Most conversations about effective motivation with your sales force turn immediately to compensation.  While fairly and effectively compensating your sales team is critical for success, it is only one of the “levers” that the sales leader can pull to drive increased team performance.  Companies, sales forces, and sales leaders are all unique.  Having a motivation strategy that fits your sales force and utilizes the right mix of motivational approaches will be more effective and can drive your sales organization to achieve greater results. At a recent Atlanta Chapter of the Sales Management Association meeting, a group discussion was held on the topic: “Motivating Your Sales Force: A motivated sales force creates momentum, momentum drives results.  How can sales leaders motivate their sales force to create momentum?” Topic experts for the discussion included sales leaders from AT&T, Groupon, LexisNexis, Ricoh, Dell Secure Works, Aon Hewitt, Talent Quest, and Georgia State University. The following are key takeaways from what resulted in an expert discussion on sales leadership.

Motivation through Compensation

Key #1: The compensation plan must be clearly communicated and the sales force must understand both how the plan impacts them and why the plan is in place. A misunderstanding on either front can lead to a lack of buy-in and ultimately demotivate the sales force.

Key #2: In an effort to more closely align the sales force with the strategic goals of the company, many firms are beginning to compensate on both revenue and profitability.  When doing this, be very clear about how the profitability will be calculated.

Motivation through Recognition

Key #3: Create a culture of recognition by integrating recognition into regular business activities such as team meetings and getting the entire executive team to commit to recognizing the sales force.

Key #4: The uniqueness of the recognition is directly correlated to the level of motivation that it provides.

Key #5: It is important to recognize not only the results that you want, but also the behaviors that you want to reinforce.

Motivation by Sales Coaching

Key #6: Sales coaching is most motivating when the sales team perceives that the leader is investing in their personal success.

Key #7: Feedback and follow up items must be clear and consistent in order for sales coaching to be motivating.  Inconsistent feedback and erratic follow up lead to confusion which can be counterproductive.

 Motivating the Millennial Generation

Key #8: Be transparent with the millennial generation and provide them with context for how their work is impacting the business.

Key #9: The millennial generation responds well to respect. Even if it is not yet earned, showing a millennial respect will motivate them to work harder and produce higher quality results.

Incorporating these key takeaways can support you in pulling the right “levers” and motivating your sales force to achieve greater results.



Successful Strategies for Effective Motivation of the Sales Force