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9 Awesome Tips for How to Motivate Sales Teams

9 Awesome Tips for How to Motivate Sales Teams


Any veteran salesperson will tell you that being adequately motivated is imperative for closing deals. There are obviously other elements such as experience, social aptitude, process and product knowledge, but they all amount to nothing if your team isn’t engaged and doesn’t have the right motivations. Motivation is a hard beast to domesticate. It’s complex to control, difficult to summon at will and, very often, attempts to synthetically produce it can backfire and disengage employees.

In his research on motivation, Dan Arieli, Duke University Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics has asserted that extrinsic motivation such as monetary rewards can only motivate teams over a short period of time. In the long run motivation must feel natural and come from our deep human desires such as the longing for recognition and appreciation. When thinking about how to motivate sales teams we must be inventive and really understand what makes our people tick.

So, without further ado, here are 9 awesome tips for getting your sales team motivated and on track to breaking bank:

  1. Measure and Reward behaviors, not results – Give employees kudos and bonuses not only on the amount of deals they close but also on following up enough times on leads, recoding information on your CRM and doing good detective work prospecting potential clients. This will make sure your team has a clear path to success and make everyone have a shot at getting rewarded.
  2. Celebrate success – Don’t wait for a massive sale to show your team appreciation. On the contrary, celebrating small wins can drive motivation during slump times and keep employees engaged and eager on their day to day tasks. Make sure to pat your team members on the back for small successes like getting in touch with an unresponsive lead on the 5th attempt or finding a new champion with a stagnant opportunity that seemed to be going nowhere.
  3. Celebrate Success II – Celebrate your client’s success as well as your own. Ask clients for feedback, how they use your product and what results are they seeing. Share these stories with your team, send them in internal newsletters and post customer testimonials on your walls. Letting employees know the value of their product or service can be a strong source of motivation.
  4. Virtual Brainstorming – It takes a village to make a sale. Getting your team together to think about how to approach a certain client or how to structure your sales process will both tap into their team spirit and promote knowledge sharing. Research shows that virtual brainstorming (e.g. via social feeds or chats) is much more effective than physical as there is less likelihood of pushback, embarrassment or bias.
  5. Set clear goals – Being lost can feel stressful. Creating clear goals that are challenging yet obtainable will help your team know what they’re working for and what constitutes success. Once goals are in place all activities should naturally align. Goals should not be vague, e.g. make lots of sales. They should be short term and directive – e.g. bring 10 new clients from account X by the end of the quarter.
  6. Competitions – Many salespeople are naturally competitive so tapping into that can be great for motivation. Word of warning though – competition can be alienating if you feel there is no chance to win. Make sure to level the playing field, pitting employees against their equals or against relevant benchmarks. Also, competitions should be short and targeted to stay relevant.
  7. Positive exhibitionism – When your team members do something well, make sure everybody knows about it. In a company I once worked with, we had a large gong which anyone who made a sale was required to ring (regardless of the deal size). These activities, drive team spirit, boost positive competitiveness and make everyone feel a part of the company success.
  8. Give and request feedback – An open culture of feedback helps team members know they are appreciated and have some place to turn for coaching and support. Don’t wait till your annual review session to tell team members what you think or ask them how they want to be managed. Maintain an open channel of feedback so that your feedback remains relevant and actionable.
  9. Play games – Gamification, using game mechanics for work, is a great for motivating sales teams. Gamification systems help you set up competitions, provide context for feedback and help you celebrate success. These tools let you control your team’s activities without having them feel micromanaged. Adding game mechanics such as points, badges and leaderboards you can allow employees to take an active part in monitoring their own performance and inconspicuously nudge them towards desirable activities

To learn more about how to motivate sales teams with gamification watch this webinar with Nancy Nardin a sales veteran with over 30 years of sales and marketing expertise and Roni Floman, Centrical’s own VP of marketing and product evangelist.

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