Sales managers and business owners have to keep their sales team motivated to close deals and increase revenue. Working in sales is a high-pressure environment, and sales reps can be prone to burnout if they aren’t continually motivated, so it’s important to invest in motivation strategies that foster a great culture and improve productivity.
A big part of increasing motivation for any sales team is fostering transparency and trust. With Salesforce Essentials, your sales team has full visibility into the sales pipeline, deal stages, documents, emails, phone calls, and more for a 360 view of every customer, ensuring transparency and trust among the entire team. Sign up for a 30-day free trial today.
Here are 13 ways to foster sales team motivation across your entire sales team:
1. Invest in Excellent Sales Managers
Effective sales management is critical to developing excellent sales reps who can close deals and retain customers. The first step in making sure you have a motivated sales team is to make sure you hire and develop the very best sales managers to lead your sales reps and sales development reps (SDRs).
For example, when interviewing potential sales managers, ask them what types of motivation techniques they find most beneficial for producing effective, productive sales teams. They should have plenty of examples and proven methods to share.
2. Provide Ongoing Professional Development
A great way to keep sales team members motivated is to help them improve their skill set with continual professional development and training programs. Sales reps should always be learning new techniques they help them hone their skills from uncovering pain points, overcoming objections, and closing deals—giving them the confidence they need to stay motivated.
There’s no shortage of ways to provide ongoing sales training. Look for online programs, conferences, seminars, or hire in-person trainers to come to your business to provide professional development for your sales team.
The first thing to do when motivating your sales team is to coach them. Most salespeople love to sell because of the interaction with customers. But, few have received formal coaching or training on how to be effective. Our responsibility as sales leaders is to give our salespeople confidence by teaching them to sell and coaching them to improve.”
—Jim Olson, Sales Consultant, Caliper
3. Set Realistic & Stretch Goals
Sales professionals need their managers to help them set goals that keep them on track and push them to improve. Sales managers should work with each team member to set daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals and review progress on a regular basis with review meetings and coaching.
For example, a sales development rep might have a daily goal of making 60 cold calls per day and setting 20 demos per week. Their stretch goal could be 75 daily cold calls and 25 demos. A sales rep might have a monthly goal of closing 10 new deals or generating $150,000 in new business each year, with stretch goals of 12 new deals and $200,000 in new business revenue.
“I am a business owner who believes the best way to motivate your sales team is to set goals and focus on purpose. Give meaning to the sale. Share insights on the benefits to the client and give them a feeling of ownership and entrepreneurship with the clients and their independence that yields financial success. Inspire your sales team to think of their sales as their own business and the ability to earn more revenue as a direct result of their hard work and focus. Once the goals are set and the sales team members feel empowered and inspired, the results will start flowing.”
—Deborah Sweeney, CEO, MyCorporation.com
4. Create Sales Contests
Most people who thrive in sales are competitive, so having regular contests is an excellent way to boost motivation. Get creative with the contests you hold and make it fun.
For instance, you could have a contest with sales development reps for 30 minutes to see who can set the most demos while making cold calls, with the winner getting $50 in cash or a cold call. It’s worth the investment if it results in a new customer being won. You can also have monthly contests with sales reps to see who closes the most deals or generates the most revenue. The winner could get a cash prize or a half-day off work.
5. Utilize Gamification for Sales Reps
There are tons of sales gamification software apps that make measuring sales performance fun to increase motivation. They offer things like badges, performance levels, prizes, and interactive leaderboards that keep team members engaged by sharing the highlights with the entire team.
For example, Hoopla is a gamification app that uses data from your CRM such as Salesforce to create interactive leaderboards that showcase the highlights of team members and ranks the performance of sales reps on any external display or mobile device. You can even host competitions where two sales reps can compete against one another—or example, who can set the most demos in an hour.
“As long as everyone can be placed on the same level playing field, a leaderboard may provide motivation among sales teams. The competitive nature in most people drives them to push a little harder when they can see how they perform against others. A leaderboard can be a fun way to motivate sales personnel and teams to perform. However, it is important that the sales challenges are equal, otherwise, the results will be biased and deflating.”
—Michael Drake, Principal, PMG Home Loans
6. Let Team Members Choose Their Rewards
When rewarding high performance, letting team members choose their own rewards fosters a sales culture of autonomy and gives sales reps a sense of control. Money talks, but it’s not always what people choose as a reward. For example, some people might enjoy an extra day off work, but some might prefer a gift card to their favorite store or restaurant.
Other creative reward ideas include having lunch with the CEO or having someone clean a sales rep house as a reward—you could even reward them with babysitting services for a night. You can also consider using a company like Snappy that allows employees to choose their own rewards from a list of options and have it sent directly to their home.
