Table of Contents
It can be tough to keep your sales team motivated.
Cold calls, email outreach, or even physically traveling to a potential customer’s office can be draining for even the most dedicated salespeople.
The sales culture is full of the constant urgency of SELL SELL SELL! While simultaneously telling salespeople to research and qualify leads and then take the time to tailor personalized messages for said leads.
There’s this constant struggle between being fast and smart, throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks, or taking your time to find the best prospects and hope and praying that your efforts pay off.
On top of that, customers repeatedly saying “no,” a promising prospect falling through the cracks, lack of communication, lack of effective tools, and countless other factors could be affecting motivation for sales team.
This doesn’t only suck for your salespeople, as they’re likely to feel disconnected or “checked out” from their job, it also affects your business’s bottom line and can negatively affect your team’s overall culture and productivity.
Let’s dive deeper into why keeping your sales rep motivation in check is important, and explore some tools and tips to keep the momentum going.
Why is Sales Rep Motivation Important
When people are motivated to do something, chances are they will be better at doing that thing than if they couldn’t care less.
Just think about it: an employee could have the absolutely perfect set of skills and abilities and should be able to do a job exceptionally well on paper. But if they don’t have the motivation to do a good job, whether due to negative team culture, too much stress, or some other reason, chances are high that they’re not performing their best work.
Motivation for sales team is important not only to maintain a positive and productive work culture and make more sales but also to positively impact your company’s brand image and customer loyalty.
Sales Motivation Theories
Some smart people studied workplaces and what employees typically need to remain happy and engaged at work. These findings led to different theories about what people need in the workplace to perform at their best, which gives insight to companies on what they should be providing to their employees to keep them motivated.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Developed by Abraham H Maslow, this theory lists a series of work motivation needs:
McClelland’s Three Needs Theory
David McClelland suggests that each person has one of three main motivators:
Herzberg’s Motivation Theory
This theory suggests that two categories of needs must be met for employees: hygiene and motivators.
Hygiene is the overall work environment, including working conditions, wages, and relationships, while motivators are factors that make people want to work harder, like job recognition, meeting goals and promotions.
There are countless ways you can approach sales rep motivation, but using proven methods rooted in the science of psychology is likely the best way to go. After all, people have spent years studying the art of motivation in the workplace, figuring out what works and what doesn’t for most people, so it’s smart to know this information and apply it to your own teams.
How to Motivate Your Team to Sell
Even with understanding academic motivational theories under your belt, it can still be difficult to motivate your salespeople. A motivated team won’t happen overnight, nor will the motivation continue on its own; you need to work at building and maintaining a motivated sales team consistently.
Thankfully, there are some meaningful sales strategies you can follow to build and keep your motivation for the sales team on a level playing field.
Create a Fair and Straightforward Compensation Plan
Companies have trouble setting fair pay structures for their sales reps. Whether it’s a seemingly unfair division of sales territories where one sales rep gets access to more lucrative clients than another or quotas that are set too high (and continue to increase as a result of success), the complaints about fair compensation from salespeople are all too common across multiple industries and companies.
The best way to combat these complaints and provide your sales reps with the fairest compensation plan possible is to:
- Tailor a compensation and rewards system for each individual. This doesn’t have to be super personalized, but since different people are motivated by different things, it makes sense to add flexibility to compensation. For example, one salesperson might want more vacation over higher pay, but another might be the opposite. Keeping that in mind and giving people options when it comes to compensation and rewards keeps everyone happy.
- Set clear, personalized goals. Each sales rep should have personalized goals based on their skill level, abilities, sales territory, and other factors specific to your company and the industry you serve. Taking all the necessary considerations and tailoring specific goals helps keep things as fair as possible and shows a commitment to individual success.
- Set shorter payout periods. Nobody wants to wait forever to enjoy the fruits of their labor, so setting up your payouts to occur on a relatively frequent and regular basis is a good idea to keep employees engaged and motivated.
Identify the Root Causes of Motivational Issues
It’s all well and good to provide your sales reps with personalized compensation, incentives, and rewards, but for a team suffering from demotivation, it isn’t a complete fix. Often, a variety of complex issues lead to a downtrodden team, and reps won’t feel better unless you take the time to speak with them and understand where they are coming from with their concerns.
