What actually Motivates Salespeople – Recognition or Money ?

salespeople motivation - recognition or money

“Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

The first question that strikes my mind is – should money be the only key differentiator in motivating Salespeople? A lot of managers think that they should hire salespeople who are easily motivated by money, but I don’t agree with that. Successful sales reps say that money should not be the only reason for salespersons to be motivated.It is easy to surmise that sales people jump into this field just to make money. However, the reality is something contradictory. If you have ever done sales or have had the chance to speak with salespeople, you will realise that money is not the only factor that keeps them motivated. Most sales people appreciate being recognized for their hard work and accomplishments. Great salespeople are also motivated by their desire to help people and solve their problems.

There was a survey done a few years ago on a LinkedIn group – ‘Sales and Marketing Leaders’ on ‘What motivates salespeople’. Majority of sales reps opted for recognition and not money as the key factor, isn’t that strange? Few of them said that full support, recognition, respect, trust, training, challenge and appreciation from their boss even when they fail several times, is what made difference in their careers.

Imagine what would have happened if Roger Federer was only playing for the money. Roger wouldn’t be ‘Roger’, if he is motivated by money.

It has become critically important for managers to figure out what motivates their sales team members. We can not deny on the fact that for few salespeople, money would be the key driver and for others it might not be.

When I started my career, I had to handle few of my organization’s sales programs and had to call people up to convince them to take our services. I took the job as the incentives (money) were too good to be missed out. However, soon I realized that it wasn’t as easy as it seemed to be and my targets were set too high for me to accomplish them. I was demotivated and taken aback – all i could see was missing out my incentives. I am glad that my sales director helped me to get over without grumbling about my targets and instead achieve them. So, here are few key factors that I think can make the difference:

Training: Mentor your sales reps and spend some time assisting them on how they can improve and accomplish their tasks. It would help them to grow in their career and they would definitely appreciate that.

Recognition: We all love to be recognized and appreciated for our accomplishments. Some reps are fascinated for being recognized, though certainly there are sales people who love competition and would love to be in spotlight when they accomplish their tasks. Recognition doesn’t mean that it has to be something big and a shout out to the team – it would be a simple pat on the back for sale reps

Gift Cards & Prizes: A healthy competition is always appreciated by sales reps and added perks such as dinner with managers, coffee at starbucks, hand written gift cards can always create great incentives for salespeople to achieve their targets and go beyond. As a manager you can always run some internal contests among sales team for the top performing sales person of the month or quarter in which you can give them prizes. This would be definitely an incentive for them to work to their full potential and at highest possible level.

Money: Though money is not only the key driver but it is one of them for sure. The income of the salesperson increases each time he makes a sale and this motivates them to find potential clients, retain clients and to find methods that would help them increase sales.

Fixing Problems: The challenge to satisfy customer needs is one of the biggest motivation for the sales reps to perform best. Uncovering the customer’s need, especially when they don’t even know they have one and providing a solution is what motivates most of sales reps. They love to problem solve and help customers and co-workers.

Freedom to Develop Strategies: It is extremely important to have trust in your sales people. You need to give them the freedom and flexibility to come up with individual strategies if they want for their job. Let them set-up their own pitches and mentor them in the process. Guide them with your experience to list down the potential clients and best times to reach out to them. This will definitely help them become more polished professional and stay motivated.

Every great sales person is different from another and each one of them is driven by something unique that comes from within. This something unique is the core to their success and they know  it.

What motivates you?

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