Back to blog

Sales Team Motivation: 7 Proven Strategies to Boost Performance

Learn more about the best strategies for encouraging and maintaining robust sales team motivation.

Jodi Monroe
Writer at Motion
Feb 21, 2024
Table of contents

Are your sales in a slump? Lagging behind those key performance indicators you know your team is capable of achieving?

If so, then it may be time to boost sales team motivation in your organization. Read on to learn the most effective ways to motivate your team.

CTA Template

Maximize your team's output with Motion

Sign up now to get started

Get Started

What is sales team motivation?

Sales team motivation is the process of encouraging your sales team to achieve their goals. It involves the thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes your team has regarding their work.

Everyone is motivated by different things, so there’s no one way to go about making your team feel driven to perform.

A strong desire to achieve sales goals is often tied to monetary rewards, such as bonuses, performance-based incentives, or raises. Team members may also be motivated to perform based on the prospect of career advancements and promotions.

However, some studies show that intrinsic motivation is just as valuable as these external factors. Feeling a sense of purpose or fulfillment, achieving a personal career goal, and working as a valued, respected team member are potent drivers of motivation.

Why is sales team motivation important?

As you consider different ways to motivate your team, you’ll want to keep these benefits in mind:

Importance of sales team motivation
  • ‎Motivated teams demonstrate higher employee engagement.

When sales teams are inspired to work toward their goals, they’re naturally going to be more engaged.

  • Sales teams who are motivated in the right ways show increased productivity.

Motivated employees are driven to work hard in pursuit of their goals. They might even have a little friendly in-office competition to see who can convert the most leads.

  • An improved office culture and workplace environment is another benefit of cultivating a motivated team.

Only 2 in 10 employees feel their managers and coworkers are connected to the company culture. But with a motivated team, everyone is on board, working together to hit their sales targets.

  • Motivated teams are inclined to stay with their companies, so you’ll notice reduced employee turnover and costs associated with recruiting, hiring, and onboarding.

This is particularly significant for the retail and wholesale industries, which face an employee turnover rate of 32.9% — higher than the average rate of 17.3%.

With these points in mind, let’s shift to ways you can motivate your team.

7 ways to motivate your sales team

High-performing teams are motivated by a variety of factors. Here’s a breakdown of what you can do to make sure your sales team is as motivated as possible:

1. Build strong connections

Trust is the foundation for healthy work relationships and the first building block to a successful sales team.

If you haven’t established trust with your team members or are unsure whether you have, you need to revisit this critical step.

Employees who trust their managers demonstrate increased productivity and work quality, leading to a healthier bottom line in the long run.

You can start building trust with transparency. Establish clear and accessible communication channels. Your employees should feel comfortable contacting each other through email, informal chat spaces, and video conferencing tools.

Set direct expectations for professional and courteous communications among all members. Establish timelines for responses to questions and concerns and commit to following them. Point out how your employees can reach you in an emergency and who to contact if you are away from the office.

Leverage the benefits of the right software to support you.

Motion project manager feature

‎Motion’s Project Manager is ideal for keeping sales teams in the loop. Create workspaces for each project so that team members can chat, leave notes, and attach files as necessary. Motion automatically assigns project tasks for each member and reprioritizes responsibilities if something crops up.

Go beyond establishing clear communication channels to creating thoughtful, engaging, team-building activities.

You can incorporate icebreakers into your weekly meetings. Host a brown-bag lunch hour on-site, or head out to a nearby restaurant as a group.

Set up virtual coffee chats to ensure your remote and hybrid workers feel like part of the team. If you’re working with individuals in different time zones, host several drop-in sessions to foster inclusion and participation.

Let Motion do the heavy lifting for you. With its Task Manager function, you can set recurring tasks (e.g., “Virtual Coffee Break with the Team”) to ensure these team-building times don’t get lost in the shuffle.

2. Set clear goals and expectations

Continue with your model of transparency by setting crystal-clear sales goals.

You’ll notice more motivation when members have a say in their team goals and understand the objectives, action items, and timelines they need to achieve them.

Implement SMART goals — goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound — as part of your organizational practice.

Do you know your team members’ individual needs, too. Are they looking to advance in their position? Are they interested in building specific sales skills? Connect their personal goals to the team’s and watch their motivation soar.

And don’t forget to also consider the needs of your hybrid or remote workers. Given the nature of their positions, they may struggle more with their job and role clarity.

Maintain easy access to your transparent policies and procedures, and ensure any updates are communicated immediately. With Motion, you can ask questions, comment on projects, and store notes in one handy place so no one’s left in the dark.

Encourage your team members to check in with each other on their progress through Motion’s Meeting with Teammates feature. They can quickly set up a one-on-one or small group chat for updates or collaborations.

3. Provide coaching opportunities

Eighty-one percent of sales reps say they receive valuable coaching from their manager, but one-on-one sessions are lacking.

81% of employees receive valuable coaching

‎Provide mentorship or coaching opportunities for everyone on your sales team who is interested. Spend time working with individuals on their sales strengths and weaknesses, so they can take that knowledge and apply it during their next opportunity.

