Dave Deslauriers /

How to Motivate Your Sales Team

Motivation is something that everyone struggles with from time to time. Whether it’s in your personal or professional life, there are times when complacency sets in and you begin to find yourself simply going through the motions. If you’re in sales management, you have undoubtedly witnessed it within your own team at some point. So how do you snap them out of it? Here are a few strategies that you may want to employ to motivate your sales team.

Set Meaningful Goals

While this step may seem obvious, its importance can’t be overstated. Goals provide something to aspire to and a tangible way to measure success.

While the most common “goal” in the sales world is often hitting a quota, it’s important to look deeper than that in order to find out what really motivates a person. Have your sales team think of both their personal and professional goals. Whether it be getting promoted to management, affording a dream vacation, or having more time to spend with family, each individual will have different goals that drive them.

From there, have your sales team reverse-engineer the steps needed to reach their goals. For example, if the goal is to put a down payment on a new house, have them figure out how much money he would need to do so. Then break that down into how many additional sales they would need to make. From there, determine how many appointments are needed to close a sale. Then how many phone calls are needed to obtain an appointment. And so on. By breaking a large goal down into smaller, more achievable segments, a seemingly enormous task all of the sudden becomes manageable.

Give Them the Tools to Succeed

There is nothing more frustrating than being expected to complete a task without being provided the necessary tools to do so. And just like a carpenter or mechanic needs the tools of their trade in order to effectively do their jobs, so do sales people.

Arm your sales people with an easy to use CRM system to cut down on their time between calls. Provide them with a company phone to ensure that communication is never interrupted. Conduct ongoing product and sales training sessions so that you’re continually expanding their knowledge base and honing their skills. Minimize the time that they are forced to spend on administrative tasks so that they can focus on acquiring new clients.

Another way that we have seen organizations put this strategy to use is through their vehicle program. Companies have found that one of the most effective ways to motivate their sales team is by providing them with company vehicles. By doing so, all of the burdens associated with vehicle management such as vehicle registrations, insurance, maintenance, repairs, and dealing with the DMV are taken off of the sales person’s plate, allowing them to spend more time selling. Company-provided vehicles are also seen as a huge perk that sales people will want to continue receiving.

Operate as a Team

Sales is generally viewed as a profession for competitive individuals. Sales people compete against themselves, trying to beat their previous numbers; and they compete against each other, trying to become the “top-gun” of their team. One way to harness that competitive spirit, and use it to increase the efficiency and motivation of your team may be to switch from a mindset of individual competition to one of team competition.

By working as a team, your sales people are not only accountable to you and to themselves, but they’re accountable to the entire team. Nobody wants to be the one to let the team down.

In an article by Geoff Williams on American Express Open Forum, Manny Medina, CEO of Outreach, described how “his senior vice president of sales recently told a new sales team that they’d all get a significant cash bonus when they delivered on their individual, team and company goals. If they all delivered, they all received a bonus. If one didn’t, nobody would get a bonus.” Apparently the approach worked as Medina stated “That new hire cohort has been the highest performing ever.”

You don’t have to take it to that extent, as this strategy allows you to get creative in how you employ it, but operating under a “rising tide lifts all boats” mentality may be just what you need to boost the motivation of your staff.


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