Have you ever heard the quote, “you don’t have to outrun the bear, you just have to outrun your friends?”
I love this quote, and it applies to the way salespeople are motivated. Competition is one of the most substantial factors that contributes to a motivated sales team. Some of you might say “well sure, but we would instead focus on team success”. Ok, fair enough, but many companies have fewer than ten salespeople, and the same mindset applies to teams.
Human beings are complex, and there have been countless psychological studies on the topic of motivation. Parents want their children motivated in school so they can get into a great college and it turns out that teenagers are far more motivated by their peers than their parents or teachers. Sometimes all it takes is for a child who is struggling in school to figure out that his or her peers think they can do better, and that perception can have a profound effect on that child.
With a high degree of confidence, I can say the same of salespeople. Not much has changed from high school to the business world. A B2C salesperson couldn’t care less about a big rah-rah speech a manager makes during the Monday morning sales meeting. What salespeople care most about is how their peers perceive them.
Now what? Stop trying to motivate your salespeople with rah-rah speeches and give them these two powerful incentives to help them perform at their best.
- Use peer motivation to your advantage and display real-time statistics like top calls, top won deals, or other business-critical metrics. Your best salespeople will try to outrun the group. This is human nature and a completely healthy form of motivation.
- Incentivize your team with monthly contests. Make the results public, for all to see, and, yes, make it a big deal! Unfortunately, not many organizations are doing this consistently enough to be worthwhile.
Once you combine peer motivation with the right incentives and public display of achievement, sales teams can accomplish great things.