For instance, if you have team members who struggle with public speaking, work with them until they feel comfortable. Give them tips on how to engage their audience, whether it’s a couple of clients or a room full of potential leads.

If someone wants to boost their persuasion skills, work with them through role-playing scenarios.

By giving the people on your sales team a skill to focus on, they’ll be motivated to knock their next sales meeting or presentation out of the park.

4. Offer professional development

Another way to motivate employees is to give them opportunities to advance their professional careers.

You can provide professional development in various ways, including the following:

  • Conferences
  • Workshops
  • Webinars
  • College courses
  • Certifications

There are plenty of excellent sales training programs available online and in-person. For instance, you could send your sales team to a conference or webinar on closing deals or making effective pitches.

There are also professional organizations that offer certification programs, such as the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals, the National Association of Sales Professionals, and Sales and Marketing Executives International.

Supporting your sales team through professional development won’t just motivate them. It will also help them become a stronger sales team, which can help your business grow.

5. Recognize accomplishments

Recognition is most effective when aligned with the workplace culture. However, only 34% of employers offer recognition programs, and only 13% of their employees describe their program as “excellent.”

Consistency and personal connection are essential factors in recognition. Seventy-two percent of employees from the study above report being consistently noticed for the “little things” they do.

Customize recognition for each employee

‎Customize your recognition for each recipient. Include the specifics that make them stand out. For example, “Maya closed on the Broadway property two weeks before the deadline, putting our team well ahead of our monthly sales goals.”

A great way to recognize your employees early and often is to schedule a task reminder via Motion’s Task Manager. Review your team’s progress for the week and make a point of highlighting one or two members for their contributions.

Send private thank yous by email or set up a kudos board of acknowledgment in your shared chat spaces. Encourage team members to notice and identify fellow members who have gone above and beyond or simply made their work lives a little easier.

You can also implement an employee spotlight template to recognize each of your employees individually.

Finally, celebrate with the team when you hit critical deadlines, meet primary goals and objectives, and complete projects.

6. Connect to employee well-being

You can support your sales team even further by encouraging them to maintain a positive work-life balance.

Fifty-two percent of employees report experiencing significant daily stress, which can affect their productivity and longevity at their current organization.

Encourage your team to set boundaries between their home and work lives. These are especially critical for your remote or hybrid members since the line between “work” and “home” is often blurry.

Setting Boundaries

‎Urge them to take their scheduled breaks and lunch times and to take advantage of any paid time off (PTO) they have.

Another great way to mitigate stress and support productivity is through automation. Set prioritized tasks, including daily breaks, in your team members’ schedules.

Encouraging your team to make their well-being a priority builds further trust. With breaks built into their schedule, your employees don’t have to worry about finding time to step away and clear their minds.

You can support your sales team’s health and wellness by purchasing apps like Headspace or Calm for the entire company. Add relaxation spaces to the office with soft lighting, cozy chairs, and healthy snacks.

To support all team members, offer access to in-person or virtual mental health resources.

7. Make recognitions tangible

Money talks.

Tangible recognition for individual and team accomplishments drives employees to achieve their goals.

This recognition might come in the form of:

  • Bonuses
  • Raises
  • Promotions
  • Gift cards
  • PTO
  • Catered lunches

Which of these can you offer?

Do the work. Find out what matters most to your employees to give their motivation a boost.

Sales team motivational quotes (and when to use them)

Motivational quotes go beyond tacking a poster to the wall or attaching them to your email signature. The right quote at the right time can work wonders.

Here are some angles you could take with this:

Connect with a team member about their personal goals or career ambitions:

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, determines your altitude.”
Zig Ziglar

Tie individual employee recognition to specific examples of how their performance matters to the company:

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. Because it does.”
William James

Motivational quote from William James

‎Convey the importance of developing customer connections for long-term success:

“Make a customer, not a sale.”
Katherine Barchetti

Use something like this when you’re about to kick off a new project or sales goal:

“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.”
Bobby Unser

Try this out every time you’re in a brainstorming, problem-solving, or debriefing session:

“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over.”
Richard Branson

While these quotes can offer some initial inspiration, it’s up to you to keep that positive energy going.

Encourage sales team motivation with Motion

The right sales team motivation comes down to your team and what drives them.

Money matters, but so does digging deep to discover what pushes your sales employees to achieve their personal and career goals.

Start with building a strong culture of trust, connection, and open communication. Provide opportunities for professional development, and determine how you can make their rewards tangible.

Let Motion support your efforts. With Motion’s Project Manager, for instance, you set the tone for open and consistent communication. Not only does this tool measure how much your team can accomplish, but it also builds each member a prioritized schedule.

Don’t wait to improve your sales team’s collaboration and motivation. Get started with Motion’s 7-day free trial today.

Jodi Monroe
Jodi Monroe is a content writer and blogger in the SaaS space. When not at her laptop, she’s planning her next travel adventure.
Written by Jodi Monroe