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Five ways to inspire sales motivation

May 11, 2022

Written by: William Johnson, Division VP, Sales and Channel
(View Author Bio)

Motivation is sometimes defined as the general desire or willingness of someone to do something. For some people, motivation comes naturally; it’s intrinsic. For others, it’s extrinsic; they need a little help.

Here are five keys to driving motivation in your organization.


Motivation is a huge factor in generating success from your sales and channel programs. The question is, how do you inspire and cultivate the motivation your sales team needs?


Here are five keys to inspiring and driving motivation in the workplace:


  • Set goals.

  • Celebrate milestones.

  • Provide feedback.

  • Use rewards to empower problem-solving and learning.

  • Experiment and learn from data.

Knowing these are effective ways to motivate people, how do you put them into motion? Running a sales incentive program is a great way to combine all five of these tools to bring you success.

Turn goals into action.

Sales incentive programs are a great way to bring your sales goals alive. By offering incentives to your sales force in exchange for the completion of specific tasks, you will increase their motivation and give them clear objectives to work toward. Leveraging points-based or non-monetary incentives allows you more flexibility in rules structures (Break the Bank, Do This Get That, etc.) and sales reward options (merchandise, airfare, hotels, experiences, etc.). These types of incentives have been proven to drive greater inspiration and results both with direct sales teams and in the channel space.

Celebrate wins and achievements.

Sales incentives should also build in recognition celebrations when your sales team achieves their goals. Offering incentives with non-monetary awards allows your achievers to choose a reward that’s personally inspiring and something they’re willing to work hard to earn. The power of choice is a big motivator that will help them reach their goals.

Provide impactful feedback.

While positive reinforcement is a solid tool for keeping your sales force motivated and engaged, attaching a little something extra with the praise can amplify the experience. Including a small reward in the form of a merchandise item can get your sales team to stand up and take notice. Positive feedback with something extra helps to show you’re committed to helping them succeed.

Reward problem solving and learning.

Innovation and process improvement are other areas where incentives can spur new thinking in an organization. When your sales team goes the extra mile to solve problems and learn more effective ways to complete their goals, they deserve to be recognized and rewarded for their efforts, as well as empowered to continue moving forward. Streamlining incentives through industry-leading platforms and tools can help make the recognition process seamless for your sales team — and lighten the load for those managing the incentives.

Use data to grow.

Along with rewarding your achievers with award choice and efficiency, you’ll also want to leverage data that allows you to experiment, steer, optimize and learn from your sales incentive program. Use the data you have at various levels to help understand the following:

  • Need to know: Basics of engagement i.e., how many people are logging in, how many claims have been submitted, etc.

  • Want to know: What levers can I pull to get the most out of my program?

  • Wish to know: Future-oriented i.e., I wish I knew which employees were going to leave, I wish I knew which partners were going to be the best, etc.

  • Know that I know: The lessons learned during the analytics process and from the final results can trigger new, often more-focused business questions.


Motivation is sometimes defined as the general desire or willingness of someone to do something. For some people, motivation comes naturally; it’s intrinsic. For others, it’s extrinsic; they need a little help. If you think of that help as a gentle nudge toward the right destination, the five keys to driving motivation are the road signs that will get them there.


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William Johnson

William Johnson

Division Vice President
Sales and Channel

As Vice President of BI WORLDWIDE’s Sales & Channel Engagement Group, William Johnson's primary focus is to develop sales and channel engagement strategies and solutions that change the behaviors of sales people, distributors, dealers and channel sales representatives. An expert in sales incentive strategy, he educates sales professionals around the world on how to best engage their sales force through sales engagement strategies, solutions and best practices.