How to Motivate Your Salespeople to Perform Stronger

Most job descriptions for sales managers mention something about “driving revenue” and “building and motivating a team.” But how exactly does one motivate someone else? Is it even possible?

To an extent, yes, it is possible. However, you do have to start with a salesperson with a good degree of internal motivation. What drives them? Why do they want to succeed? A thorough selection process that includes the use of personality and behavioral assessments will give you an idea of how internally motivated a candidate is.

Top performing sales managers and leaders start with a team that already has a “good amount of gas in the engine” and then uses their skills and abilities to help light that fire. Keep in mind that each individual is motivated by different things--not every top salesperson is motivated by money and their paycheck.

Some examples of motivating factors include:

  • Money, salary raises, bonuses
  • Prestige and perks
  • Hitting goals and numbers, and the fear of not hitting them
  • Verbal and written recognition and awards
  • Knowing they are helping more people or making an impact
  • Freedom, schedule flexibility, time off
  • The competitive need to be #1, or the fear of not being among the best

You must begin by finding out what motivates each and every member of your team, and then partner with them to figure out what it will take to get to the goals that are meaningful to them. Using cookie-cutter methods will not necessarily inspire your entire team.

An example from my own sales management career: I had a very fun-loving, motivated, and competitive group of salespeople on my team. I was very creative at creating various games and contests to inspire our team to beat the others. However, I quickly learned that one of my very competent, well performing salespeople would barely (or half-heartedly) participate. When I spoke to him about it, I learned it really just wasn’t “his thing”; he preferred focusing on his own goals and stretching himself to achieve them. What motivated him was knowing that he could be more flexible with his hours, as long as he was exceeding his quotas. It worked for him…and for me.

The secret sauce is individualization and consistency. 

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