How to keep your sales team going full speed ahead

How to keep your sales team going full speed ahead

With the current state of the world it is extremely difficult to stay motivated – even the most driven people struggle.

Staying motivated to achieve sales targets in any climate can be taxing. Managers and supervisors can get frustrated and use methods of motivation that may be detrimental rather than effective, such as negative reinforcement. I personally do not respond positively to negative reinforcement and having managed a small sales team for a few years, neither did they.

A great demonstration of this is shown in a Netflix series called 100 humans that experimented with this theory in an episode named Pain versus Pleasure. This episode centers around how humans respond to criticism versus praise, and which works better.


Criticism and praise

The participants are tasked with spinning plates on a stick, and there are two rounds. In the first round, participants are either criticized or praised for their performance, regardless of how well they perform. The results from this round show that individuals that performed exceptionally well but were criticized, lost confidence, and performed poorly in the second round. Whereas the participants that performed poorly in the first round but were praised excelled in the second round. This experiment proves that despite the performances, positive reinforcement was more successful in motivating the participants than negative reinforcement.


Tried and tested methods

It can be frustrating to keep everyone motivated under normal circumstances, let alone during a pandemic, primarily when targets are not being met. Here are a few examples on what I have used in the past and my tips on what keeps me enthusiastic to reach or exceed my sales goals.

  • Praise for small wins – I received praise by a simple phone call from my COO for a closed deal from a personal sales lead. Even though it was a small order, it showed that every bit of my effort was appreciated and drove me to close an even bigger deal. This can be used at every level to reassure your team that their hard work does not go unnoticed.
  • Tiered targets – Having a target for a set timeline. I have used a 3-tier quarterly incentive approach with a large bonus for the top salesperson, a local holiday trip for the second tier, and a valuable prize, such as a laptop for the 3rd tier prize.
  • Performance based commission structure – Not only do you reward your sales team fairly, but it also drives under-performing sales team members to thrive especially when their colleagues are receiving higher commissions. It also instills a level of healthy competition within the team.


Innovation and creativity

However challenging this period may be for your sales teams, innovation and creativity needs to be a massive part of your motivation strategy. Having regular check-ins and listening to your team’s suggestions on what motivates them is vital. The most important thing is to try and test various methods with your team to find out what works, whether it’s a pat on the back or something more tangible.

I believe that it goes without saying that if you take care of your employees, they will take care of your business.


How Effective Is Email Marketing In 2020?

How Effective Is Email Marketing In 2020?

In modern times, it seems like social media is taking over and becoming one of the most popular and most used forms of marketing.  But in fact, email marketing is up to 40 times more effective than social media. Social media gets filtered, which causes content to not reach all social media users.  The buying process is also said to happen 3 times faster with email marketing.

“Just look at sites like Amazon, one way they continually get you to buy more products from them is by emailing you offers on a regular basis.”

Neil Patel – Co-Founder of KISSmetrics

Does email marketing still work?

Yes it definitely still works.  Email marketing still remains a very effective marketing method to use, for attracting and keeping customers.  Based on surveys conducted, it is noticeable that 91% of internet users access their email account at least once a day.  Most people would also rather receive business information via email.

Email marketing should definitely be considered as a tool to be used by businesses in their digital marketing strategy.  The content you use needs to be relevant.  Your company can get more sales and even more customers through using this marketing method.  Rather focus on quality over quantity

Email marketing allows you to perform A/B tests, it enables you to target your audience and  communicate with a more personalized approach.  By sending an email weekly or monthly, you can increase company awareness and attract more attention.


So how would you do this?

By allowing users to interact without having to leave the email.  You can accomplish this by using interactive content, questionnaires, games, quizzes etc.  It will allow the users to be more engaged with your brand.

You can make the process of buying even faster, which will boost sales as well.  Achieve this by giving your client the ability to make a purchase within the email.

There are excellent email marketing tools available that can be used to help and guide you to creating successful campaigns.

Find yourself an emailing software that uses tools in email campaigns, such as:

  • Reporting
  • Mailing list management
  • Analytic tools
  • Auto responders

Your subject line must grab the readers’ attention.  If you can catch their attention that way, they are more likely to open your email.

Go through your own emails, look at the email subjects that you opened and the ones that you did not open.  Why did those attract enough attention for you to open them?  Adding numbers to the subject line, “5 Ways to boost your sales”, “How to increase your reach by 400%”.


You need to plan your email marketing carefully

Because of the fact, that promotional emails are seen in the same light as spam, it would be beneficial if you personalize your email campaigns more.  Making your email interesting is important as well.  This will help you to catch the reader’s attention.