7. Get in the Trenches With Your Sales Team
Sales managers (and even the CEO) should be willing to get in the trenches with their sales teams and do the “dirty work.” For example, if you are having a 30-minute contest to see who can set the most demos, participate with them. If you generate a lot of demos, offer to do some of them with the sales reps or help them with closing.
Getting in the trenches with your sales teams shows you’re willing to lead by example and work collaboratively to get things done. It creates a culture of trust and unity that helps sales teams thrive.
8. Have Fun With Motivation
Making motivation fun promotes team bonding by making things playful. Sales can be an intense environment, so having fun lightens things up a bit. Set a goal for the sales team, and if they achieve it the sales manager or CEO has to do karaoke in front of everyone or, dress in pajamas for a day. Or, they might have to perform a dance skit for the sales team.
You should also have regular offsite events to foster rapport and team building. People work better with others they like. Sales managers can reward the sales team by taking them on a group activity like bowling or to an escape room.
9. Track Small Wins
Especially if you have long sales cycles, staying motivated can feel difficult. On a given day each week, ask each sales team member to write down everything positive that happened that day. It could be a positive step forward with a customer, closing a new deal, working together productively with a coworker, or a new closing technique they learned.
At the end of the day, have a quick meeting and have each team member share their small wins for the day. This helps keep everyone motivated and spirits high when you focus on the positive, even if the business is having a rough month.
10. Give Public Rewards and Recognition
Everyone loves to be recognized publicly and receive recognition in front of their peers. Name an MVP of the week and give small rewards and prizes on a regular basis—even something as a printed certificate or an MVP plaque that moves to a different sales team member each week.
You can also give public kudos at regular sales team meetings to recognize team members’ efforts. It’s also effective to send emails to the entire team recognizing individual or team high performance or big wins.
“A great technique is to incorporate recognition into your team culture. Setting aside time to celebrate when goals are met is a great way to further motivate team members. Be careful to not make this an unhealthy competition—too much interpersonal competition can lead to a lack of team collaboration. Rather focus more attention on things the team has accomplished together.”
—Nikola Baldikov, Digital Marketing Manager, Brosix
11. Encourage Transparency Among the Sales Team
CEO’s and sales managers should have an open-door policy to create a transparent sales culture where everyone feels like their voice can be heard. Explain why you do tasks a certain way to foster buy-in and be open to trying new things. This also gives sales team members autonomy over their work when they feel like they are able to try different sales strategies to discover what works best for them.
12. Offer Unique Perks
To help motivate employees, take your perks beyond offering health insurance. You can help motivate your sales team with wellness programs such as offering a stipend for a gym membership. You can even set up a meditation room in the office. I once worked in a high-pressure sales environment at a startup and having a meditation room to de-stress helped me stay motivated and calm much more than I expected.
Other motivating unique perks include things like offering a book allowance and employee discounts at local companies. Many employees also greatly appreciate child care assistance programs.
13. Have an Annual Performance Recognition Party
Create rewards for high achievers that indicate they’ve put in hard work overtime. For example, if someone reaches a sales milestone like bringing in the highest revenue in the entire company for the year, create a President’s Club to give them a plaque and a cash reward.
Create several categories and host an annual performance recognition party to give out the rewards and publicly thank team members for their hard work. Depending on your culture, it could be a backyard barbecue or a fancy gala—it’s up to you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the common reasons sales teams burn out?
Sales is a stressful, high-pressure environment because sales team members are responsible for bringing in revenue that keeps the business running. Sales reps often burn out when they aren’t motivated due to long hours, not closing enough deals, and a lack of support.
How does motivating sales reps increase sales?
When people feel motivated, they are happier—and when your sales team is happier, they do better at work. Motivated sales reps feel recognized and empowered to do their best work, so they are more likely to feel confident, work productively, and close more deals.
Why is a focus on motivating sales teams important?
Motivating sales teams isn’t something that comes naturally in most businesses. With a focus on the bottom line, motivation can often get left behind, especially in stressful times. It’s key for sales managers to focus on intentional motivation even when things aren’t going as well as they hope to keep morale up and create a sales culture where people feel supported and appreciated.
The Bottom Line – Sales Team Motivation
Knowing how to motivate your sales team is a critical aspect of running a successful small business. Sales managers and CEO’s can use these best practices to help motivate employees, reward their efforts, and create an engaging sales culture where every sales team member feels confident and empowered to do their best work.
Using a customer relationship management program helps create transparency and trust in sales team—and even fosters some healthy competition. With Salesforce Essentials, every team member has a 360 view of each opportunity, plus they can track conversations, documents, and more. Visit its website today to sign up for a 30-day free trial.