Sales Force Motivation – A Black Art?

Sales Force Motivation - A Black Art

The topic of motivation for salespeople is often the top issue when you bring managers of sales together. But, the fundamentals of inspiration are often viewed as something that is a mysterious and magical ability only available to a select few.

Sales managers typically join management courses hoping to be admitted into this secret society, much like amateur magicians who fantasize about being part of the circle of magic.

What is Motivation?

Motivation is the method by that you motivate individuals or groups to progress toward something they are interested in. In the context of sales, it’s the method through which salespeople are encouraged to increase their performance and strive to achieve an objective or goal.

Motivation may be either positive or negative, depending on the way it operates. It is positive when it promotes a move toward something desirable or negative in the event that it prompts a change away from something unattractive.

Positive Motivation

The conventional wisdom is that motivation that is positive is more effective than negative motivation: Inducing someone to swim is sure to get them to swim, but it will not generate a lustrous love for the water. Similar to threatening individuals with a sack may work for a short time, but it’s not likely to create a favorable environment for better performance in the longer term.

The rules of Motivation What is the goal desired?

It may seem as if it’s obvious; however, not every goal is the same for everyone. For instance, in sales, the financial benefits are typically generally desired. However, other purposes can be equally important.

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Things like status, social participation, and self-development can all be motivating. These non-financial factors form the known as Psychological Contract that exists between the person and the organization. These contracts that are not written are highly effective and represent the exchange of what the individual provides to the organization as a result of the benefits they get. Every psychological contract is unique to the individual, so the best way to recognize the elements of each is to get to know the person and what they value most.

Hygiene or Motivational factor?

Psychologists like Frederick Herzberg identified that providing the feeling of accomplishment as well as recognizing and taking responsibility is highly motivating, while things like interpersonal relationships, corporate policy, and working conditions are simply Hygiene Factors, i.e., things that don’t inspire on their own, however, they can lead to demotivation, if not dealt with.

It is imperative to take all Hygiene Factors out of the way in order to lessen any potential motivational demotivation. Then, concentrate on the elements that generate motivation.

What is the most achievable goal?

The most successful performers appear to favor goals that push their abilities by a small amount, and less skilled performers prefer to be average performers or have unreasonable goals that quickly become demotivated when they fall short of their dreams.

The idea is to first find people who can react positively to reasonable objectives and then set goals that they believe they can be able to meet through modest improvement in their performance.

Do Targets Conflict?

A variety of targets can cause confusion and inattention to the most important goals. Also, the more targets are there in a given area, and there is greater the chance that they will be in conflict. One good illustration is when managers stress the need for teamwork and collaboration in business and then recognize individual achievements.

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Goals as step stones

The value of breaking significant goals into smaller objectives for interim purposes has been proven. A monthly set of dreams can be more motivating than a single yearly goal.

The idea is to break goals into smaller pieces that are achievable over less time. The achievement of these objectives will create an environment of accomplishment.

Do you have the skills required?

This may appear to be something obvious, but without the capabilities, no amount of motivation will be able to improve performance.

A key aspect is to make sure that the right abilities, knowledge, and behaviors have been identified and that they are the foundation of your training and development plan.

A direct link between effort & reward?

A lot of sales incentive schemes do not comply with this law. They can be viewed as unfair or biased toward certain people over other individuals.

One of the most common issues with sales is the setting of objectives for the territory that are thought as insignificant to the actual potential for business of the region. This could lead to individuals having to take their own lives to achieve their goals, while others may achieve extraordinary results in the absence of a single customer. This means goals reward efforts, not just luck.


Motivation isn’t an abstract art. However, it’s a set of interconnected techniques to ensure that managers tap into the source of motivation and energy that is within every person. The management must then direct this effort in the direction of sales and high-performance achievement.

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