5 Ways to Positively Motivate Your Sales Team

Proper sales motivation takes time and careful consideration. Take the time to understand each salesperson and what truly motivates them.

Different types of motivation can help your sales team climb mountains, break through roadblocks, and beat any challenge.

I often hear from sales managers that they need to give their salespeople a good kick every once in a while or have to scare the team to get results. If you have the proper foundation, scare tactics will never be needed to motivate your team. You might be able to use a scare tactic a few times, but it's not sustainable. Lay the proper foundation for sales success, and your team will pay you back over the long term for years to come.

Here are 5 ways to motivate your team with sustainable motivation tactics.
  1. Build Trust
  2. Allocate Budget for Rewards
  3. Provide a Purpose-Driven Culture
  4. Encourage Peer Motivation
  5. Promote Healthy Competition
motivated team

1. Build Trust

If you don't actively work at building trust, implementing any of these motivation tactics will fall flat. Your team needs to believe that you have their back. You have to walk the walk. If you ask your team to work extra hours to achieve a goal, you better be working late with them, buying them pizzas, and cheering them on. Nothing kills motivation like a lack of trust between salespeople and their managers.

  • Follow through with any commitments you make to the team.
  • Never ask your salespeople to do something you are unwilling or unlikely to do yourself.
  • Be transparent and authentic with your team; if you break their trust, be sure to clean it up and own a mistake immediately.

2. Allocate Budget for Rewards

I once walked into a huge company, and their idea of rewarding their sales team for smashing a colossal goal was a Starbucks gift card. I am not saying Starbucks is not delicious but make sure the reward matches the level of effort, don't skimp on the rewards. Ask your team what kind of rewards would motivate them to achieve their goals. All people are different, and a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't always work. Some salespeople would value time with their kids over a celebration at a bar.

  • Ask your salespeople what rewards they would like
  • Don't skimp on rewards; make sure you have a budget and consider different rewards for the different people on your team.

Example Rewards

  • Additional paid time off
  • Pick up some of their workload, prospecting or cold calling
  • Take the whole team out to lunch or dinner
  • Take the team to a sporting event

3. Provide a Purpose-Driven Culture

The most significant companies feature purpose-driven cultures that motivate their sales teams with a greater purpose than monetary gains. Building a purpose-driven company is not always easy, but if you start with a mindset of creating value, genuinely helping your customers, you can create purpose. If your company's only ambition is to make money, there is little to encourage your salespeople to provide real value to your customers. 

  • Infuse your purpose in everything you say and do. If your purpose is to be helpful, make sure your sales and support people are helpful to customers, make sure your managers are helpful to your salespeople.
  • Remember, people model behavior, not slogans on t-shirts or banners.

4. Encourage Peer Motivation

Studies show that team spirit and peer pressure motivate employees more than money or management. The key for a sales manager is to show individual successes in real-time throughout the day, week, and month. This allows team members to see their peers succeed and self-motivate. This social motivation works far better than authoritarian demand. By consistently showing performance in real-time, you give everyone a chance to see how their peers are performing, and you lay the foundation for peers to step in and help or lead by example.

  • Highlight success - show daily, weekly, monthly performance for the entire team.
  • Create opportunities for top performers to mentor or provide feedback to newer or struggling salespeople. You could give your top performer a budget to take a new salesperson to lunch.

5. Promote Healthy Competition

Competition is one of the most substantial factors contributing to a motivated sales team. You might say, "well, sure, but we should focus on team success vs. individual success." Fair enough, and you should make use of team-oriented goals. If the team performs well against another group or competes to surpass a goal, they are still competing; salespeople thrive under and love competition.

  • Prominently feature KPIs and goals on the sales floor or share them via the internet or mobile devices if your team is outside or works remotely.
  • Let the team know who is working hard, succeeding, and then let the group help the struggling salesperson.
  • You can help by reinforcing positive behavior, incentivize your best salespeople to mentor newer or struggling salespeople.
  • Pair up the low performers with high performers, and create team rewards on the next sales cycle.

In Summary, properly motivating your team takes time and careful consideration to execute. If you want to take your sales team to the next level, take the time to understand each salesperson and what truly motivates them. What might work for one may not for another. Motivation isn't achieved through slogans and scare tactics; it's built by providing a culture that celebrates your sales team's success and gives them space to contribute to something bigger than themselves.

See also: Outbound Sales

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