5 Sales Managers Share Creative Ways to Motivate Your Sales Team

by Madeline Hester
February 13, 2020

In the sales world, commission is a strong motivating factor; a hefty paycheck is often the hanging carrot that allows many salespeople to deal with rejection after rejection before landing the big deal. 

But how do sales managers motivate a team to keep crushing their quotas month after month? To start, Packback’s Director of Sales Eric Hogenkamp said he finds what motivates individuals on his team, whether it be personal growth, career aspiration or the company’s mission.

And if that doesn’t work, try giving a WWE belt to the top sales development rep. We’re not joking.

“Being recognized in front all of sales is a nice pat on the back, keeping the rep motivated to continue to push for excellence,” Brad Reed, sales development manager from Spark Hire, said.

For more innovative strategies, five sales managers gave the scoop on the creative tactics they use to motivate their teams — beyond commission.  

 

acculynx
acculynx

Vice President of Sales Chuck Loeher believes in promoting from within to motivate his sales team at AccuLynx. When it comes to providing professional development, his company has partnered with Sales Assembly to offer training opportunities. Retaining top performers ensures senior level staff are experts in AccuLynx’s CRM software and passionate about selling. 

 

Beyond a commission, what are some strategies you use to motivate your sales teams?

Outside of commissions, we like to provide our team with opportunities to earn gift cards, company-sponsored happy hours, golf outings and more. Healthy competition is part of the sales world, and we love splitting up into teams and having demo-setting contests. 

Aside from this, we always celebrate wins publicly here. Each time an account executive closes a new deal, they announce it in the #sales Slack channel and the rest of the team responds with gifs and emojis to show their support for the win. We’ve found that this sort of supportive and fun environment really helps to motivate our teams. 

We always celebrate wins publicly here.

What does professional development look like for your salespeople, and how does that play into motivating your team?

We have a new but growing sales team, so professional development is key to our continued success as we scale. We offer plenty of opportunities for one-on-one coaching and feedback. Both our director of sales and myself sit out on the sales floor and are easily accessible to help with any questions that may pop up. 

We have also partnered up with the Sales Assembly community to provide our team with opportunities to attend training programs and networking events to continuously enhance their sales skills.  On top of this, we are committed to promoting from within and have a successful track record of moving business development representatives into account executive roles. We’ve found that providing our teams with the tools to succeed helps them  feel motivated to take on tougher challenges and really continue to develop as salespeople.

 

sparkfire
spark hire

Spark Hire’s video hiring platform allows customers to conduct interviews in more than 100 countries. Internally, Sales Development Manager Brad Reed’s motivational tactics deserve their own platform. He told us why cat memes, WWE belts and “The Office” quotes keep the mood light under pressure. 

Each month we celebrate the top SDR by awarding them a massive WWE belt.

 

Beyond a commission, what are some strategies you use to motivate your sales teams? 

During my time working with sales development reps, I’ve found that in order to create a high performance culture, I need to focus on a few things. First, focus on strengths because people work best when utilizing their strongest skills. I foster an environment where teams feel comfortable asking questions and taking risks. As well, it’s important to keep the focus on results rather than the process alone. Solutions are derived from collaboration. The goal is to get people to love what they do, so that work feels rewarding and fun. 

We use Slack internally to communicate as a team. Our team likes to focus on turning all communication into a meme or emoji story. If you think about it, if a picture is worth a thousand words, why would we waste time on typing all of that out when a simple meme of a cat does the trick?

Our team is obsessed with the TV show, “The Office.” Any time we’re having a slow day, it’s my job to reference a scene from the show. The point is to laugh and get the team’s mind off of how poor the day has been. Sometimes a simple distraction from Michael Scott is the best way to motivate the team, getting our day back on track.

Each month we celebrate the top SDR by awarding them a massive WWE belt. The belt is received during our all-sales month in-review meeting. As their manager, I do my best to recap all of the ways I saw that rep go above and beyond the call of duty that given month. 

 

What does professional development look like for your salespeople, and how does that play into motivating your team?

“Keep improving” is a core value our organization stands on. As a leader, I try to model curiosity. My goal is to ask more questions than make statements each day. It’s important that my team owns their development, rather than being pulled along by my opinions. We partner with groups like Sales Assembly to ensure our employees have access to the pros. 

Knowing that most SDRs have aspirations to grow into an account executive role, we have set expectations that must be met in order to accomplish that promotion. We also hold our team to qualitative goals that are directly in line with the company’s core values. 

 

phmg
phmg

Michael Ketcham, media development manager at PHMG, believes recognition is just as important as commission. Heralding top performers and highlighting public leaderboards give team members the motivation they need to perform at their jobs and gain recognition, as well as earn a luxury Rolex. 

 

Beyond commission, what are some strategies you use to motivate your sales teams?

Success is always rewarded at PHMG in a number of different ways. Incentive-wise, the sales teams have a number of prizes to work toward every month, quarter and year: cash bonuses, the president’s club dinner at Chicago’s finest restaurants, trips to the states they work, and the ultimate accolade — the media development executive, media development manager or business development manager of the year title, which earns a luxury Rolex or Tag Heuer watch. 

But while prizes are great motivational tools, recognition is also hugely important. Top performers are heralded in front of their peers at company events each quarter. And to keep all staff in the know, leaderboards are communicated daily so they can always see what they need to work toward. 

Top performers are heralded in front of their peers at company events each quarter.”

 

What does professional development look like for your salespeople, and how does that play into motivating your team?

Every employee who joins the PHMG Sales team starts a journey on the development path, which presents defined avenues to suit various business personalities. Ambitious managers are able to move into team leader and head of sales roles, and are given continued training and support from leading business figures such as Dr. Peter Collett, a behavioral psychologist.

 

packback
packback

Packback’s AI-driven online platform is a safe space for students and professors to engage in thought-provoking and educational discussion. To provide a motivating environment for their sales team, Director of Sales Eric Hogenkamp and Sales Manager Lindsey Cleys find what drives each individual and set goals for professional development.  

 

Beyond a commission, what are some strategies you use to motivate your sales teams?

Hogenkamp: By finding out what motivates the individual, whether it be personal growth, career aspiration or compensation, we can make connections, and find ways to align what our teams do to their personal purpose and motivations. We leverage the strengths that people on our team already have, while putting plans in place to improve weaknesses, making employees feel fulfilled and passionate about their jobs.

We leverage the strengths that people on our team already have.”

 

What does professional development look like for your salespeople, and how does that play into motivating your team? 

Cleys: I am lucky enough to work with a team of people that constantly want to get better and are working every day to improve themselves professionally and personally. It's important to know the goals of each individual and coach to the player to help them achieve these goals. In addition to team training and all-hands meetings, each team member develops an individual coaching plan with their manager. 

 

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