Master the Art of Motivating Your Sales Team With These 20 Strategies

SalesHow to Motivate a Sales Team -- 20 Strategies to Try at Your Small Business

If you want to increase sales for your small business, you need a great sales team behind you. But even the best of sales teams get into slumps now and then. That’s where this list of great motivations come in.

How to Motivate a Sales Team

To keep your sales team operating at their best, you need to motivate them. There are several different methods you can turn to — here are 20 of the top ones.

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Build Team Trust

First and foremost, you need to have your team’s trust if you want any request from you to be taken seriously. That means you need to be transparent with them, sharing what you expect of them and what you’ll do to support them. Then you need to actually follow through with those things to earn their trust.

It also helps if you can build trust among the members of your sales team so that they also trust each other. Make clear that you want to create an environment of transparency and encourage open communication among all the members of your team.

Make the Meaning Clear

A Harvard Business Review study found that people who find meaning in their work are more likely to take ownership over it. And that, of course, has a major impact on performance.

To make this type of meaning clear to your sales team, be open with them about how their work impacts your business, and how, in turn, that impacts them. For instance, if making a major sale could help your company secure a big investor, that could make it more clear to your team that what they do actually matters on a big scale.

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Document Customer Successes

Another way to share the meaning in your work is to show how sales impact customers. Create case studies or customer success stories to share with your team, especially the ones who worked with those customers. Or even share thank you notes or positive comments with them.

Track Daily Wins

Recognition is, of course, a major factor when it comes to motivating a team. But if you wait around for big wins to recognize when someone has done a great job, you leave the door open for people to fall into bad habits. Instead, create a routine of recognizing things that your sales team has done well each day or week. That way, you never forget to share your thanks for those little wins.

Recognize Your Sales Team Publicly

It can also be a good strategy to recognize your sales team publicly, rather than just in a meeting or company newsletter. Thank team members who have done exceptional work at events or even on your website for a little extra dose of motivation.

Set Clear Goals

When motivating a sales team, it’s also paramount that you make it clear exactly what you want to motivate them to do. Of course you want more sales — but get more specific than that. Are you looking to move a certain type of product? Are you looking to hit a specific number by the end of the quarter? Set really specific goals for individuals and/or your team as a whole.

Encourage Team Unity

Setting overall goals for your team to hit within a certain time frame can also help you create a supportive and motivating environment. Say you want to hit a certain dollar amount in sales by the end of the quarter. Put up a display in your office to track the team’s progress and let each person share their wins at the end of each day or week. Then they can all congratulate and encourage one another throughout the process.

Host a Sales Contest

But you can also benefit from creating a healthy competition between the members of your sales team. Set a clear objective and offer a prize for the person who achieves that objective first. There are plenty of different formats you can use to motivate your sales team in your own unique way.

Let Your Team Set Their Rewards

When it comes to contests or rewards, no one knows what will motivate your team more than your actual team. So ask them what rewards they want for sales contests or objectives rather than just offering some generic prize.

Learn Your Team’s Goals

It can also help if you know what your team members want to accomplish in their own professional lives. You might have some team members who are satisfied remaining in sales and just want to make as much commission as possible. And others might be more interested in moving into management or other roles. If you know what those goals are, you can better tailor rewards and future opportunities to those individuals.

Provide Growth Opportunities

For that matter, providing opportunities for promotions or professional growth can be a great motivation factor. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to offer promotions for everyone who reaches a certain number of sales. But you could also provide opportunities for them to attend events or networking opportunities or to add new skills to their resumes for the future.

Invest in Coaching and Education

You can also bring in coaches or provide opportunities for your sales team to attend courses so that they can continue to grow professionally. Those opportunities can serve as rewards, but they can also teach your team members valuable skills that they can then apply to their work at your business.

Create Happy, Healthy Employees

No matter what kind of rewards or contests you offer, your team isn’t going to work as efficiently as possible if your team isn’t happy and healthy. So you could consider starting an employee wellness program, encouraging regular breaks or vacations or just making sure your team has sufficient health benefits to maintain healthy lifestyles.

Recognize Individual Skills

Each member of your sales team has different strengths and weaknesses. Where one might excel in making cold calls, another might work better with clients who like to meet in person. If you recognize those skills, you can better apply them when you assign tasks to that you set up your team for a better chance at success.

Don’t Disrupt Important Tasks

Once your sales team is motivated, the worst thing you can do is disrupt or distract them. So try to avoid sticking them with extra work that isn’t related to their main sales objective. And don’t distract them with a lot of non-essential meetings or other items that break up the workday.

Automate or Outsource Administrative Tasks

Additionally, all of those little admin tasks that often accompany making sales can sometimes weigh on your team. You might not be able to hire extra people to handle those tasks, but if you can invest in any automation systems or outsource some of those tasks to others, it could help your sales team stay on task.

Use Data to Identify Weaknesses

Big data can provide a lot of insights that you might find helpful when looking for ways to improve your sales team. For instance, your analytics platform might indicate that certain team members are more effective when under pressure at the end of the quarter. Or maybe your whole team works better when you try out a different management structure.

Host Offsite Outings

To help your team work better together, spending some time together outside the office can be beneficial. You could go the traditional team building route. Or if your team is not too into that idea, simply going to a local happy hour or casual dinner can be just as effective.

Ask for Input

You can’t hope to motivate your team as efficiently as possible unless you actually get some input from your team. Ask them, as a group and individually, how you can best motivate them. What are they looking for in a workplace and in the rewards you provide?

Lead By Example

And of course, the best way to let your team know what you expect from them is to show them. Be an example of the type of worker you want at your company, in terms of work ethic, attitude and motivation.

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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

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