Sales Performance: The Power of Motivation

There’s no question that tangible reward and recognition programs are motivating for salespeople, but when looking at motivational factors for your team it’s important to consider more than just financial incentives.  


What are the barriers to motivation and how can you optimise your team’s performance?

To begin with, there are two innate behaviours that affect motivation:

  1. Restraint – the things that hold someone back preventing them from achieving their goals.

  2. Drive – a push or energy that assists in achieving goals.

So, as a leader, what can you do to stimulate your team’s drive and remove any restraints?

As a simple starting point, removing barriers that are impacting your team’s day-to-day sales process and effectiveness should have an instant motivational impact. Consider things like: 

  • Is there too much complexity and too many rules around processes and workflow management?  

  • Is your team up to scratch when it comes to product knowledge and market knowledge?

  • Are the rules and complexity or lack of product knowledge impairing your team’s motivation to succeed? 


In the sales cycle, the manufacturer and the seller both need to make a profit, the salesperson needs to make a commission and the customer needs to be confident they’ve got the best solution. 

When there are bonuses on the table, used and managed effectively, they can be a powerful tool to motivate, excite and drive sales. And the added position for the business is that when bonuses are on offer, they can enhance overall results, including profitability.

Salespeople often take the path of least resistance and sell only what the customer asks for. But if there is a known and clear reward for upselling, this becomes a motivational and driving factor for the sales team.

Further, whilst immediate financial gratification is motivational, another way to incentivise within a bonus scheme is to offer ‘time to payment’ rewards. This means that bonuses are not immediate – in fact salespeople must accrue points over time as they achieve sales outcomes to attain the bonus. But this style of bonus motivates by building excitement and internal competition to achieve the goal.  

If you’re running a sales incentive program there are some considerations to help ensure the success of your program:

  • Encourage your team to jump in – headfirst!

  • Give them reason to learn about what they’re selling before they get stuck into selling.

  • No one is motivated by meagre offerings – make sure you incentivise with something that’s going to inspire your team to sell.

Overarchingly, removing barriers from your salespeople’s daily processes, coupled with incentives, is a far more motivational combination than relying on bonuses and rewards alone.