For instance, let’s say that the majority of your sales reps feel that sales quotas are set too high and are unachievable. Instead of leaving the quotas as is and simply telling them that they’re based on number crunching, talk to your reps further, find out what they feel is a fair target, and see if you can work within that. This not only shows that you’re willing to listen, but it also shows that you trust their expertise and experience.
Potential issues affecting motivation for sales team
More negative reinforcement than positive
Mentioning poor sales performance is prioritized over mentioning sales wins
Sales reps are “thrown to the wolves” and expected to be successful with little to no training
Some competition in the workplace can be motivating, but it must be carefully controlled to avoid building a toxic work culture
A manager that needs to control everything and focuses on insignificant details instead of larger, important issues is stifling and doesn’t allow for growth
Don’t be Afraid to Experiment
Keep in mind that nothing has to be set in stone. Experimenting with different pay systems allows you to gather data and gain valuable insight into what aspects of a pay system work and what doesn’t. This will help you build a solution that works for your salespeople and your company.
After all, finding that sweet spot that’s the right balance of multiple compensation components but isn’t too complex will take time and investment, but it is worth it to get the most out of your sales team.
8 Motivation Sales Tips
1. Focus on High-Performance Activities Rather than Results
It can be stressful for a salesperson if their entire performance is measured on straight sales objectives. After all, a sales rep can potentially influence the outcome of a sale, but there’s no way to ensure 100% that a sale will be made. So rather than using sales numbers as a straight measure of success, it’s also important to incorporate key sales activities in that measurement.
Key sales activities can include:
- Using a sales CRM to track prospect information. A sales CRM like Ringy saves salespeople from tedious administrative tasks and makes it easier to access and manage large amounts of customer information. With Ringy’s lead management system, sales reps can also track where prospects are within your company’s sales process and prioritize which prospects to contact next.
- Prospect outreach. How are your sales reps contacting prospects, and which methods seem to work the best? How are marketing campaigns contributing to the number of incoming prospects? You can zero in on the best techniques and share those insights with your sales and marketing teams by analyzing your sales data and determining how and when prospects are engaged.
- Number of closed deals. How many qualified prospects are coming through your sales pipeline and becoming customers? Are there any areas where these prospects are slipping through the cracks? Is forecasting accurately regarding what you see, and are sales reps meeting their quotas? Looking at the number of closed deals, where those prospects came from, and the path they are taking through your sales pipeline will help you make educated and data-driven decisions.
2. Acknowledge your Sales Rep’s Wins
Everyone wants to feel appreciated, and celebrating wins is one way that you can help your sales reps feel recognized for their hard work. Letting your sales reps know you care about them and appreciate their efforts is a key aspect of motivation.
- Celebrate milestones big and small
- Encourage employees to use “shoutouts” or “kudos” to give specific compliments to employees during team meetings
- Specifically acknowledge hard work, and be sure to thank the person for their efforts
- Consider implementing sales rep appreciation days, such as catered lunch, a team event, or paid time off
- Give special awards like gift cards for jobs well done
3. Build a Positive Workplace Culture
Rather than encourage a cutthroat, every-man-for-themselves environment, encourage a workplace culture where sales reps help each other out, willingly and gladly share information, and are otherwise positive — even when things don’t go perfectly.
When a positive culture is prioritized, it helps your sales team build trust with each other as well as management, rather than everyone walking on eggshells or looking over their shoulder when other team members are around.
Some ways that you can build a positive sales team culture include:
- Ask each individual sales rep what motivates and inspires them, and how you can help them be the best they can be at work. For instance, maybe one sales rep loves writing cold call follow-up emails, so you can get them to write them for other sales reps that maybe don’t love writing them as much. Or, maybe a sales rep would rather specialize in helping customers within a specific industry over another. In this case, customers entering the sales funnel could be redistributed accordingly.
