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Sales - 8 min READ

7 creative sales motivation ideas to inspire your team

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Copper Staff

Contributors from members of the Copper team

If you’re a sales manager, you want every salesperson on your sales team to be productive and successful. To do this, though, it’s not enough to give them a desk and salary, and say, “Get to it.”

They might be master salespeople, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need a healthy dose of motivation to do a good job of it.

Look, there will always be peaks and valleys in sales. But you want those peaks and valleys to happen because of the natural and predictable flow of consumer interest. Not because your team is feeling burned out or unmotivated to sell.

Rather than just throw money at the solution, have a look at these creative sales motivation techniques and see what you can do to integrate them into your organization for other sales managers and employees.

Money isn’t the solution; get creative with sales motivation.

While a pay increase might seem like the obvious solution, it’s not always an effective way to motivate employees to work harder.

According to a Willis Towers Watson survey, only 20% of employers have seen a correlation between a pay increase and improved performance. In addition, Psychology Today reports that raises need to be sizable (over 7%) to see any sort of change in employee success rates.

Let’s take the idea that “money solves all problems” off the table and look at more creative and effective ways to motivate your sales teams.

1. Help them develop goals for growth—beyond your company.

Salespeople do what they do in order to put food on the table and pay their rent or mortgage. Not to be stuck at the same desk, making the same calls or sending the same emails 20 years from now.

In all honesty, you’re never going to motivate salespeople to sell more if their only goal is to help your company make more money. That’s why their goals should revolve around their personal development instead.

Goals should, of course, still tie into how effectively they sell, but they should be framed in a different light.

For example, rather than attach a dollar sign to next quarter’s goal, ask them to refine their ability to close deals in preparation for the next stepping stone in their career.

This way, their goal still aligns with the company’s (e.g. improving their close rate), but it’s framed from a position where they reap the benefits, which leads to motivation for sales reps.

2. Give them a niche.

There are few things worse than trying to sell something you don’t believe in or have no understanding of. Consumers are smart and will immediately pick up on your salesperson’s lack of interest or know-how.

Rather than assign salespeople to any new client, make things easier for them by giving them a specialty.

This might involve:

  • Divvying up target categories based on interest or expertise
  • Placing them in B2B sales instead of the B2C segment
  • Assigning them to a specific part of the sales process

You could greatly reduce the learning curve, including sales training, and improve engagement levels in what they do if you assign salespeople to a niche that fits well with their abilities and interests.

Giving them specialized industry knowledge will also help them throughout their career. Rather than just being a salesperson, they’ll be looked at as an industry expert in their niche, which builds their personal brand.

3. Stop assigning mundane tasks to them.

In Mercer’s 2019 Global Talent Trends report, 60% of companies said they had plans to add more automation to their organization.

That would be an incredibly smart move for sales organizations.

Think about how many manual and mundane tasks salespeople are often asked to do. published a report called Time Management for Sales. Get a load of this:

Only 36.6% of a sales rep’s day is spent on revenue generation activities.

It gets worse.

“When combining both time spent and effectiveness, account and contact research (12.0% of time, 74.8% effective) as well as administrative tasks (12.8% of time, 66.7% effective) were identified as the biggest time wasters—tasks taking the most time and producing the least amount of results.”

There are so many opportunities for automation these days—start by looking at what your CRM can do.

Why would you let them waste their time (which is valuable to your company) on tasks that don’t require the human touch?

One of the best things you could do is integrate other business tools with your CRM. For example:

By integrating with Google business tools, contact information from your emails can automatically be copied into your CRM.

For example, Copper lives in your Gmail inbox and automatically pulls in information about your contacts automatically.

Pro-tip: Learn about 30+ Gmail hacks here.

Automation is helpful in reverse as well. As your sales reps contact leads and other contacts via email, they can instantly tap into pre-written messages from your CRM.

Think of what your team can do with all that time they now have to sell.

4. Cut back on meetings.

On a related note, you should think about cutting back on how many one-on-one, team, and company meetings you have in a week. That same report from above found that “sales reps reported that time spent on Facebook and catching up with colleagues was 7% more effective than internal meetings and dealing with internal policies.”

When your employees say that Facebook leads to more effective results than meetings, you have a big problem.

Meetings stop the flow of sales and break concentration. They can also demotivate sales teams if meetings focus too much on what’s not getting done or who’s doing a bad job.

Give your team the space to get in the zone without fear of interruption. And only have meetings when they’re absolutely necessary and add value to the work your team does.

5. Let them contribute to your documentation.

Automation is an essential part of reducing time-wasters while also ensuring you get consistent results from sales rep to sales rep, and interaction to interaction.

That said, the processes and scripts that are automated can easily go stale or prove ineffective if you don’t keep them updated regularly. You could certainly take on that responsibility, but does that make the most sense?

Your salespeople are in the field, using these automated workflows and scripts day in and day out. They’re the ones who will know best how to improve them.

Instead of enforcing a policy like “This is our documentation and you must follow it to a T”, why not open it up as a collaborative work-in-progress?

Invite your sales reps to amend your processes and communication templates as they discover new customer objections or devise a more effective way of handling a step in the sales process.

The basic structure you’ve laid down doesn’t have to change, but you can still encourage your team to contribute to it (with your review and approval, of course) when it makes the most sense.

6. Show them what happens post-sale.

A lot of sales organizations will share video testimonials or flattering case studies with their teams to highlight the major wins of the company.

For instance, this is an example of a recent case study Copper did for Epic Freight:

This a good thing to do to inspire motivation for sales reps, and keep morale up. However, a lot of these cases are high-profile and not always representative of the average post-sales results.

Pro-tip: Learn more about how to create a compelling case study.

If you want your sales reps to feel more connected to what they do and more driven to close the sale, it would be a good idea to let them see more of what happens after the sale goes through.

For example, you can show them how the product or service they sell affects the average consumer. Aggregate follow-up surveys or interviews and show them how one of their sales took the consumer from Point A to Point B.

Also, consider giving them insight into what happens with the revenue generated from the sale.

Obviously, everyone needs to get paid and the company needs to make a profit. But what about the rest of the money? Does it get reinvested in the company? Provide the team with better tools? Improve benefits for all?

Don’t keep them in the dark. Let them see what sort of effect their work has on everyone involved.

7. Create a Slack community.

It’s inevitable that your sales reps are going to seek each other out to talk. Few people can do this kind of job and work in isolation 24/7.

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Sell together. 🤝

Grab the free Guide to Team Selling in the Relationship Era.

While some sales managers might fear this kind of watercooler talk, you can actually use it to your advantage with a chat platform like Slack.

Slack is a tool that allows organizations to develop their own internal communities. You can create channels for different departments and teams and also give employees a clear channel through which they can communicate with others.

Just make sure you establish a good precedent for using it. Show your team in real-time how easy it is to use Slack to reach out to you for questions or issues. And be sure to use it yourself.

This will simplify your communications if you can filter all messages through a single platform instead of tracking team communications down through text, email, and so on.

Also, don’t be afraid to encourage camaraderie. You want your team to stop looking at each other as competition and instead as teammates that are going through the same struggles—and experiencing the same wins.

According to a Gallup poll, having friends at work results in improved performance, which in turn will give you more engaged customers and higher profits.

Inspire your team to do more.

As a sales leader, stop looking at sales reps as numbers on your reports:

“If Employee A generates $X in sales in Q2, the company will see an X% increase in overall revenue.”

Instead, start treating them like the valuable team members that they are.

When you’re asking someone to do something as important as "sell this company's product and service," you want them to be enthusiastic about doing it. Want to boost team morale even more? Learn more about how to give a motivational sales speech.

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