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Five ways to keep your sales teams' motivation high

Aug 06, 2017

Are you struggling to keep your sales teams' motivation and morale high? Is this having a detrimental impact on sales performance and KPIs?

In many cases, companies don’t address these issues head-on due to time constraints or lack of knowledge and understanding. If this vicious circle continues for too long, you might expect some hard-hitting questions from above, which in turn can decrease your own motivation as a sales manager.

All sounding familiar? BI WORLDWIDE has seen it many times. 

Usually it isn’t a case of what you’re doing wrong as a team leader; it’s simply what you’re NOT doing. Any sales manager will at some point experience this kind of decline in their business career. So where does a smart solution start to keep a company thriving? You’re thinking perhaps ‘free breakfast Friday’s’ will do the trick? Think again. Though this is a good tactic and a quick win to motivate in the short term, staff will soon switch off, lose interest and go buy breakfast themselves.

Behavioral economics proves that humans do things mostly because they want to rather because they have to, and that often we use the emotional (right) side of our brain for decision making. Research shows that 77% of our decisions are driven by emotions, not rational thinking; with just 23% of our behaviors driven by reason or logic.

So, knowing this, what’s the ideal solution? Unfortunately, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ because humans are complex. The first step is getting to know what will drive your sales team in the long term to keep them engaged, motivated and delivering results.

1. Emotional understanding.

Like it or not and no matter how we dress it up, we’re emotional creatures. Start by getting to know your sales team better and make note of: what their strengths are, what their weaknesses are, what they want to improve on, what their desires and ambitions are for the future. Arrange some fun team bonding activities where people express such thoughts and feelings. If this is too time consuming, try checking in with your staff in regular one-to-ones. Ultimately, understanding your team is something that can be challenging as they may say one thing but mean another. With the right kind of research, you’re one step closer.

2. Motivational tactics.

There are many motivational tactics you can use to keep your staff focused on their targets and one of which includes goal setting and rewarding. A proven theory that backs up this concept is the ‘Goal Gradient Hypothesis,’ where people ‘run’ faster the closer they are to the ‘finishing line.’ To engage your staff using this theory, you must ‘move the finish line’ by creating a series of small but realistic goals, mapping them out vividly and simply. This is so your staff will feel like the end goal is more achievable as they hit one target to the next; they’ll get excited and won’t lose interest. Plus, it works very well for visually minded people, who make up 65% of the population. *

A tactic that works hand in hand with the Goal Gradient Theory is the ‘Illusionary Goal Progress.’ This is where you encourage people by giving them a head start, so that their goals look and feel more achievable. People are more likely to make more of an effort and work harder the closer they are to a goal.

Communication throughout the goal setting is a key reminder, and at BIW, we help your staff keep their eyes on the prize and focused on hitting those targets. This can be very rewarding as a manager as you physically see your staff working harder and giving it their all to achieve. WOLDWIDE

3. ‘Pick ‘n’ Mix’.

Another great way of keeping your sales teams’ motivation high is by making rewards a mixed bag and appeal to people’s emotional side. What breath-taking, memorable experiences, once in a lifetime trips or items can you offer to keep them interested and thriving? Create Dream Rewards higher up the scale. What do your salespersons’ want to tick off their bucket list? What are their hobbies? If you’ve done your research well enough, watch your team as they excel to save up those points.

Something to bear in mind is that according to the ‘Say-Do Gap’ theory, we as humans tend to say one thing and mean another. An example of this is people may say they want cash rather than a reward but would soon forget about the cash and instead are envious of someone showing off their expensive watch or bragging about the trip to a fabulous destination they paid for using their points. Hedonic rewards work and they stick. It’s something we truly believe in at BIW.

4. Goals and rewards should be vivid and eye-catching.

Make the goals themselves vivid to remember and then the individual will have fond memories that reinforce good, positive feelings towards the company. It’s simple but effective. When it comes to your displaying mechanism to present the targets and rewards, people will lose interest if something is overcomplicated with too many words or too much high-end technology. Make it vibrant and stand out. Make it personable. A platform that makes the individual feel like you really know them. Their own little hideout - like a bucket list or wish list. Again, we tend to remember things that are graphic or dramatic.

5. Set up competitions - but be realistic.

Set up leader boards to get people talking, working and thriving. How you deliver this to your staff is key. Everyone should win something and feel rewarded for the work they’ve put in. If something is too hard they might not try as hard and let others take all the glory because it’s too much of a mountain to climb for them. Make the rewards attractive by ensuring that they seem equal to, or even better than, the amount of effort they put in to get it. Help them feel like they’re winning.

Learning about the way our minds work and tapping into human behaviors can have a big impact and make your sales spike. Based on some of the scientific theories mentioned above, BI WORLDWIDE can offer you a wide range of long term sales incentive solutions that will keep your sales team motivated and consistently hitting those targets, leaving you time to concentrate on the exciting stuff as well as your own development.

Want to know how you can create great Return on Investment on by working with BIW? Get in touch with us by phone at +1 954.800.0490 or by email


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