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5 Innovative Ways of Motivating Sales People that Won’t Break the Bank


Sales and Marketing
Managing sales people is hard enough; managing demotivated sales people is even harder. Unlike other departments, sales teams can’t afford to be demotivated because it quite literally costs the company money. Now, we all wish we had the superhuman selling powers that didn’t require any form of enhanced motivation but unfortunately, much like all successes we seek, you must go above and beyond to get what you want. So to save you conducting the old school approach to motivating sales people of ‘trial and error’ until you inevitably feel plagued by the errors because quite frankly, that’s all that you’re getting, we’ve put together a list of the tried and tested solutions that we’ve found works for motivating sales people:

Motivating sales people with Gamification

As a reasonably new concept, Gamification has caused a few groans and concerns across the sales space but as always, the data behind it all proves us wrong. According to M2 Research, the worldwide Gamification market will grow from $242 million in 2012 to $2.8 billion in 2016. Its popularity isn’t down to luck or the millenials love of all things technology – it actually works. CSO Insights found that 50% of Sales organisations run sales contests multiple times throughout the year. Combine that with the findings of Talent LMS that 89% of those surveyed stated that a point system would boost their engagement at work, and you have a pretty solid foundation for believing in the power of Gamification. But as humans, we are sceptical and find truthfulness in stories, that’s why customer case studies still prove so popular. Maybe it’s because there’s something clinical about data and numbers or maybe it’s because stories are still able to resonate with us on a personal level. So here’s our take on motivating sales people and the best way to increase sales: Here at Ebsta, we wanted to test out the Gamification set-up to see if it could work for us. We didn’t purchase a product by Hoopla Software or delve too far into the science of it all but what we did do was create a Sales leaderboard. Sales Reps had the ability to reach different levels and earn different rewards depending on their achievements. Surprisingly, 9 out of the 10 Sales Reps that participated hit target for the month and claimed that the experience had pushed them to do more and ultimately, sell more. We were sold.

Investing in your Reps

According to, 69% of employees’ state that they would work harder if they were better recognised. Before ideas of a simple handshake and ‘thanks’ surface, it’s time to dig a little deeper. The best way to show real, effective praise to your Sales Reps is to invest in them. More than anyone else in your organisation, your Reps understand the importance of bringing in revenue so when you spend that back on them, it proves that they’re valued. This doesn’t mean sending them on a cruise or whisking them off to a Michelin star restaurant (although both of which could also do the trick), it means a proper investment. If they’ve hit targets consistently for 6-12 months and gone above and beyond for your organisation, maybe it’s time for a promotion or an increase to their base salary. An investment could even mean getting the tools they need to make their working life easier. We invested in Pardot so that our Sales and Marketing teams could collaborate for a better handover of the hottest prospects and found value in giving our sales teams Boomerang so they could schedule emails and set reminders in Gmail. But the best investment you could make for your Sales teams would be Ebsta’s Salesforce Email Integration. Take the Users out of the equation and give them all the data they need in Salesforce to sell more without asking them to do anything.

Inspiring incentives

When most Sales Managers think of motivating sales people they vision incentives, whereby a varied montage of gift cards follows. If you’re a little more imaginative, your Sales team could be rushing off to make the next phone call and sealing the next deal. You should know the likes and dislikes of your Sales Reps having worked in close proximity with them for X amount of time. If you don’t, take check of their behaviour every now and again – what are they bringing in for lunch? Do they drink coffee or tea? All of these can be hidden clues on how to propel them into Mr/Mrs Motivator. The key is to offer incentives that are unique to each individual. If Sarah likes going out for cocktails, offer her a cocktail class for two at the best club in town, or if Liam’s favourite football club is Arsenal, offer him tickets to the most iconic game of the season. Incentives that are personal to the individual drive motivation. We tried this tactic out to improve sales performance – it works.

Giving responsibility

There’s no greater way of motivating sales people than showing them that they’re trusted and giving them responsibilities and projects that reflect that trust. It doesn’t have to be a huge responsibility where the ramifications could be damaging to your organisation but a small-scale sales responsibility will motivate them to do the job and do it well. Take this example. If a Sales Rep is looking to develop into an Account Manager and then a Senior Account Manager and so on, give them a little taster of what that world would look like so they aim for it. Ebsta Sync allows you to generate reports on activity. Maybe you could put them in charge of analysing those reports and presenting to management with their findings. This means they’re directly involved in the forecasting for the next month and what the positives and negatives were from the previous month. Our Sales Rep, Craig Maxwell, was involved in this and said “It was a great way for me to see what I’d be doing if I work hard enough to get there – what types of processes and practises are in place for management. I loved being responsible for presenting my analysis to the management group which drove me to make the results better month on month. It motivated me and I then motivated the team. It was a great experience.”

Little praise goes a long way

When Sales Reps hit target, it’s probably been a month of blood, sweat and tears, and one that they’re heading for again the next month. A little praise should never be underestimated, especially when stress levels are high and the work environment is inevitably fast-paced. Naturally as a Sales Manager, you want the same again, and more, every single month. So show them their efforts and long hours are appreciated. Have breakfast on their table the morning after they’ve hit target. Get them a coffee during the day when they look like they’re struggling. Half the time, it’s not about throwing money at the situation; it’s simply about showing that you appreciate them. If you think this won’t work, hear out the statistics that back it up. According to Sales Culture: Creating a High Performance, organisations that excel at employee recognition are 12x more likely to generate strong results than their peers. Never underestimate the power of a thank you and a smile. We don’t.  
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Katrina Holmes

Hey, I'm the Content Manager at Ebsta responsible for creating and maintaining our web content, blogs and our hip 'n' happening social media presence.

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