Regardless of the industry, most companies depend on some form of sales people to generate revenue. However, motivating sales people can be a difficult task, especially with increased performance pressure from market competition. Here are three ways that will help you improve your salespeople’s motivation.
Types of Sales People
According to the Harvard Business Review, there are different types of sales people: stars, laggards and core performers. Stars tend to consistently excel, but do not deal well with micromanaging or capping commissions. Laggards needs structured guidance with customized incentives and consequences. They respond to pace-setting goals and react when their quarterly bonuses are lost due to poor performance. Core performers require limited oversight and instead, simply need appropriate support and incentives. Research has shown that core performers respond well to tiered targets with room for additional tiers. Prizes work best for star sales people, who love to outperform others. Most important, companies should take into account individual differences when creating financial incentives.
These timeless methods still have their merits and can sway low performing sales people to improve their numbers. A basic incentive is free gifts or merchandise. While it could be a gas card or sports paraphernalia, be sure to offer a few options. Even better, offer fun toys, games and gadgets. Work perks are relatively inexpensive and are considered a high-status reward. For example, reserved parking and special office privileges are great motivators. On a higher level, prepaid golf outings, vacation packages and sports event tickets are all highly sought after incentives.
Educational and Career Incentives
Not all sales people are motivated by money or fame. Consider offering alternative incentives, such as career development opportunities. These are mutually beneficial because the employee will increase their salary and personal investment in the company, which will benefit from a more dedicated and competent employee. As part of this, offer reimbursement for conferences and school tuition. Offering the highest performing sales people a chance to move up will inspire laggards and allow you to transfer star performers into supervisory positions where they can teach and motivate others.
In addition to this, consider offering group incentives, such as a team dinner or vacation, which will promote bonding and teamwork. Even better, offer the incentive to the sales person’s whole family. This will motivate the sales person’s spouse and children to provide support and encouragement. Consider implementing an Oscar like awards ceremony that focuses on public recognition as the reward. Finally, try a Fantasy Sales Team approach with dashboards and leader boards.
In the end, a mix of both traditional and non-traditional incentive methods are best. While everyone loves free gifts of bonuses, being paid to attend a sports game or take a vacation with the family are excellent options. Forbes magazine offers advise on the advantages and disadvantages of different incentive plans here.