by C. Hayes | Aug. 15, 2022 | 5 Min Read

3 ways to incentivize sales team productivity


If you’re wondering how to motivate your sales team to hit targets, keep reading. Building a motivated and productive sales team can have far-reaching effects across your company.

Research shows that 78% of the reasons employees give for leaving their jobs could have been prevented by their employer. While that might be a startling statistic, what it actually tells you is that as a leader, you’re in a great position to make a difference in the trajectory of your company.

Experts like Forbes agree that knowing how to inspire sales people through varied and sustainable strategies can lead to long-term increases in motivation and productivity.

We know it can be hard to think of new ways to incentivize sales teams continually, so we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of sales team motivation and share ideas for a variety of strategies to keep your team motivated and productive.

Top benefits of sales team motivation

You likely already know that salesperson sales motivation will benefit your company by increasing sales. In fact, one Gallup survey showed a stark difference in the results of companies where employees were engaged in their work compared to companies where they were not.

One of the most telling results was the 23% increase in profitability those companies experienced. But individual results and revenue increases are just the tip of the iceberg! Here are a few more examples of how everyone wins when you really master how to incentivize sales teams to perform their best:

  • Reduce turnover: Your employees will stay with your company longer, reducing the costs associated with employee departures and maintaining higher morale company-wide.
  • Foster loyalty: A motivated team member will stick it out even during tough times. When salespeople care about their work and see that leadership cares about them, they’re more likely to invest in their role.
  • Encourage friendly competition: Seeing others succeed can show team members what’s possible and may even give them a nudge to work towards more impactful results in their sales.
  • Enhance employee and customer satisfaction: When your employees are happy, they’ll do everything they can to ensure your customers are, too.

It’s clear why you’d want to ensure sales team motivation is a core focus at your organization. Now, let’s talk about how you can make it happen.

How to Motivate Your Sales Team to Hit Targets

Knowing how to motivate your team effectively can be a challenge. How do you know what they want? What will really have an impact? Sales team motivation doesn’t have to be a mystery. We’ve got some ideas to help you find the right strategies that will resonate with your team.

1. Monetary incentives

Let's start with this one, not just because it’s often the first thing people think of when they think about ways to incentivize sales teams, but also because it’s truly impactful for employees. There's no way around it; financial incentives do work, and they're a great way to show your employees that their work is a crucial part of your company's success.

One way to make your financial bonuses more meaningful is to spread them. One study showed that only offering annual bonuses decreased the revenue salespeople generated by up to 10%. Offering smaller bonus opportunities regularly rather than making people wait a whole year to see the payoff of their hard work can increase their motivation on an ongoing basis.

Additionally, companies should make a conscious effort NOT to cap commissions. Companies may be tempted to limit commissions, but it leads to less motivated employees. One founder conducted a study showing that almost 80% of those without compensation caps reported meeting or exceeding their quotas. On the other hand, those who worked for organizations with capped commissions were much less likely to have hit their sales goals.

Now that we’ve covered monetary incentives, it’s important to know there are other types of successful sales incentive programs. Money is a great motivator, but it can feel a little empty if it's not backed up with other types of incentives. Knowing how to motivate your sales team to hit targets without money can enhance an already strong financial bonus program.

Read on for other ideas for how to incentivize sales teams.

2. Training and development opportunities

Asking employees to reach higher goals or quotas constantly and to adapt to challenging circumstances without the proper training to support them through those challenges can lead to resentment and discouragement among your team. However, when you prioritize training and development programs, your team’s collective skill set grows – along with their productivity.

Successful sales incentive programs are ones where the ultimate target feels attainable, so employees know success is possible.

Leaders should incorporate training and development into their regular company operations. Sales training doesn’t mean having an all-day, in-person session where everyone sits around a table in the conference room only to forget everything they’ve learned once they leave. Keep in mind that sales team training can include:

  • One-on-one coaching conversations
  • Online, at-your-own-pace learning modules
  • Content that’s gamified to be entertaining and memorable
  • Microlearning around new skills or key strategies to overcome marketplace challenges

Whatever form it takes, meaningful training can help your sales team become highly motivated performers.

3. Recognition and praise

When you think about how to motivate a sales team without money, recognition and praise might feel insignificant—but the opposite is true. Sometimes, acknowledging a person’s value goes even further than a bonus or monetary incentive. Here are some tips to ensure your employee recognition is meaningful:

  • Be specific about what they did and what the impact was
  • As much as possible, give recognition immediately
  • Respect their preferences for public or private recognition

For each salesperson, sales motivation might mean something different. Your positive feedback and acts of appreciation should reflect those differences. Knowing how to give professional praise authentically is one of those practices that takes very little time and no cost to implement but can have a huge impact.

Employees will remember your recognition, and when you back it up with additional incentives like training and financial bonuses, they’ll trust that you mean what you say.

How to inspire sales people to be their best with Unboxed Training & Technology

Now that you know how to motivate your sales team to hit targets, you can start implementing strategies to increase employee motivation today. Remember, a personalized, meaningful approach to financial incentives, training and development, and recognition is at the core of learning how to incentivize a sales team.

When motivating salespeople, what really works is a strategy that centers around their best interests (ultimately driving yours, too). If you’re ready to get started, Unboxed can help you enable and encourage sales teams to be their best. By pairing training with technology, our learning platform – Spoke – can help your employees learn new skills as they increase productivity and profits for your company.

See Spoke in action to learn how we can help train and develop your sales team today.

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