Ideas to use in your email:

  • Use interactive navigation bars
  • Polls inside an email
  • Rotating carousel of product photos
  • Enable customers to place their order via an email
  • News feed
  • Use emails as a feedback mechanism

It is important to reduce the number of emails you send. To avoid your email address being listed as spam, try not to bombard your audience with too many emails.


What lies in the future for email marketing?

It has been estimated that by the year 2023, there will be around 4.3 billion global email users, according to Statista and it is forecasted to grow at 19.60% from 2017 to 2025.

Email programs will become more and more personalized and more interactive.  With today’s technology it is possible for a business owner, to setup a questionnaire in minutes and to send it out via email marketing.

As we see a growth in the use of smartphones, we see an increase in email usage as well.  It has become so easy to quickly access your email account while on the go, in your lunch break, while cooking dinner, while standing in a queue.  You do not wait to be behind your computer to have access to your emails anymore.  And as user experience becomes better and better, consumers are more likely to use their mobile phones rather than using a computer.


So, are successful email campaigns still possible?

Yes definitely!  89% of marketers consider their email marketing successful.  Use some killer content, throw in some personalization, and you can easily create a really successful email campaign.


The beautiful Chaos that is Christmas in a Portuguese household

The beautiful Chaos that is Christmas in a Portuguese household

The countdown has begun…

Tis the season to be jolly tralala lala la… its ok you can go ahead and hum that carol along with me, with only 6 days left until Christmas.  The stores are all decked out with Christmas décor – it is official!

Like with any major festive event you have those individuals who get super excited to celebrate the season and have already done or prepped for their Christmas Shopping, have their Christmas décor out and are ready to immaculately decorate their home, they have carols playing in their cars and home and are utterly joyful leading up to the festive season.  Then you get those individuals that are less phased by the twinkling lights and festivities and end up quickly putting up a small Christmas tree a couple of days before Christmas as a result of some peer pressure. Irrespective of which side of the spectrum you’re on, one can’t help but admit that Christmas is a special time.  Christmas for me and my family has always been special not so much because of the ideas of getting gifts and going on holiday but because of the traditions that have been passed down, from a cultural and family perspective.

Going back to my Childhood

For many Portuguese families, Christmas eve is the Highlight of Christmas. Many of us being Catholic going to church for Midnight mass is almost an unspoken rule. I personally have had bittersweet feelings about this tradition. I have had moments where I highly disliked this tradition especially in the moments when I was struggling to stay awake during the long Portuguese celebrated masses that just went onnnnn and onnnn in my young adult life. But this tradition has also been the cornerstone of some of my fondest childhood memories.

Because my parents both work such long hours in the shop, early Christmas eve would be when our Christmas tree would come out, my mom would get home and start making a hearty chicken soup for us to eat before we left for church while my dad and older brother would sit with me and help decorate the Christmas tree, then we would bath and put our Sunday’s finest on, have supper as a family which was often not possible and rush off to church because in-between that someone had fallen asleep and we ended up running late. The Church would have this beautiful nativity made up that would have a baby Jesus displayed only from the start of mass that always fascinated me – an external representation of the true spiritual meaning of Christmas. After mass family friends would gather and exchange greetings and we would end up going to someone’s house to have us kids open our presents and play until early hours of the morning.

A few hours later we would gather at someone’s house for a chaotic lunch and the moms would be cooking up a storm of a meal they have been prepping for weeks and exchanging stories, the dads would be playing cards, getting into heated debates about who actually won and telling their jokes and stories from Madeira while munching on Portuguese delicacies they had driven to Rio Douro (which is a madhouse over Christmas) to go buy  and us kids would be playing and being carefree, enjoying the sweet smell of the cakes mom had made that morning lingering in the air – just joy all round, set in motion by Christmas Midnight Mass.

Christmas 2019

Over the years it’s been hard to keep some of these traditions, life changes, people through different life phases, families can’t always be together due to distance or obligations with new family members, etc. This year, I felt a strong need to bring back some of those traditions since it will be my first Christmas as a mom. I want my son to start experiencing the special, beautiful chaos that is a Portuguese Christmas, so I have said to our family members the gift we want this year is the gift of their time – the greatest gift you can really give and so Christmas Lunch will be at our house this year.

I am so excited to go to Midnight Mass and start the Christmas celebrations with a age old religious tradition that means so much me, to cook up a storm for my family, although I have handed over the baking duties to the talented ladies around me (I would not want to punish anyone with my baking – that would defeat the purpose.)  to having mom and mom in law spoil my son with attention and have my sister in law help in the Kitchen, to have hubby run around pouring drinks for everyone and asking me for stuff while my mom loudly tells my dad to go help him and to have my little niece want to play with Coco (our dog) causing her to run all over the house in loud excitement,while my brother tries to catch her, to sending my brother in law to the shops to get something I forgot for a dish, in a mix of Portuguese and English all while wondering aloud where is Jose – he is late!  And finally, to have everyone come together over a meal and share memories, stories and laughter. Sjoe that was a mouthful, but that is the beautiful chaos of Christmas in our Portuguese Household.

