How To Motivate Your Sales Team

Posted on November 30, 2016

Sales jobs require more motivation than most. It can be a tough gig, with frequent rejection, steep competition, high pressure and disgruntled customers. Generous compensation will encourage salespeople, but money is only one part of the equation. Looking for new ways to galvanize your employees? Here’s how to motivate your sales team.

Reward Efforts, Not Just Wins

Typically, salespeople are only rewarded when they close a deal. But successful selling is part strong sales pitch, part timing and part luck; sometimes, a deal that seems promising ultimately falls through, despite the salesperson doing a great job.

Consider recognizing employees in those situations, who work hard but in the end aren’t successful in their effort. Choose a different reward than those given for won deals; it could be movie tickets, a bottle of wine or simply a handwritten note. Knowing that hard work, no matter the outcome, gets recognized, helps employees feel valuable.

Personalize the Compensation

Duke University professor and author Dan Ariely conducted a study that examined what truly boosts employee productivity. The findings? It was free food (in the case of the study, pizza), followed by compliments, that was a more effective motivator than a cash bonus. We’re not suggesting you try to motivate a sales team with the promise of complimentary pizza, but we do recommend thinking beyond money.

Ask your sales team how they would like to be rewarded for hitting their quotas and reeling in a big customer — money, extra vacation days, a magazine subscription, a gym membership, etcetera.

Make It Easier

Give your sales team everything they need to happily and comfortably do their job. This could mean a new laptop or a standing desk, but it could also mean flexibility. Implementing a flexible work arrangement, for instance, where employees can partly design their own schedules, could help improve work-life balance and ensure your salespeople are focused when they are at work. Flexibility could also translate to work-from-home days, a shortened summer work week, or more easygoing policies around personal days and appointments.

Share Goal-Setting Responsibilities

It’s difficult for anyone to feel motivated to work hard and endure high levels of stress if it’s in effort to reach goals they don’t feel connected to. To avoid this sort of disconnect with your sales team, involve them in the goal-setting process. Hold regular group meetings and ask which customers they’d love to land and what direction they hope the company will go in. Hold regular one-on-one meetings to find out what each salesperson’s personal goals are. Make each salesperson feel like they have a voice in the company’s well-being and future, not that they’re simply a cog in its wheels.

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