10 years ago
January 5, 2015

How to Encourage Sales People

The following ideas will help sales managers and executives understand the basics behind encouraging sales people.

Rhys Metler

It takes more than a good compensation plan to encourage sales people, since if all that were required were a healthy salary sales managers would not be required to consistently find new ways to reach, motivate, and encourage sales people. Reach is an operative word in these circumstances, since even the strongest sales manager will not be able to encourage sales people who do not want to be motivated; first a sales manager must connect with what sales people need and expect. The following ideas will help sales managers and executives understand the basics behind encouraging sales people.

Communicate While You Encourage Sales People to Keep Morale High

Good sales team morale is the foundation for any and all motivation that sales people receive. If the sales team’s morale is negative or low, this will have a drag effect on anything you do to encourage sales people. Supporting high morale can be difficult for sales managers since there is much going on with a sales team personally and professionally, not all of which a sales manager can control or even be in a position to be aware of. However, using best practices such as the following can help sales managers foster positive morale throughout the sales team:

  • Keep the lines of communication between sales people, managers, and executives open at all times
  • Set a standard where positive attitudes and positive results are recognized and rewarded
  • Tailor one-on-one or small group meetings to encourage sales people to the attitudes and working styles of the sales people present
  • Be sure to keep sales people updated on changes to the business, especially where those changes may have an impact on the sales team

Encourage Sales People by Responding to Suggested Incentives

If you really want to know the top ways to encourage sales people, asking your sales team what incentives would provide the strongest motivation to push sales higher is the best way to find out. By asking each individual member of your sales team what they would find the most encouraging incentives, you may come up with surprising answers you would not have come across otherwise. For example:

  • A telecommuting privilege granted based on performance might motivate better than more traditional merchandise incentives
  • Where possible, personalized incentives that allow sales people who achieve results to choose their reward can be more effective than “one size fits all” methods of encouragement
  • Mixing individual incentives with group incentives to support an environment of team success may give team-oriented individuals greater encouragement

Create a Consistently Winning Culture to Encourage Sales People

Sales people thrive on competition, so if your sales people are not being encouraged to compete a significant motivational tool is laying unused. Occasional contests are the most frequent way that organizations leverage competition to encourage sales people, but the encouragement provided by competition can go much further when it is made a part of the company culture. Just three examples of ways to create competition in a culture of winning to encourage sales people are:

  • Internal competitions to reach new goals for the sales your organization wants to see
  • External competitions to benchmark progress against other industry players, with possible compensation tie-ins
  • Personal competitions to break previous sales numbers
  • Small team competitions based on the sales of 2-5 individuals competing against other teams in key performance areas

One reason that strategies to encourage sales people fail is inconsistency. If incentives and motivational programs are only rolled out once in awhile to push a new offering or to save backsliding sales from reaching a critical point, no one on your sales team is being pushed to constantly do better. Yet instituting a strategy to constantly encourage sales people to do better is the only way to continually improve sales. To be successful with your tactics to encourage sales people, make encouraging the sales team a regular part of your corporate culture.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.