Motivate Your Sales Team

A sales manager must continually look for ways to motivate a sales staff. Salespeople are subject to extra pressures like quotas, market changes and new territories. If you are a sales manager looking to create a more motivating workplace, recognize that you have the ability to improve the work environment and increase your employee's sales. Proper motivation is equal parts support, recognition and reward. Learn to listen to your sales team and adjust their goals according to what matters most to them. Find out how to motivate your sales team.


Improving Sales Environments

  1. Schedule meetings with your sales staff regularly. Instead of focusing on what they are doing wrong, make sure that some 1-on-1 meetings address their worries, pain points and work environment issues. You are likely to catch motivation problems before they affect their season and quota, if you try to fix negative work pressures.
    • Ask your sales staff what motivates them during these meetings. You may find some salespeople respond to monetary rewards, while others respond to promotions or a supportive team environment. Take notes on what motivates each person.
  2. Train your salespeople. There are several ways to plan trainings to increase motivation.
    • Appoint salespeople to train their peers. This is an excellent way to recognize special skills in your salespeople and encourage interaction. Ask the salesperson to take a few hours from selling and plan a 1-hour training session about a topic they excel in.
    • Take a field trip. Use your contacts to find a manager who would be willing to have you watch their successful sales team. Consider making the place a sales floor for a different product or industry. For example, if your sales team needs to be more aggressive, take them to a conference where they can witness someone selling a product with a 30-second elevator speech. Return and ask them to write a new introduction speech.
    • Choose an outside consultant to train your salespeople. Pick your person very carefully. Make sure they are an expert, they have excellent time management skills and they are able to inject some humor into the training. Keep training sessions short and include a practice period with the guest speaker.
    • Appoint a mentor to train younger sales associates. This may help the younger staff work through the growing pains of a new job. Give the mentors incentives if the younger associates meet their sales goals. This is a great option for a workplace that requires team building.
  3. Invest in new sales tools. Make sure your CRM is enhancing the sales environment, rather than detracting from it. A good reporting, mass email or mobile app tool can increase a salesperson's efficiency, helping their sales goals and their motivation.
    • Most new websites and CRM require a training period. They can be easier for some salespeople to learn than others. Time the adoption of the tool to a low-stress point in the season.

Motivational Strategies

  1. Tailor your motivational plan to each employee. If you have the ability to adjust incentive schemes, use it. Each person is motivated differently, so choose 1 to 3 things that will help the salesperson work harder and put them in writing.
  2. Create a reasonable and effective commission structure. If few of your salespeople are meeting their quotas, you should review how well they are working to motivate employees. Reconsider caps on commissions or quotas, placing them at lower levels if the market has seen a drop or raising the commission levels in a market boom.
  3. Implement daily, weekly and monthly incentives. Offering a trip, day off, large gift card, coffee, free lunches or gym/club membership for the most sales in a week will encourage staff to go the extra mile. These interim bonuses can also help salespeople to meet their larger quotas by helping them hit milestones during the season.
    • Incentives also increase friendly competition. Competing on a daily basis for new leads or lead qualification can cause people to push each other to do better. Keep incentives at a value where they increase friendly competition but do not encourage sabotage.
  4. Create a personal goal. Keeping in mind what motivates each employee, tack on an incentive to their commission that applies to their desires. For example, if you know an employee has an anniversary, offer them 2 extra paid days of leave if they meet their goal.
  5. Encourage a team environment. Salespeople can often feel like they are alone, working toward a target. Create a team incentive where they are encouraged to help each other and share knowledge for a common goal.
  6. Recognize sales achievements. The time you take to congratulate someone on their hard work may decide how hard they work to reach their next quota. Consider these recognition strategies.
    • Congratulate them publicly. Bring up their achievement at sales meetings. Be as specific as possible with the details of their success. For example, say "Joe's ability to obtain referrals is exceptional. He has the highest referral rate in the company, which leads to him hitting his quotas. Joe can you tell us how you ask someone to refer you to their friends and associates?"
    • Write the person a note. Do not wait until their yearly review to give them recognition. Instead, send a letter to their house to tell them how valued they are, with a gift card for their family.
    • Introduce the person and their achievements to your bosses. Recognition in upper management is hard to get, especially if your sales staff sees high turnover. When someone surpasses goals, schedule meetings where they can meet with higher staff or invite them to sit in on a strategy meeting.


  • Beware of employees that are a motivational drain. People who have several unsuccessful sales seasons may talk to other employees and share their negative feelings about their job. Occasionally, adjustments in sales staff can increase overall motivation on your team.

Things You'll Need

  • 1-on-1 meetings
  • Training sessions
  • Mentoring
  • Sales tools/CRM
  • New commission structure
  • Daily/weekly/monthly incentives
  • Team incentives
  • Personal goals
  • Public recognition
  • Written recognition

Related Articles

  • Inspire Team Creativity

Sources and Citations