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How to Motivate Your Sales Team

Posted by Tony Cole on Fri, Jun 14, 2024

Most sales managers say that one of their greatest challenges is their ability to motivate and set goals for their salespeople. If a sales manager can figure out what makes their people “tick,” they can better help them hit their goal numbers. Sales motivation seems like hard work because salespeople often value different things. There are, however, several steps a sales manager can take to establish a motivating environment.

Create a Motivating Environment

The first step to motivating your sales team is to recognize that motivation is an “inside-out’ job. When the topic of motivation is discussed, we typically think about incentive compensation, sales contests, and recognition programs. All of these certainly encourage sales teams to focus on generating new business because these are rewards. However, you will gain true engagement and enthusiasm if you create an everyday environment that encourages each individual to identify and visualize their own internal motivation.

Salespeople do not care about corporate shareholder value unless they are shareholders themselves. What they care about is food, shelter, clothing, recognition, paying for college education or a wedding, buying a vacation home, etc. These are personal desires and make up the vast majority of things that are important to people. Therefore, the solution is to create an environment where this internal motivation can take place. See The Dream Manager book by Michael Kelly.

A salesperson’s motivation is one of five key factors that make up their Will to Sell. The Will to Sell Competencies measure a salesperson's overall drive to achieve success in sales. Without strong Will to Sell, it is difficult for an individual to change their habits or learn new skills. When hiring or developing salespeople, a manager must uncover how motivated they are to succeed in selling. We recommend a sales assessment by Objective Management Group, the pioneer and leader in the industry.

How to Set Motivational Goals for your Salespeople

The next step to motivating your sales team is to help your salespeople identify what is important to them, their goals. Make the effort to set up time off-site that is dedicated to planning and spend time developing each individual’s dreams and goals. This is time that you and they will spend ON your business instead of in it.

Create a process where people can establish personal goals because this is where true motivation, passion, and desire are born. Hence, it is from this process that each salesperson’s business plan must evolve.

You might position this process as though you are the coach and the salespeople are players on a competitive baseball team. Each of you has a part to play so that the whole team wins. When someone objects to the dream building exercises by saying something like “You are just going to provide a goal for me anyway so why do I have to do this?,” tell him that, as with a baseball team, each player must excel at his job so that the team can win and go to playoffs. Salespeople will understand this. If someone does not get this, he or she may not be suited for selling. Selling requires desire, commitment, and a need to win. Selling is a competition.

Create an environment where people get a chance to unplug, sit down and outline their goals and dreams; a time when both of you can establish timeframes and attach financial values to these items. Once you have attached financial values, you will know what level of prospecting and selling activity is necessary for each salesperson.

Create a Process to Track your Team’s Sales Success

It is not enough just to establish goals. A strong manager will create accountability measures to track performance along the way. We recommend holding weekly Huddles that are focused on the burning platform metrics that will drive success. Each company must establish what those metrics are. All must be present for the Huddle and report on the 4-6 metrics. This provides transparency of effort and success and provides you, the coach, with the essential real-time information you need to determine who needs coaching and in what areas.

Don’t forget to reward your people when they have a success. At our company, we have a big bell in the hallway that we ring every time we bring in a new relationship. It is LOUD and that is just the way we want it! As your people go through this process and identify their goals; as you sit down and establish your own personal and team goals, be sure to specify how you will reward and recognize your people as each of them achieve these goals.


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Topics: Sales Training, motivating sales people, sales training tips


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    About our Blog

    Anthony Cole Training Group has been working with financial firms for close to 30 years helping them become more effective in their markets and closing their sales opportunity gap.  ACTG has mastered the art of using science-based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss our weekly sales management blog insights from our team of expert contributors.


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