Motivating Sales Reps with Low Sales Performance

Johnny Marx
April 17, 2015

If you’re responsible for hiring, managing, and motivating sales reps, it’s likely that you’ve come across a few reps who struggle to meet their numbers. In some cases, it can mean additional training is needed. But in others, it may be a simple matter of motivation. Regardless of what your reps’ commissions are, setting additional goals can be a powerful incentive, especially for field sales reps who are often working independently. Without further ado, here’s how to make your team want to be rockstars. One of the most important aspects of a manager’s job, after all, is inspiring one's team and giving them the tools to succeed.

Motivating Sales Reps

1. Make It A Competition

Pitting sales reps against one another in an environment of friendly competition can be incredibly motivating. Find a way to gamify your sales process and make it even more competitive. The prize doesn’t have to be a monetary one (although we will admit that helps). It could be a paid day off, extra vacation, or even just the public recognition of receiving an award. Hint: find a way to make sure to post any reward announcements or wins on business-focused social media sites like LinkedIn. People love to brag to their friends and family, so let them show it off!

2. Use Apps to Gamify Sales Performance

Building off that last point, chances are that at least some of your sales reps play all sorts of online games, from Candy Crush to more complex, constructive games like Sims or Civilization. Regardless of their games of choice, pretty much everyone understands the appeal of gaming. That appeal presents an opportunity––the opportunity to use various freely available apps to gamify your sales process. According to Gartner, companies must apply a steady stream of feedback, measurement, and incentives in order to keep employees engaged––the same techniques employed by game designers to maintain a player’s interest. Mobile sales gamification app Qstream, for instance, provides “snackable” sales training to reps with just three minutes of gameplay per day. One company further customized the app to allow reps to see their game rankings. After all, no one wants to lose, and the thought process that goes into earning more points or more rewards can be highly addicting and compelling.

3. Reward the Ability to Build Better Relationships with Customers

Sometimes, motivation isn’t all about quotas and profits. It’s also about what a sales rep does when they aren’t getting a direct commission. Going above and beyond to make sure that a customer or potential customer gets the right products for their store goes a long way, and managers must recognize that effort. Whether or not it is with an actual bonus or even something as simple as acknowledging their efforts during a meeting, creating a culture of customer-centric service is always a good idea, as well as a concept that can lead to more sales down the line as happy customers spread the word about your brand.

4. Provide Motivation Through Teamwork

While you want your sales reps to be competitive, you also don’t want them to be antagonistic towards each other. You also want to encourage field reps––who may working alone for most of their time on the road––to feel like they’re part of a team. Finding motivation independently can become exponentially easier when a person feels like they’re part of something bigger than themselves. For instance, if one rep is an expert in a given area, encourage and reward them for sharing their knowledge, and incentivize this type of collective education by offering performance bonuses for in-house thought leaders. Respect and reward those who act like team captains, not solo stars.

5. Money Talks

At the end of the day, an actual cash bonus is probably what makes the biggest difference when it comes down to incentivizing your sales reps. However, the actual amount doesn’t necessarily matter (although it is pretty much always appreciated). It is the positive recognition of a job well done that may make the biggest impression on your team. So, sales managers in our audience, we’re handing you the (digital) mic. How do you motivate your team? Let us know in the comments below.