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What Are the Best Ways To Motivate My Sales Team?

What Are the Best Ways To Motivate My Sales Team?

The Ask an Entrepreneur series features YEC members' experiences in entrepreneurship in a Q&A format.

Question: What Are the Best Ways to Motivate My Sales Team?

I am seeking insight on ways to motivate my sales team. Is simple cash compensation the best motivator? Do you have any advice on tactics that can help create hunger to succeed?

Meet Our Entrepreneur: Ali Mirza, President, Rose Garden Consulting

Ali Mirza is the President of Rose Garden Consulting. RGC is passionate about helping businesses excel at closing deals to get the revenue they deserve by developing, documenting, and implementing a sales process and sales strategy that is sure to scale.

Answer: Consider Your Sales Team Culture and Individual Motivators

Trying to motivate your sales team to grow and sell more? Don't just throw more money at them.
 While it should go without saying, money is a great motivator, and for great salespeople, it should be very high on the list. But it's important to note that money is not the only motivator and can't be the only thing you use to motivate. Money is a soft motivator. The second I give you more, you want more because your relative baseline has now been raised. Money is a great way to motivate but its use must be very strategic.

You don't always have to give more money; however, you can't slap together a simple compensation structure (base plus commission) and think that you are getting the most out of people. You MUST have a robust compensation plan that factors in accelerators, bonuses, retention rates, and so on. There are a million ways to tweak a comp plan and get more out of your people by rewarding the people who are actually selling vs. the people who are order-taking.

Motivators aside from money fall into two categories: sales team culture and individual motivators.

Sales Team Culture

Most people confuse company culture with sales culture. They are very different things. Your sales culture needs to be one of achievement and competition.

Most people don't know this, but athletes get paid extra if their team wins an all-star game or a championship or if they win MVP or other trophies. But it's rarely talked about. Why? They are being paid so much that money becomes secondary and the competitive drive takes over. All pro athletes are hyper-competitive. They talk shit to each other, they have egos, and they love winning.

Breed that sort of sales environment and the sales compensation checks will be fat, but cash motivation will be secondary to hitting goals and earning acknowledgment. There are many ways to create a competitive environment, some of which include: leaderboards, daily meetings with check-ins, and no-money ego-only competitions, just to name a few.

The key is to not accept mediocrity and to create an environment of aggression and competitive drive. This is certainly missing from sales teams today.

Individual Motivators

Not everyone's be-all end-all is money. Different people have different goals and aspirations. You have to discover what your salesperson wants and then pull those levers to drive them harder.

Some common personal motivators are:

  • Recognition: What do they want to be recognized for? Best salesperson? Anything they do? What do they like getting credited for? Some people are know it alls and they love educating people. You can easily find these people as they are always giving your "fun-facts" and talking about random shit, teaching/lecturing you on stuff. For these people, clearly lay out a plan for them to hit certain goals and then allow them to do a team training. This will get them very motivated.
  • Achievement: I am very achievement driven. I feel good after I accomplish something, and I am driven to beat a record or do something that others can't do. With people like me, you need to constantly give me goals and tell me what others have done, what the records are, and what impressive numbers are. I'm very egotistical and I will do anything to try and own the record.
  • Advancement: Some people are very driven by titles. Understand that some people want upward movement and want to be in leadership. Give them a path to accomplish it. Set clear goals and expectations. Show them what numbers they have to hit to be considered.
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