What is it that really motivates sales people? Money – obviously! Or is it? Having worked in high-pressure sales environments over the last decade, the idea that all sales people are money motivated is misleading and only part of a much more interesting picture. Certainly financial rewards are an important part of the overall sales person’s recompense for handling all the rejections, objections, issues and complaints. But when you scratch beneath the surface there’s a lot more going on.
In the current economic climate organisations are looking to their sales people to generate more new business and get more business from their existing customers against increasingly more desperate competition. Sales people today are coming from more varied backgrounds than ever before; many coming from technical and specialist fields or from account-managing or customer-service types of roles. And whilst they like to earn the extra money that sales can offer, it takes something more than just hard cash to keep them performing at the highest level. From our research over the recent months it’s clear that several factors need to be taken into account to fully motivate top sales people:
Competition: the chance to compete with others, not only the incentive of beating their competitors, but also competition within the sales team or across the organisation – the urge to be top sales person can really drive success.
Kudos: the recognition from their peers and colleagues, as well as from happy customers and other industry specialists, sales people benefit from their status within their circle of influence.
Challenge: cracking the ‘tough nut’, finding the best solution for a complex problem under difficult circumstances is motivational and rewarding.
Expertise: sales people enjoy being recognised for their knowledge and proficiency in their area of specialisation.
Autonomy: having control over their patch, their diary, and their contacts, being empowered to find their own way of meeting their goals.
Market Knowledge: networking and keeping up-to-date with who’s who, what’s what, and the ‘movers and shakers’.
Development: learning new tips and techniques to ‘sharpen the saw’, sales people are always looking to try out new ideas and different tactics.