Sales Management Challenges: 4 of 6 - Motivating your Team

Quiz time: How 'engaged' (passionate/enthusiastic about their work) are the members of your sales team?

If they are like today's U.S. workers, then about half of them (51%) are not engaged and almost one fifth (18%) are actively disengaged.

I'd like to share the benefits of my 30-year experience in sales and marketing with you. This series of blogs tackles 6 of the top sales challenges with sound advice and a practical 'do today' tip.

Sales Challenge #4: Motivating your team

Being in the sales business I have focussed this blog on sales people but actually the information is valid for any team, in any business or role.

Motivation is the skill of getting people to do willingly and well the things that need to be done.

Motivation ceases and de-motivation kicks in when sales people feel compelled to surrender to a request.

Salespeople are not only motivated by money. In fact, there frequently comes a point in many sales careers when money is nowhere near the top of the motivators list.

Never has this been truer than now that "Millennials" are entering the sales profession. We get to hear a lot of negative comments about their attitudes in the working environment.  But have you ever stopped to think: maybe it's not them, it's us?  Typically, we find that most millennials bring bright, vibrant, and creative ideas along to the workplace - if only you can motivate them to do so.  Contrary to what we think, EVEN in sales, it's not always the commission check that provides the incentive. Having your ideas used is very satisfying and thus, a super motivator - being a contributor is certainly high on most millennials' lists of what they want from a job.

So, what do you need to take into consideration when motivating your people?

Successful [sales] management requires the manager to perform a balancing act with her/his time between the team, the individual, and the task (in this case where the task is selling):

  • Focus on the team and the task and the individual gets neglected.

  • Focus on the task and the team and the individual gets neglected.

  • Focus on the individual to the detriment of the team and the task.    


As a manager, you need to make sure you are balancing the needs of the team, the task, and the individuals as well as putting motivators in place (and trying to remove the de-motivators) that will resonate specifically with your people.

You need to get to understand the personal individual motivations of your team (and your manager).  I find that for the sake of expediency, if you distill all the common workplace/industrial motivation theories (Maslow, Herzberg, McGregor, FW Taylor, et al.) you get 5 traits you can work with quite  easily: Achievement, Recognition, Finance, Job Content, Personal Needs.

Do-today Tip #4: Spend some time finding out what motivates your team. Make sure you understand what motivates and de-motivates the individuals on your sales team--ask them!  Undertake formally or informally a motivation audit (click here for a simple example to get you started).

Next time, we'll take a look at how to assess the real experience level of your team.

Read more:
How to Create Clearly Defined Sales Processes and Sales Objectives
How to Build the Right Team
How to Choose the Correct Spot on the Sales Management Continuum

What carrots and sticks are you using to motivate your team? Got a question I can help with? Our online community looks forward to reading your comment and helping with your question.

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