Sales Managers – How to Keep Your Sales Team Motivated

Keeping a sales team motivated is a challenge, even for the best sales managers. However, the shrewd use of incentives can help enormously. Here are three ways to keep your sales team motivated, through the proper use of incentives:

  1. Use incentives to reward proven best sales practices
  2. Proven best practices can sometimes be hard to acquire, especially if the salesperson has a selling background in a different industry, where different habits were helpful. A good sales manager can help their salespeople make the transition to the new industry by rewarding sales behaviors which are more industry-specific, and which they know to result in positive sales results. Incentives may also be used when your salespeople avoid those behaviors which can kill the sale.

  3. Use incentives to encourage new or tedious (yet necessary) behaviors
  4. Especially in sales involving major accounts, the sales cycle between the start and end of the sale may be very long. Since some salespeople may become unmotivated by the lack of results from the early steps in the sales process, it is worth including incentives to help salespeople get through these early, perhaps more tedious steps. Once you do so, it is more likely that your salespeople will make it to the final stages of the sale, resulting in more opportunities to close business. Other new behaviors may be the result of sales training; since it takes a few weeks of practice to integrate these into sales practice, incentives may help your sales force continue using them until improved results are noticed. For best results, make the reward follow the new behavior as soon as possible, so that the two are associated with each other.

  5. Use incentives to counteract negative aspects of the sales process
  6. In every sales job, there will be some aspects which are not enjoyable for the sales force. Perhaps your industry includes charge-backs for sales which never go through, particularly if your sales force is paid advance commissions on sales. An incentive which keeps salespeople’s spirits up, perhaps for persisting and getting good sales results despite the setbacks, can be a useful motivating tool as well. While you do not want to encourage focusing on the negatives of the job, you can motivate your sales force more by showing them that you support their ability to overcome problems. This can sometimes be the difference between salespeople persisting through the tough times, or quitting to work elsewhere.

Quite simply, when you use incentives to reward known best practices, to encourage new behaviors, and to overcome negative hardships, it is possible to keep your sales force highly motivated. This, in turn, yields greater efforts from salespeople, and more top line revenues for your firm.

Copyright 2010, by Marc Mays