Motivation & Incentives
According to the sales leader of HubSpot, “you can only influence your team’s sales performance in two dimensions: Their skill set (what they can do), and their motivation (how repeatedly or passionately they do it)”.
After learning about the traits, which is the skill set that an ideal top-ranked salesperson should have or work on, we present a key topic that allows the qualities of your sales team to remain superior over time: Motivation and incentives.
If you think that getting the traits is a hard task, you gotta know that motivation is far harder. Many external factors affect motivation and work differently for every person in your team. Inspiring motivation is about finding the thing that makes your reps willing to go the extra mile. We present you here some strategies for making your reps work with self-discipline and help them shine continuously:
1. Give great rewards
Gilliland sums it up into the three most important takeaways:
1. Your sales compensation plan should be able to be explained in a sentence or two and aligned with company goals.
2. Your reps should be able to calculate their payout themselves.
3. Everyone should feel like they have a fair opportunity to hit their target.
Van der Kooij even takes this further with a detailed explanation of how to define a sales compensation plan with the different levels of employees you have in your company. He also refers to these 5 points to keep in mind when setting it up:
1. Keep it Simple. A summary of your compensation plan must fit on a single page.
2. Show Causality. Make compensation directly related to the desired effect you wish to achieve.
3. Think Short. Keep the time between activity and compensation under 60 days.
4. Fair for Everyone. All compensation must be fair and equal to everyone.
5. Must be Easy. Easy to measure. Easy to administer.
2. State a purpose for your team
But is compensation (read: money) the only motivator for salespeople? Daniel H. Pink, the author of Drive, focuses on the question of motivation and mindset with an emphasis on insights from psychology studies. He concluded that the most driving factor for intrinsic and long term motivation is purpose. As mentioned above, the value or the why of a solution is the most powerful motivator for an excellent performance. Not only for closing the deal with a customer but also for the performance of salespeople, people have to know the why – as Simon Sinek defines it in his Golden Circles mentioned in his great TED talk on How great leaders inspire action – of the business’ operation.
What is “purpose”?
A “purpose” responds to the question “why”. Bringing it to the motivation of a sale’s rep, a purpose explains “why does this person in your team wake up every day and start working to sell the product of your company”. The answer to that question is the key to keep motivation at a high level within your team members. That question surrounds the thoughts of your employees, making them trust and inviting them to be loyal to what the company does, every single day.
That is why your startup needs to define a deeper meaning behind your daily activities, an internal value proposition for your employees, the USP you offer to every member of your sales team. At the moment of hiring, the perfect combination would be hiring someone that believes in your purpose rather than hiring someone that only needs a job. When working with monetary incentives, make it simple, easy to follow and transparent on how salespeople can benefit from closing deals and attracting new paying clients. And always remember to give your people not only money but also a purpose to work for.
3. Build trust with the people on your team
There is an important asset that you need to build and care for which is trust. It is the key to have your team always motivated. Every individual of your team gotta believe in you as a leader and gotta feel inspired by the work you do and of course by the work they do. The best advice to build trust is to be always transparent with your words and acts. Taking the strategy of the sales leader of the HubSpot, it is always important to make sure that you are building a business relationship with your coworkers rather than letting them think that you are only their boss.
Another key point that may help to build trust is the coaching you offer your team members. Every sales team needs to be coached from time to time. This aspect will build up the confidence within the team and will drive revenue faster.
4. Set Goals
Based on the principle that you can not improve what you don’t measure, we come here with this tip about how to motivate your team. People always need to have goals, not only on a personal level but also at work. You can set your goals according to your interests. They come from daily goals (which are not easy to track), monthly or quarterly quotas, and annual goals which are of big importance to executives, board members, and investors.
On his Facebook page, author Joe Vitale wrote, “A goal should scare you a little and excite you a lot. Think BIG. And then think bigger than THAT. Remember that goals are: data-driven, realistic and challenging”.
Apart of setting goals, it is important to communicate them to your team, set up analytics and tools to track them and make the life of your sales reps easier.
5. Let them pick their rewards
Compensation doesn’t always mean money, nor do they always have to be something material your reps receive. You can also contribute to the motivation of your team as a sales lead showing your reps that you are happy for the achieved goal or the way they have been working by implementing creative rewards. It is about thinking out of the box and doing fun and random things that can get your team excited:
- To do a task they hate.
- A trip to an escape room or a sports game.
- Go in a dunk tank
- Sing at karaoke
- Perform a dance
- Wear a funny shirt to work
If you don’t come with an idea, ask them directly what they would like to experience. Remember, not everyone feels motivated by the same things. Show your team that you are also willing to leave your comfort zone. Be open to their input and try different tactics. You never know what might work.
6. Listen to individual needs
A key point of working with people is that each of them is a unique universe. That means that every person needs special and different inputs to performance in an outstanding way. An important part of getting your team motivated is to discover what each of your reps needs to perform better.
Your task is then to realize what special needs every team member has. Does your rep need more independence by doing its job? Does he/she need your support for training? It is a good strategy to increase your attention to those who need it to help build the team and improve morale.
7. Non-monetary motivation strategies
Not-monetary rewards also maintain the motivation of your sales reps. And who is not feeling motivated after getting the awareness of their team or higher-ups? Or having a healthy work environment with some flexibility? Here we list some ideas of non-monetary benefits that can keep your sales reps motivated:
1. Personal recognition programs: Create a monthly or quarterly awards event which showcases the efforts of staff who continually excel in their field.
2. Flexibility and Work-Life Balance: Homeoffice possibility, flexible work hours.
3. Provide a day off (outside of annual leave) as a reward for successful task completion.
4. Maintain a focus on career growth and development and provide opportunities.
5. Offer a one-on-one meeting periodically to give feedback.
So what to do now with the information about this chapter? Follow these steps if you are the one in charge of selling or for every member of your sales team:
• Asset your performance in each of the 6 strategies to keep your team highly motivated.
• Write the one you are doing precisely and keep doing them as good or better with the advice you read.
• Write a to-do list of what you need to start working on. What you can do is to plan in your calendar specific days when you will work on each of them. You can plan meetings, events, etc, according to your assessment.
- Cooper (2020) 11 Ways to Maintain Sales Momentum. Blog Entry. Online available at Cooper
- Gilliland, D (2007). The Ins & Outs of Variable Pay Compensation Structure for Sales Teams. Blog entry. Online available at SalesHacker
- Patel, Sujan (2017). 6 Ways to Motivate Your Sales Team. Blog Entry. Online available at Inc.
- Pink, D. H (2009). Drive – The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. New York: Riverhead Books
- Sinek, S (2009). How great leaders inspire action. Ted-Talk-Video. Online available at TED
- Smith, B (2018). 5 Ridiculously Useful Non-Monetary Reward Examples that Improve Employee Engagement. Blog Entry. Online available at Business2community
- Tyre, D (2019). How to Motivate Your Sales Team: 8 Tried-and-True Strategies. Blog Entry. Online available at Hubspot
- Van der Kooij, J (2019). How to Build Effective Sales Compensation Plans for Any Customer Facing Role [Templates]. Blog entry. Online available at SalesHacker