5 Effective Ways to Incentivize Your Sales Team

Creating an environment that values growth and teamwork will create a cohesive unit that will be hard for your reps to live without.

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Keeping your sales team motivated is challenging but also absolutely necessary if you are going to build and sustain a viable pipeline of opportunities. These days, good salespeople are hard to come by, and turnover in the field is sky-high. It’s not easy to think of creative ways to keep your sales team happy, nor come up with new ways to incentivize them to keep going (especially when the going gets tough). So what can you do to ensure your sales team keeps their eyes on the prize?

Here are 5 effective ways to give your sales team the boost that it needs.

1Organize a Blitz Day (or Several!)

What is a blitz day? It’s a day when all of your sales reps spend one full day cold calling all at the same time, and becomes a kind of friendly competition (usually with prizes to win for the highest performers). The idea is to motivate your team to make as many calls as possible because there is no faster way to generate leads than by picking up the phone (and most sales reps usually try to avoid calling if they can help it). What’s great about a blitz day is that excitement is created around it, so the sales team is naturally energized to do their best. Of course, organizing a blitz day does take a certain amount of preparation in advance (building/cleansing data sets so that your sales team has accurate and sufficient volumes of prospects to call), but the heightened productivity, as a result, is absolutely worth it. Plus, by shaking up your sales team’s routine, you allow them to have fun thinking on their feet while breaking their false beliefs that phone outreach doesn’t work (spoil alert: it does if you do it right).

2Celebrate Progress, Not just the Sale

Most sales reps are wired to close contracts and they aren’t satisfied until it’s a done deal. But as sales cycles for software solutions are usually lengthy, it can be hard to make it to the finish line without giving up at some point during the process. Creating a team culture where you celebrate progress along the journey will help encourage your sales reps not to get discouraged. It will also make them feel better about what they are doing, so they are inspired to do more. And when people feel good about their jobs, they are motivated to stay. Celebrating can be as easy as taking time during a team meeting to have everyone share something they are grateful for or what they appreciate about something they are working on. These little “wins” can go a long way.

3Help Them Uplevel Their Skill-Set

Access to continued education for your team not only shows that you support them but it also creates a culture that favors a growth mindset. Sales can be like riding a roller-coaster ride, with highs and lows. If you want to build the resilience of your sales reps, their own sense of self-worth mustn’t be called into question when they have a lull in activity. This, for me, is one of the most fundamental reasons why salespeople quit: when the going gets rough, they get scared that they’re not good enough and quit before they can get fired. Yet so often, the fear of getting fired is completely irrational and their self-esteem does not need to be measured in this way. By giving them access to online learning resources and advanced training sessions, your sales team should be able to see the value in building their skill set over time (instead of relying solely upon an inherent talent). Learning new skills will help them get better and better at what they do and expand their current comfort zones. This, in turn, will motivate them to keep going, even when the going gets tough.

4Create a Mentorship Program

It has been proven that junior-level employees benefit most from having a mentor to guide them, who can lead by example. It is a fact that when you have someone to show you the way, it is easier for you to achieve your goals. Creating a work mentorship program will enable your junior sales team to benefit from the knowledge and experience of your more senior staff. It will have the added advantage of helping your senior sales reps feel significant through their contribution and will create a healthier team environment (instead of one based purely on one-upping the person next to you). A mentor can be like having an accountability buddy—someone who holds you to do what you say you will, yet without the fear of reprimand. It can create a win-win team environment and help improve performance all around.

5Don’t Underestimate the Power of Praise

At the end of the day, the best sales closers are absolutely motivated by money. And praising effort can be just as valuable. I used to have a boss whose philosophy was, “Why should I praise you for doing a good job when that’s what I pay you for in the first place?” While I understand this mindset, it is absolutely not what will help your sales team go beyond the call of duty. Being in service to potential customers and showing them the value your solution brings to them requires a higher level of dedication than just doing the minimum amount of work that “passes.” Getting a pat on the back for a job well done feels good, and that reward can often make or break the morale of your sales team.

Conclusion

Keeping your sales team motivated and incentivized is crucial in order to build, nurture, and convert opportunities consistently over time. Making sure your reps feel good about what they do means they see how their contribution is about more than just a signature on a contract. By creating an environment that values growth and teamwork, you will create a cohesive unit that will be hard for your reps to live without.

Liz Lemarchand

Liz Lemarchand is the Chief Operating Officer of MediaDev, a global IT marketing firm. She has 20 years of marketing experience and provides strategic counsel to software vendors both large and small.

Liz Lemarchand

Liz Lemarchand is the Chief Operating Officer of MediaDev, a global IT marketing firm. She has 20 years of marketing experience and provides strategic counsel to software vendors both large and small.