“Get into the trenches with the troops” | Outlook Business
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RA Chandroo


"Get into the trenches with the troops"
Philipe Haydon, CEO, Himalaya Drug Company, on motivating your sales force

Define a clear long-term goal: To motivate your sales force, it is vital to define a long-term goal that they can achieve together as a unified team. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to provide guidance and support in helping them achieve these goals. I continue to stay invested in the sales force and have regular town hall meetings with them.

Keep realistic sales targets: Keep sales targets for the year realistic and well-incentivised. Setting achievable sales targets helps rally the team better. This is not to say we don’t chase down big, audacious goals, but the path to achieving this must be very clearly mapped. Incentives play a big role in motivating people, but you also need to connect with the team at a personal level. At the end of the day, it cannot only be about money and sales targets. If the team is invested in the dream, the sales targets will follow.  

Show them a clear career path: You need to show them a path that goes from the grassroots to the top. This should be backed up by action, where the majority – if not all – upward promotions happen from within.The team needs to know that there are exciting possibilities open to those who perform consistently. I started off as a medical representative at Himalaya 36 years ago. If you have the skills, ability and determination, the sky is the limit.

Invest heavily in training: Don’t worry about losing staff to other companies. Organisations that care will train their employees no matter what. We invest heavily in training our sales team and have a comprehensive learning and development programme to ensure continuous skill development. The learning starts with an intensive induction programme on day 1 and continues throughout their careers.

Lead from the front: Get into the trenches with the troops – the impact is beyond expectation. This is one principle that is very close to my heart. Unless you get your hands dirty, you’re never going to truly understand the challenge of the sales team or offer creative solutions. Besides, when you’re out there with the team, it’s a great opportunity to build unity and a family spirit.

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