6 Winning Ways to Motivate Your Sales Team

August 10, 2017 Dan Sincavage

Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it. Dwight D. Eisenhower

Eisenhower might have been borderline Machiavellian in what he said; but there is truth in it, especially in the context of the workplace.

A motivated sales team achieves sales targets not because you told them to. They do it because they want to. There is personal gain from long hours, repetitive tasks, endless follow-ups and the struggle to close deals.

When a goal is reached, there is a sense of achievement that, in itself, is a good motivator.

The question is: how do you motivate your sales team and how do you keep them motivated?

Money Works

While we will go beyond $, money as a motivator should not be overlooked. We live in a material world; and some people do look at money in their bank as a measure of how good they’re doing. Besides, the usual sales achievement tally is in terms of the dollar amount sold. A corresponding monetary reward is somewhat expected.

Most commission schemes are basic. Commission is computed based on revenue goals reached and the total sales value. This sort of commission scheme is easy to implement so it’s widely used.

However, it’s not really effective when you want to bring in big, long-term accounts, the kind of clients that have a huge impact on your bottom line. Motivate your team to go after these accounts by awarding bigger commissions for big accounts or repeat sales.

Another commission strategy to consider is offering monetary reward for other measurable efforts, such as:

  • Units sold (instead of total dollar value)
  • Accounts opened
  • Number of outbound sales calls

You might even consider adapting a scheme implemented by Dan McGraw, Fuelzee’s CEO. His company offers $100 weekly to the salesperson with the most no’s.

McGraw says:

“Every time someone got a no, we tracked it in our system, and the person with the most no’s received a $100 gift card every week… The more no’s you get, the closer you are to getting a yes. The prize of getting a yes is way larger than $100, so you still wanted to get there. This nearly doubled our outbound calls and motivated the whole team.”

Of course, this isn’t for everyone. Design a commission scheme that suits your product, sales process, and target clientele.

For example, say you sell paper. Encourage your team to go after bigger corporate accounts by offering a larger cut off bulk orders that exceed 10,000 reams of paper. Make sure that your team stays connected with their clients by rewarding repeat orders.

Offer Qualified Mentorship

For some, a primary motivation to work hard towards the company’s goals is the learning they get from it. Think Wall Street (the movie), minus the blatant greediness – and you get an example of a work-based mentor-student relationship. The mentor is often the boss or sales manager so be ready to step up. (And no channeling Gekko, please.)

Jeff Hoffman of Your Sales MBA suggests a sales contest wherein the prize is your time as the winner’s assistant. You do the calls, presentations and all that.

He says:

Not only does this motivate your team; it also shows you aren’t afraid to roll up your sleeves and get in the trenches…. The whole team will see you leading by example, creating an inspirational ripple effect.”

Use Games to Spice Things Up

A common quality of top performing salespersons is their need to win. They have an inner drive to land the top spot. This is the fuel to their work. Gamification is a way to stoke this drive from sales teams, and encourage friendly competition.

Leaderboards and the like – alongside tokens of achievement, of course – acknowledge a person or team’s success. It tells the rest to work more strategically and catch up.

Gamification can also improve teamwork. Try to put together competitions for teams. An example is former Hewlett-Packard Vice President Rick Hanson’s FantasySalesTeam. Like in fantasy football, salespersons choose teammates and compete as groups.

Hanson says:

“Reps earn points for their FantasySalesTeam based on the performance of their chosen peers and friends, and this creates an environment of encouragement and pressure amongst the players… To win the game, they must rely and push on each other to perform. Even more exciting is just how many reps in our sales organization can, and want to, participate.”

Don’t Forget to Add Fun to the Equation

Imagine having bean bags, ping pong tables, and a gym at your office. Doesn’t it make you want to come to work more? Don’t discount fun from the motivation equation. While it can cause some people to be a little distracted, fun works.

Hireology Sales Vice President, Kevin Baumgart says:

“You might not think that a pingpong table for the office would push people and drive behaviors… Try it. From my experience, massage chairs, beanbag chairs, stand-up desk converters, cube art, etc. can all be motivational rewards as well.”

Another way to make achieving work goals more fun is to let your members choose their rewards. Cash can get boring so offer them gadgets, trips, spa retreats and gift checks instead.

Create a Comfortable and Productive Work Environment

At times when a salesperson isn’t engaging with prospects, he’s with sales teammates, management and office administration. So, of course, the office atmosphere affects your team’s performance. Is your work environment conducive to motivating ace salespersons? Or, does it hold them back?

Creating a good work environment takes several steps, and involves the whole organization, not just your team. Start with your interviews. Ask questions that assess how well people work with others. Encourage and reward teamwork. And, be in continuous dialogue with your sales team to know their attitudes and feelings towards the workplace.

Keep Your Team Moving Forward With Their Careers

Work always has to lead somewhere. Whether it’s personal goals or target commissions, people perform their best when they have direction or something to look forward to. A clear and achievable career development plan is a way to establish this within an organization.

Not only is it effective in employee recruitment and retention – it is also a reliable motivator.

Start by assessing your department. What are the different sales paths available? What career trajectories do your team members follow? Is their list of responsibilities at each stage clearly delineated and challenging? Is your compensation package for each stage competitive?

Your goal is to develop a challenging and rewarding path for your team members. Their success in this path bears upon your success in achieving sales goals.

Top Takeaways on Motivating Your Sales Team

* Money motivates. It is a good start to getting your team pumped up and raring to reach sales goals.

* Keep it fun. Whether it’s through gamification, play rooms or an office gym, don’t discount the fun factor.

* Make sure your team is always moving forward. Keep them learning through mentorship. Get them involved professionally with their teammates and the rest of the organization. Encourage them to work towards the advancement of their careers.

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