- Reduce meetings. Everyone’s been in a meeting that could have easily been a Slack thread or an email. Meetings are important, sure, but they need to be planned out and worthwhile to everyone in attendance since they do take away from work. Reducing overall meetings gives sales reps precious minutes back in their day and helps reduce stress.
- Be proactive about communicating setbacks. Instead of waiting for an annual review or a team meeting to call someone out on a mistake or raise a performance issue, be proactive and address it privately as soon as possible. This not only brings the issue to light and allows you to provide direct, constructive feedback but also doesn’t make a mountain out of a molehill. Transparency and honesty are key to building a healthy relationship between management and employee.
4. Share the Bigger Picture
It’s easy to get stuck on minor details or fixate on a specific sales goal, activity, or metric, so sometimes, it helps to take a step back and remind sales reps about the bigger picture. Everyone wants to feel like they are making a difference in their work, even if it’s small. Remind your sales reps about your company’s mission and values, and provide proof showing them the impact their work has on their customers’ lives. This can be through customer success stories, testimonials, reviews, or sharing specific positive feedback.
5. Show Empathy
A key management tip is to never attribute to malice what could easily be explained another way, like inadequate training, an unexpected issue, or simply not knowing. Most people don’t want to intentionally do a bad job or be a negative part of a team, and mistakes are called mistakes for a reason — because we don’t mean to do them.
Leading with grace and empathy and taking the time to ask, understand, and amicably provide feedback is extremely valuable to building a positive work environment and motivating your sales reps.
6. Gain a Complete Understanding of What your Sales Reps Do
Yes, your sales reps sell, but the best way to understand what they do daily is to get in there and do it yourself. Pick up the phone and call some prospects. Go through your sales process from start to finish with a customer to see what it’s like. This not only shows your reps that you care about what they do and want to understand, but it also gives you the opportunity to provide more valuable feedback.
7. Offer Growth and Development Opportunities
Offering growth and development opportunities can motivate employees to stick around with your company. Growth and development not only help employees hone existing skills and gain new ones but also show that you care about their career success. And growth opportunities can encompass financial and professional growth but can also expand into personal growth. Some examples of personal growth include the ability to work remotely or having a more flexible schedule.
8. Consistently Revisit and Develop Your Sales Process
At the end of the day, your sales process is the heart of your sales success. If your sales process doesn’t match how your customers naturally buy or make sense of your product or service, your salespeople will have difficulty making it work. Instead of making a sales process and assuming it’s written in stone, think of it as a living document that can evolve as more information becomes available.
And, of course, if your team has suggestions for improvements, be sure to take them seriously and consider implementing them. After all, your sales team is on the front lines, so they’re the best people to know whether a specific aspect of your sales process is working or not.
One thing’s for sure, keeping your sales team motivated isn’t easy breezy; it requires regular and consistent effort from management, supervisors, and the company’s leadership team. As difficult as sales can be, it is possible to have a dedicated and motivated sales team with a bit of dedication and hard work.
It helps to understand the different theories about how motivation works in organizations before you develop a motivational strategy for your sales team:
- Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs posits that people need to be paid a living wage (physical needs such as food and shelter are provided through an employee’s earnings), need to feel secure in the workplace (physical security or job security), need to feel like they are part of a team, need to have their accomplishments recognized, and need room to grow and be creative.
- McClelland’s Three Needs Theory suggests that a person is motivated by either power, achievement, or affiliation, and it’s the employer’s job to find out what it is for each individual and provide it.
- Herzberg’s Motivation Theory says that employees are driven by hygiene and motivators, which encompass a more overarching set of needs, including working conditions, relationships, and wages (hygiene) as well as achievements, promotions, and successfully meeting goals and objectives (motivators).
When it comes to developing strategies to provide motivation for sales team, many of the suggestions in this article focus on transparency, trust, and providing fair compensation. You can build a motivated and happy sales team when you can hit the bullseye on all these things together.
If you need software to help your sales team and leadership manage and track sales, then look no further than Ringy. As a sales CRM that focuses on efficiency and making the working lives of your sales reps easier and more productive, you’ll quickly wonder how you ever managed without it.
Ready to give it a try? Request a demo today, and we’ll show you what Ringy has to offer.