A carefully planned road trip can lead to success

A carefully planned road trip can lead to success

A carefully planned road trip can lead to success


My journey as a Virtual Assistant has not been an uneventful road-trip without any potholes or road blocks.

When I started my journey as a Virtual Assistant, it was a means to an end.  A way of making money after having my job of 24 years pulled out from under me. It was a case of sitting in my vehicle and starting the engine and driving, occasionally stopping for fuel and then continuing my journey.  I have to say I was a cautious driver, never wanting to turn left onto the dirt road.

As with many a carefully thought out road-trip, one cannot take your eyes off the road. If you do, there are bound to be challenges and I have had my fair share on my journey.  There have been times when I have hit a major roadblock.  When my journey has come to a complete standstill and I have had to get out of my vehicle pop the hood and look inside to see what needs to be addressed.  In some instances, it has been a case of topping up on my knowledge and my vehicle roars into life again, and off I go.

There have been other times when I have not been so lucky and the road side assistance have questioned me, and made me take a long hard look at myself, this had led to lengthy delays while my vehicle has been up on blocks, until the engine is repaired and I am once again able to turn the key and start driving again.

You will know I am sure, that on any road-trip one stops on-route to have a break and recharge the batteries, whilst reflecting on your journey.  I have found that these breaks lead to a refreshed view on things.  It has been during these picnic breaks that I have taken decisions to drive along the dirt roads less travelled.  The dirt roads came with challenges for the cautious driver.  I had to negotiate twists and turns of acquiring new skills and working in unchartered working territories.  I do have to say though, that at the beginning of the left hand turn onto the dirt road, it took a while to enjoy this new found route of travel.  I have looked at the new scenery with a smile full of confidence and self-belief that anything is possible.

This journey has taught me to become a helpful traveller.  A few years ago I would have kept to myself and not shared my experience and knowledge with any other Virtual Assistants.  This has changed, thanks to my VA Connect mechanics.  They have always been at the road side to assist, whether it was a flat tyre, major overhaul service or just a picnic break.

My petrol gauge is on full and my vehicle is ready.  I wake up every-day looking forward to my journey, wondering what I will learn and how I will grow!

Thank you!


7 Reasons why it is good for a women to be her own boss

7 Reasons why it is good for a women to be her own boss


Internationally and in South Africa, every year we celebrate the amazing achievements of women and the progress we have made towards gender equality.  Women everywhere are recognised for their leadership, particularly in business.  Of course not everyone can be “Woman of the Year” but every women who is her own boss is a leader.

This year, the  United Nations encourages women to innovate, think equal and build smart.  Here is what the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, aims for:

“Let’s make sure women and girls can shape the policies, services and infrastructure that impact all our lives. And let’s support women and girls who are breaking down barriers to create a better world for everyone (”.

With encouragement like this, women are finding the freedom to be their own boss all over the world and embrace these ideals.   They empower themselves and are am example to other women and girls and free themselves to achieve.

But it’s easy to overlook this freedom if you only focus on the bottom line when running a business.


Free to choose!

Whether you are single, a wife or a mother, you can choose how your time is spent for a balanced life.  It doesn’t matter when, how long, or where you are working as long as you deliver.   You  are in control  You choose how to meet the challenges of running your business because the responsibility begins and ends with you.


Free to grow as a person!

As your own boss, you go from strength to strength by not relying on the approval of a boss.  You measure your success by what you achieve.    When things go right no one else takes the credit, you are the one who becomes more and more confident by being the boss.


Free to learn!

You learn every day that you manage your life, whether you realise this or not.  You can devote that little bit of extra time to learn how to improve whatever aspect of your life and work, whether it is related to running a business or not.


Free to earn!

There is no ceiling on your earning capacity nor that of your employees.  Unlike being employed at a set salary, when you have your own business there is no waiting and hoping for a tiny increase in your salary.


Free to create!

You don’t have to be the creative type to find better ways to do business, or how to make everyone’s work fun and rewarding.  As an entrepreneur you must and will innovate to solve problems, use new technologies, improve your service and create new products.


Free to give back!

When you hire staff you help fulfill their own hopes and dreams.  This is a perfect opportunity to create an amazing job and work environment for yourself and for others.  You are giving back to others as well as growing the economy.


Free to celebrate!

This year Women’s Day in South Africa focuses on focuses on celebrating the strength, beauty and love of all South African women.  As your own boss you are free to love what you do, and do the work you love.

You can be very, very proud of yourself and everything you do and celebrate your strength and entrepreneurial spirit, not only on women’s day but every day of the year.