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Why You Could Be Overthinking When Trying to Motivate Sales Team

motivate sales team

It can be tough to find a universal solution to motivate sales team. People are individuals. You can offer the same incentive to any group of people, and it may surprise you to discover that each person places a different value on it.

That’s because some people find motivation in their desire to become the best. They’re driven to learn and grow by their own inner fires and personal goals. This is intrinsic motivation, and it comes from within.

You’ll have other members on your team who find their motivation through cash, prizes or social standing. Others find the force of punishment or some negative consequence to be the most effective motivation. This is extrinsic motivation. It comes from an outside source.

One highly successful method to motivate sales team is to pay attention to their needs, their career goals, and what works best to motivate each individual.

How Can You Motivate Each Individual on Your Sales Team?

Sales team leaders know it’s their responsibility to keep their team motivated, no matter what. If you’re managing a large team, it may be harder to appease every person’s individual motivational preferences. So your best approach may lie in offering a variety of incentives at different times and use both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations.

Suggestions for Intrinsically Motivating Your Sales Team

1. Whenever possible, give team members choices in selecting their assignments. Feeling their tasks are best suited to their strengths and preferences is a strong intrinsic motivation.

2. Make sure they know there are opportunities available to them to advance in the company. Team members are intrinsically driven to perform when they feel they have a bright future. By contributing to the company’s success, they feel they’re also contributing to their personal success as well.

3. Allow them to participate in decision-making. This makes them feel valued and feel like they’re contributing to the company’s future.

4. Challenge them with an assignment. Faced with a positive challenge, they typically respond by pushing themselves to do better.

Recommendations to Motivate Sales Team Extrinsically

1. Publicly recognize the success of individual team members and openly praise them for their progress. Receiving sincere praise from a leader is very motivating for many people who excel from extrinsic motivation. This is an easy, frequently overlooked way to keep your team motivated.

2. Traditionally, sales commissions have been successfully used to get salespeople to close more sales, more often. To get your team to really push themselves, consider adding tiered incentives. Increase the amount of their commissions as they reach varying target levels.

3. Add additional compensation to standard commissions with a sales contest. The true purpose of a sales contest goes beyond friendly competition and a boost in sales. It should make your team start to do something they’re currently not doing. Or it may take something they’re already doing and make them do it to a higher degree.

4. Consider offering a tangible prize, rather than a cash amount. While most people will say they prefer cash, some research suggests otherwise, claiming that merchandise delivers a greater impact than money. Sometimes what people claim they want and what they’re willing to work the hardest for can be two decidedly different things.

Effective Sales Team Motivation Involves Motivating Your B Players

The wisest, most successful sales managers understand this one simple fact. Not everyone on their team wants to be number one. Are you familiar with the theory of 20-60-20? This is a concept used to categorize staff. It says that 20% of any sales force will be top performers. Another 20% will constantly struggle. A full 60% will comprise the middle of your sales force.

That 60% is average salespeople. Not the best, but certainly not the worst. These are your “B Players,” the majority of your sales team. They’re probably one of your company’s most important assets. Maritz Research says if you motivate them to increase their performance by just 5%, you can generate over 70% more in revenue than if you increased your top performers by that same 5%.

Picking the Best Prize Is Not How You Motivate Sales Team

At the end of the day, it’s not the prize that motivates your staff. Contests and incentives can certainly help ignite participation. But what really gets people involved is the experience. The act of competing and the competition itself is exciting. Seeing the leaderboard rankings with their name or their group’s name—that’s the spark that gets them going.

The sooner you get in touch with our team at Loyaltyworks, the sooner we can help you start improving your sales team’s motivation!