It’s no secret that sales performance is tied to motivation. The harder question is: how do you keep your sales team motivated?
We reached out to a handful of sales leaders to ask exactly that.
“In my experience, there is no single tactic that works for every individual on your team,” Vidyard’s Director of Business Development Ellen Stafford, tells us. “Some people are motivated by compensation, others by recognition, and others by having a healthy work/life balance.”
Sales team motivation is about individual goals
More than pure numbers, motivation is about understanding individual goals and motivators, Ellen says. “By aligning those goals to the goals of our overall organization, your people will recognize the investment you are making in them as individuals, driving their motivation and happiness in the role.”
His answer is simple but incredibly insightful. It aligns perfectly with Ellen’s response, too.
“Understand why your sales reps work at your company.”
Sam lives in Oakland, the hub of Sales Development in the Bay, where he works with SDRs, VPs of Sales and CEOs of rapidly growing startups to accelerate their revenue targets as a SDR coach to dozens of SaaS SDR teams.
With this impressive background, it’s no wonder that Sam’s answer stood out to us. It goes deeper than gimmicks and bonuses, tying motivation back to the why for every sales rep.
“First you need to understand why each individual xDR is at your company,” Sam says. “As a rule of thumb, about 60% of your xDRs want to be Account Executives. However, that means that 40% do not.” Motivating those who want to be account execs is more traditional.
But the 4 out of 10 sales reps that have other goals can be more complicated. Their goals could include:
- Marketing leadership
- Or they might just have an interest in your product
“These individuals aren’t motivated in the same way that ‘traditional’ sales reps are,” Sam says. “More studies are showing that even the hungriest sales reps aren’t exclusively coin-operated. Knowing this, and also knowing that a portion of your entry-level sales roles aren’t even motivated to become future sales reps, we have to better understand why they’re in sales.”
Sam gives a pretty compelling example: student loans.
Let’s say one of your SDRs is in sales to pay off their student loans as quickly as possible. But they struggle with making cold calls (or even sending cold emails). With that knowledge, it’s pretty easy to motivate them without necessarily paying them more money.
Instead, tie every cold call to their bonus — and how that bonus will help them pay off the last of their student loans. For example:
- Your SDR is given a $100 bonus for every meeting booked.
- It takes 50 cold calls to book a meeting.
- Each cold call is technically worth $2.
- They have the ability to make an additional $50 every week ($2400/year) by making 5 extra cold calls every day.
That’s a big chunk of extra change that can go directly to their student loans.
But motivation goes beyond straight math. Sam again: “If one of your xDRs wants to be in marketing, but is struggling to do the job, take the time to understand why they want to be in marketing.”
Do they love writing? Put them on new sequences or A/B tests for new messaging.
Do they love events? “Empower them to attend conferences when they are over achieving their quotas,” Sam advises.
The bottom line is pretty simple. “When you understand why your sales reps work at your company, motivating them is easy,” Sam says. You don’t need to add bonuses or put on crazy events.
“Just tie what they do day-to-day to what their personal and professional goals are,” Sam concludes. “Because chances are, they aren’t doing that themselves.”
How do you motivate your sales team?