Sales is core to many business objectives, helping companies gain more awareness, engage existing customers, generate new leads and improve their bottom lines. That said, business owners frequently want to get even more out of their sales departments, as sales teams often have the most leeway to scale up and down.

However, some sales departments don't work because they have a sluggish or slow sales engine. There are three elements that companies should continue to develop if they want to maximize the return on investment of their sales team.

1. Pipeline

Lead generation is a frequently cited issue in ineffective sales departments. This is as much an issue with the marketing department as it is with the actual sales team. Sometimes marketing doesn't transfer leads to sales in a quick fashion, or they don't provide an accurate picture of the lead, which can lead to relevancy issues.

Fixing the pipeline is absolutely pivotal to that, and sales and marketing need to align objectives as a first step toward that goal. Qualified leads should be clearly defined to help salespeople better prioritize their efforts. At the same time, marketing also needs to understand the limits of the sales team, as Selling Power adds.

2. Be snappy

Motivation is key to a successful sales environment, and to that end, salespeople need to be excited about their jobs. That said, there are a variety of factors that can be detrimental to that goal. For example, slow payments make it difficult to for salespeople to track when they are performing well and to motivate themselves to hit new levels. They can also lead to time-wasting processes, such as salespeople creating their own systems to determine who how much money they are making.

Incentive compensation management software can help businesses expedite payments and get their sales teams back on track.

3.  Evolution

Sales environments shouldn't be stagnant, they always need to be evolving and changing depending on the needs of the business. This helps keep representative[s] on their toes and inspires them to keep pushing themselves. Changes such as gamification, or using games to enhance business procedures and encourage employees to hit goals, represent one such trend becoming popular among sales departments.

Keeping a sales department 100 percent motivated at all times can be difficult, but simple measures such as improved pipelines, faster commissions processing and an always-changing work environment can help greatly.