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Entrepreneurs Panel

Jennie Johnson
Julie Meyer
Steve Purdham
David Pollock
Brian Hay
Laura Tenison
Tony Caldeira
Charlie Mullins
Michael Oliver
Jeremy Roberts
Richard O'Sullivan
Debbie Pierce

Boosting morale

Steve Purdham

Has worked in the software industry for more than 25 years. Founded Surfcontrol in the early 80s and built it into a global provider of internet filtering software before it was sold to California-based Websense in 2007 for £201 million. Moved straight onto the launch of We7, an advertising-funded music download company supported by rock legend Peter Gabriel. We7 was relaunched in 2008 as an internet jukebox with 3.5 million songs which users can listen to for free. Purdham is hoping for user figures of two million in 2009.

Question: 

I run a small publishing company. Times have been hard in our sector but my sales team seem to be underperforming even compared to peer-group companies. How can I boost morale to improve performance?

Answer: 

First, ask yourself have you got the right sales people? Be aggressive with the answer: you will find that replacing one/some of your team will change the dynamics.

Secondly, if you just want to boost morale then start rewarding them for small achievements first, so they get used to “winning”.Small competitive things, like a bottle of Champagne for the first order of the day, £20 for the tenth meeting this week, make a big fuss of the winner, make it fun BUT make it achievable and make the action something that moves the sales process forward, such as getting them to make more calls and/or getting more qualifications.Also make it visible – have the Champagne/£20/Red Letter Day there in front of them with the target and results so far – and celebrate all wins.

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