3 Effective Ways to Keep Your Sales Team Motivated

Kourtney Kirton
May 19, 2020

It’s crucial to keep your sales team's spirits up and continue to help them reach personal and company goals. Here are some tips to do that!

The actual definition of the word motivate is to “provide (someone) with a reason for doing something.” But in reality, do you always give a reason to your team as to why they should do something? Or if you do, is it really understood and accepted by everyone?

In times like these, it’s crucial that your sales team keeps their spirit up and continues to push towards their personal goals and company goals. But if they’re lacking the “why” - a.k.a. the reason for doing something - you could run into trouble. Mindless tasks and unrealistic expectations can quickly quash motivation and passion.

Have no fear. We have a couple tips for you to keep your team’s motivation up and running, even in times of a pandemic.

1. Treat your team like a portfolio of investments - no two are the same!

No two companies, investments, or people are exactly alike - that is a commonly known principle. So why treat your salespeople like an indistinguishable herd of sheep?

Everyone responds variably to feedback, training, leadership, and more. Each of your salespeople falls into a different category of personality and therefore requires a different approach to all kinds of activities. One tip is to have your whole team take a personality test - we recommend 16 Personalities - and compare and discuss the results. You’ll find out that one person may be very responsive to direct feedback, where two others do not respond well based on their personality type.

In addition, each of your salespeople will respond differently to various commission options. Some do well with commission ceilings, whereas others work harder when there isn’t one imposed. Take that notion into account when setting up your compensation packages, and if you want more information on this subject, we suggest checking out Hubspot’s Ultimate Guide to Sales Compensation.

Every person on your team is an investment. And it’s much better to find out what makes them tick sooner rather than later - this will help motivate them in the future!

2. Don’t overwhelm them with bureaucracy & tools

It kind of goes without saying that no one really enjoys bureaucratic processes. Salespeople included. Unfortunately, the department of sales has become quite overwhelmed with bureaucracy and, in result, tools that try and make these processes “more efficient.”

Take a CRM program such as Salesforce. In the beginning, the core idea was to streamline, organize, and bring transparency to sales teams about their deals, contacts, and opportunities. But as the years have passed, it has only become a burden to salespeople rather than a blessing. Today, there are many tools that try to take salespeople out of their CRM and into something else that is less confusing than what they had. There are still requirements for a salesperson when it comes to their CRM, but now they have 2 tools to complete that task. And as the sales process continues to evolve and get more complex, more tools are added to the mix.

This can be extremely overwhelming. Especially for new hires. In our recent study, we found that 1 in 2 salespeople are overwhelmed with tools - even seasoned sales professionals! When a person feels overwhelmed or like they’re wasting their time with boring processes, they quickly become demotivated.

So, in order to combat these feelings while still getting done what needs to be done, our tip is to perform a bi-yearly tool audit. Your company likely does this in many other areas - marketing content, finance, product, etc. But it’s also crucial to do it for your sales tools.

Write down an extensive list of all the tools your company has or pays for, including what it is used for, how often it’s used, and give it an overall score. Then cut those tools at the bottom of the list. Sounds easy enough, and this will keep your list of tools organized and concise. It’s also alright if you don’t cut anything, but this just means you should take extra care that the entire team knows the value of every tool you use.

It also is a great way for you to determine areas where you may be missing a proper tool or uncover opportunities to use one tool that does more than just one task. Take an in-call assistant like Ciara for example. This could replace your transcriber, note-taking tool, sales playbooks, and more because it has all the features you need in one! On top of that, it automatically pushes information to your CRM and even lets you update specific fields. This way, moving back and forth between your CRM before and after every call becomes unnecessary. Just ensure that any tool you add will fit into your workflow and enhance your existing processes.

3. Set goals & reward excellence

Setting goals and rewarding your team when they reach certain goals is a tried and true way to motivate your team. What many team leads fail to consider goes back to our first tip, in that every person is different and is motivated by various goals and rewards.

Determining realistic, SMART goals is the first step. Goals should be set after discussion amongst the team and the managers (together) so that the whole team finds them achievable. The idea of reaching goals can also give some people the feeling of competition - which helps the company’s bottom line. But remember, it’s also important to talk individually to your team members to understand their expectations on a more personal level. Taking into account both the team and the individual aspect of goal-setting will benefit the entire team and company.

Finally, the best and easiest way to find out what is going to motivate your team is to ask them, straight up. If your team is small enough, you may be able to ask them each individually what would be a satisfactory reward for them each quarter. If not, send out a poll or survey to your team to ensure that they are finding the rewards you’re offering up-to-date and motivating. Nothing is worse than handing out a bonus check to someone who really just wants a couple extra vacation days to visit family!

With these tips under your belt, take a look at your current methods of motivating your team and make sure they’re appropriate - both for the team as a whole and individually. Feedback, open discussions, and transparency in all of these areas is crucial, so keep talking to your team!

If you introduce a new tool, make it a necessity and make sure you train every employee on it. If you change the compensation structure, make sure you aren’t leaving a majority of your team scratching their heads wondering why it changed. Not everyone will speak up when they’re unmotivated, and it will only cost you in the end!

Looking for the perfect tech stack for your sales team? Check out our perfect tech stack for remote (and all other) sales teams.

Originally published May 19, 2019, updated Nov 10, 2020