandemic shakes a lot of apple carts and continues to cause problems for just about everyone. People are likely to be more hesitant to make financial commitments as they recover. A successful sales team will incorporate this reality into their approach by demonstrating empathy.

In 2021, it will be critical that sales reps make a concerted effort to put themselves into the shoes of the people they are trying to make the sales call (Retailer etc.) This requires active listening instead of silently rehearsing what they plan to say whenever the prospect stops talking. Our salespeople will need to respond to actual concerns with personalized answers instead of twittering back a scripted sales pitch.


  • Celebrate the Small Wins

Team morale helps boost sales in addition to office spirit. Encourage your team to stay motivated by celebrating big and small wins. Friendly competition can also be a good thing — as long as it stays friendly. 

Go ahead and start some low-stakes sales competitions to keep your sales team energized. Just make it clear that seeking to win by undercutting other employees will not be tolerated.


  • Connect Outside of the Work Environment

Spearhead greater connection among employees by organizing team activities away from the office. If the Covid gathering rules are relaxed by government then take the team out for a small chit chat. Whatever you choose, the point is to get your people together in an environment that is not associated with work.

Keep in mind that many are still dealing with the stress factors of Covid-19. After-hours activities are fine if you do not convey an expectation that attendance is mandatory. Offer up something safe and fun but be sensitive to everyone’s varying level of comfort.

About the Author 

Chathura Ganegoda (BSc (USJP), MCIM (UK), MBA(UOC))

Chathura is a Sales and Marketing professional (over 10 years of experience) with a background in Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science. He is an experienced Professional in Global E-commerce & Strategic Partnerships, Marketing, Modern Retail & currently pursuing his career in the capacity of a Head of Customer Development Excellence for a multinational organization.

Chathura possess his master’s degree in Business Administration from University of Colombo & Bachelor’s degree from University of Sri-Jayewardenepura, while securing his marketing knowledge from (CIM) Charted Institute of Marketing UK.
LinkedIn – @Chathura Ganegoda

Email – Chathura.d.ganegoda@gmail.com

WhatsApp – 0777371229