How To Motivate Your Sales Team

During everyone’s sales career, they will go through motivation and stagnation phases as the stress of hitting your quotas can be quite overwhelming. However, keeping your sales team motivated is going to be vital to the success of your business because they are out the field working hard to make it happen everyday. Very often, companies will bring in sales motivational speakers to help inspire their  team to keep them pushing through those hard times. But not every organization has such a luxury.

Motivation In the Workplace

Motivation is fueled by the desire to do well and the personal satisfaction of a job well-done. Motivated employees help the organization grow and succeed. The company may offer incentives to increase employee motivation and retention. However, motivation may wane over time if working conditions change or if the employee gets bored, pushed aside, or left behind.

“Stagnation indicates that a change is needed to return the employees to functioning at full capacity” says Alex Miller of Motivation Ping. “Sometimes the employees may need to change departments, employers, or careers to regain their productive functioning.”

Change may be scary, but is not a bad thing. The stagnating employees or manager needs to recognize and address the problem as soon as possible to prevent it from escalating and spreading.

Employee Motivation and Success Factors

Here are some conditions that motivate sales people when they go through that burn out phase. These conditions are in no particular order because each employee has different motivating factors:

  1. Appreciation for work done through a recognition and rewards program.
  2. Putting an article about the employee or team in the company newsletter and / or providing cash rewards.
  3. Good wages – well-paid employees are usually productive employees.
  4. Promotion and growth opportunities within organization.
  5. Job security.
  6. Interesting work.
  7. Corporate and managerial stability.
  8. Career advancement courses.
  9. When workers are given extensive background information regarding their project, it provides a foundation for their involvement, not just them acting as a pair of hands.
  10. Perks – e.g., stock options, motivation and productivity will be sustained and may increase.
  11. Good working conditions, which include a clean and safe environment, and no intimidation from colleagues or managers.
  12. Being involved in special projects makes employees feel useful and needed.
  13. An ample amount of vacation days.
  14. A good benefits package.
  15. Employer understanding and support with employees’ personal problems
  16. Employee savings plan with company-matched contributions.
  17. Tuition assistance programs.
  18. Motivated and productive employees need to be recognized and rewarded appropriately in order to facilitate worker retention.

Employee Stagnation and Failure Factors

Here are some conditions that cause employees to stagnate and lose interest in their positions or careers. These conditions are in no particular order because each employee has different stagnation factors and reasons:

  1. Being in the same position for too long.
  2. If employees are not given access to growth opportunities in the organization, their motivation will probably decline over time.
  3. Lack of trust and dishonesty between colleagues and management.
  4. When managers dissociate themselves from their staff, (e.g., not coming around to see what’s happening in the trenches) employees tend to feel cut-off and out of the loop, thus decreasing motivation.
  5. Staff meetings should be informative and productive, not just a time to get free coffee and donuts.
  6. If managers are lukewarm or not supportive about a project, there is little incentive from the workers to tackle the task wholeheartedly.
  7. It is difficult for employees to empower themselves if management is resistant to changes or risks.
  8. Fear and intimidation tactics from colleagues or management.
  9. Supervisors and managers should become familiar with the inner workings of the staff’s responsibilities to help to make better managerial decisions. If not, the employees may feel that their work is not worthwhile or understood.
  10. Unstable organization or management structure.
  11. Job insecurity.
  12. Too many changes, reorganizations, and layoffs.

These employee stagnation conditions are nothing new, but they need to be recognized and corrected as soon as possible.

Managerial Actions

Motivated employees are happy, cooperative, and productive. They have great attitudes. They rarely miss work without good reason. They tend to get along well with everyone in the organization, regardless of any disagreeable points of view. They may participate in many company activities and volunteer to take on extra tasks. They meet all timelines. Supervisors and managers must make every effort to retain motivated employees on staff.

Stagnated employees are unhappy, uncooperative, and unproductive. They tend to keep to themselves. They may spread gossip or complain about the working conditions or management. Their work may be sloppy. They may not adhere to timelines. They may have poor attitudes. These conditions do not benefit anyone, especially the stagnated employee. The stagnated employee may need to be reassigned or replaced. Stagnated employees need to recognize when it’s time to move on.

Supervisors and managers need to recognize motivated and stagnated employees and act upon them immediately and appropriately to ensure a good working environment for everyone and help the organization grow and succeed.


Brett Sartorial

Brett is a business journalist with a focus on corporate strategy and leadership. With over 15 years of experience covering the corporate world, Brett has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, analytical and insightful journalist. He has a deep understanding of the business strategies and leadership principles that drive the world's most successful companies, and is able to explain them in a clear and compelling way. Throughout his career, Brett has interviewed some of the most influential business leaders and has covered major business events such as the World Economic Forum and the Davos. He is also a regular contributor to leading business publications and has won several awards for his work.