Best Practices for Motivating Your Sales Force

Getting your sales team motivated ¬- and keeping them that way – ranks among the most significant challenges that any business owner has to deal with. Your bottom line is directly tied to your staff’s performance. Moreover, their performance is intimately connected to their sense of motivation.

Ask each member of your staff how he or she would most like to be rewarded for high performance, and you will likely find that motivation is different for each individual. A parent of young children might prefer extra time off as opposed to extra money. Another employee might want to be compensated with perks such as a big-screen television or a vacation to a favorite sporting locale. When you understand how much these preferences can vary, you will be able to be far more strategic about your rewards programs.

Reward your team for milestones both big and small, even if the reward is as simple as an email thanking them for a job well done. Don’t underestimate the value of acknowledgment and appreciation.

Ensure that your team members know that you are looking out for them. They should have the necessary time and logistical support, particularly during peak selling seasons, to be able to focus completely on their performance.

Ask your staff to set their own goals, and they will be more likely to take ownership of them. Work with them to establish targeted sales lists, stretch beyond their current abilities, and create long-term plans for success.

Make sure your commission schedule rewards those behaviors you most want to see from your team. Keep the reward plan simple and easy to understand, and lead regular meetings to discuss the terms of the plan to make sure everyone understands it.

Defuse potential conflicts by promoting team-building. Make sure that staff members who handle competing territories get to know and respect one another. Give them a chance to engage with one another’s ideas and build mutual trust. In addition, ensure that your sales team’s manager is not in competition with his or her own direct reports. A manager who is also a salesperson is likely to focus more on taking the best prospects for him or herself and concentrate less on being an effective manager.