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How to Motivate a Sales Team

How to motivate a sales team

We all know that managing any team can be tough; just look at sports teams as an example. A sales team can be one of the toughest to motivate.

That being said, once a team is operating as one and is fully motivated with high morale then that is where the magic starts to happen. You yield better results, productivity and output.

I always say that the reason Leicester City won the Premier League was more down to their cohesion as a team than their individual skills and talents.

Motivating, and managing a sales team is no different. If your sales team are unmotivated and demoralised then you are only going to struggle to obtain solid results. However, if you were to have a motivated sales team then the world is your oyster. Sales will be coming through thick and fast, customer satisfaction should be at an all time high and your operational team will be moaning at you that they cannot keep up with orders.

So, how do you motivate a sales team?

There are plenty of ways to do so, and in my experience a lot of team motivation should never come as a ‘one size fits all solution’, however the below ideas, when implemented, will certainly help you to have a sales team that are motivated and willing to perform.


As with anything in life, communication is key. The more you talk to your team and let them know what is expected of them, the more you will find your team are motivated and driven towards to the same goals.

This should always be more than just a sales target, or a dials per hour kind of target. What is the overall intentions of the sales campaign? Or of the business? In my experience, the more your sales people feel part of the business the more they will go out of their way to help you to achieve your goals.

All of this communication will help to ensure there is a level of trust within the business relationship too – without trust, you could never operate well as a team.

Get to Know the Team

Everyone operates differently. As a sales manager, or a business owner, you must learn about your team, and you must understand what it is that drives and motivates them. Some members of your team will be driven by money. Some will be driven by their family. Some team members may thrive off being the underdog, and others will work harder when they have an arm around their shoulder. Understand that each team member will have their own priorities, strengths and weaknesses. The more you know this, the better.

Set Goals and Targets

As stated when talking about communication, it is very clear and obvious to ensure you have set targets and goals for your team. Fundamentally, if a person does not know their destination they are not as likely to work hard to achieve it.

Be clear about what is expected of individuals and encourage a sense of ownership for them to help the team to achieve that goal.

Even challenges within a team can bring out the best competitive edge on people.

Address Issues Quickly

Any issues within a team must always be nipped in the bud quickly. Sure, I am not suggesting you should go out and sack anyone that is not performing, or is damaging morale. But if you notice that someone is not operating well in the team be sure to nip it in the bud.

One of the best ways for this is to have a conversation with the individual to discover what it is that is going wrong. You should never assume what is going on in someone’s minds or someone’s life. The more you ask and discover, the more you can put things into place to solve the problem.

Give Personalised Rewards

For years, sales people have thrived off of commission, and other monetary rewards. Many sales people go on to have very wealthy lives and lifestyles due to the commission they have earned; this is because commission and other rewards gives people something to chase and work towards.

It is very important however to ensure that any reward or incentive you give out is as personalised or as meaningful as possible.

There is no point offering money incentives to team members whom would prefer to have time off, or a break away for their family.

But that being said, don’t be afraid to even offer small gifts. When I was managing a large sales team, I would sometimes just bring in a cheap bottle of wine (Probably around the £10 mark) and offer it to the person whom could sell the most that day – and you can bet your bottom dollar on the days I did that people would sell like their life depended on it.

Lead by Example

It goes without saying that people will tend to work better for people, and will take instruction better, when working for someone whom can do the same job. No one likes a pencil pusher, and no one likes to work for someone that is lazy and barks orders. Always be ready to stand up and lead by example. From time to time, why not make an appearance on the sales floor and make some sales. Dial out and make some cold calls. Get involved. Put your name on the list of sales people taking part in a daily, weekly or monthly sales challenge.

Show that you are willing to put in the effort and to lead by example and people will be will to do the same for you.

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