Do You Know These Secrets to Motivating Your Team Members?

BY Kathy Crosett
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Picture your sales team, hard at work. They’re making calls, planning their prospecting strategy and tweaking their presentations. With luck, they’ll make their numbers this year. Could they do even better? If you understand their motivation, it’s entirely possible.

Motivating Factors

Sales managers like to think that their team members are engaged because they believe in the product and mission of the company. Some sales reps truly are motivated by company mission. Walter Kurzrock, writing for SellingPower, mentions a few other motivators: money, opportunity and visibility. If you have a rep who craves visibility on your team, you’ll need to praise them in front of everyone else if you want them to perform at their best. Sales reps who seek opportunity need something entirely different. They might want to have your job some day. Or, they could be hoping you’ll give them a key account to work on because they enjoy the challenge.

C. Lee Smith, president and CEO of SalesFuel, says sales managers should pay attention to several other details to understand motivation. For example, reps do best when their position matches their skill set. If you got reps who possess natural hunting abilities — going out and looking for prospects — you probably won’t want to put them in a job that requires managing customer service issues. Remember that people will work harder when they enjoy what they're doing. 

How to Uncover True Motivation

Too many managers believe that motivating sales reps with money will lead to successful performance. That’s not always true. Reps like the lifestyle that high earnings will bring. If you’re trying to motivate an individual to work a little harder, you should understand what they like to spend money on. Do you know if they spend their weekends skydiving? Are they saving to travel to Africa for a dream vacation? This kind of information can help you craft a meaningful incentive package.

How can you determine exactly what motivates each individual on your team? Kurzrock recommends watching them to see where they perform best. He also suggests talking with each rep during one-​on-​one meetings to get this information. These suggestions can help, but you might miss important details using this approach. You could also use a comprehensive assessment system like TeamTrait™. Designed for job applicants and sales team members, this data-​driven platform measures and reports on seven primary motivators. With this information, you'll know exactly how to design a position and compensation package to get the most out of each team member.