You’ve probably trimmed all the fat out of your budget and let under-performers go. You thought you were retaining the best and brightest, but now you’re fighting disengagement of even your (previously) most reliable employees.

Consulting firm BlessingWhite found fewer than one in three employees (29 percent) are fully engaged and 19 percent are actually disengaged. Gallup asserts that, “In average organizations, the ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees is 1.5:1.” And the CEB says disengaged employees are putting forth even less “discretionary effort” —at least 53 percent less than they did a few years ago.

One area in which we see the serious consequences of disengagement is sales. Promotional Consultant Today shares these tips for engaging your valuable sales team.

Engagement Tip No. 1: Communicate Expectations and Provide Support. For example, work with your salespeople to establish prospecting targets for the quarter. (Make sure you have each salesperson’s complete buyin on targets set.) Then, help them build prospecting plans and follow up regularly with them to provide resources and support.

Engagement Tip No. 2: Reconnect with Existing Customers. Encourage your salespeople to go on courtesy calls, survey customers and end-users of your products or services, or otherwise engage with their existing accounts. It will give them real-time feedback about what’s working and what isn’t. Time invested with customers—even if they’re not buying right now—serves to reconnect them with the products or services they sell and the people they sell them to.

Engagement Tip No. 3: Put on the Positive Pressure. If you and your salesperson have agreed on targets for qualifying prospects, completed sales calls, closed business, etc., you should have a systematic method of holding them accountable for meeting those targets.

Engagement Tip No. 4: Reward Initiative and Innovation. The strongest performers actively seek improvement, and they expect it of themselves, their managers and their organizations. Help your salespeople set ambitious continuous improvement goals and reward them for trying new approaches. And remember, recognition for their ideas, being treated as experts at what they do, winning intra-office sales competitions and even serving as mentors for others, can be powerful motivators.

Ready for more business-forward tips? Read PCT tomorrow.