What are the overlooked aspects of motivating a sales team? Use creativity as leverage instead of higher and higher commissions.

The search for sustained motivation is never ending with sales teams. It takes a diverse-thinking manager to find creative avenues for boosting performance. Let’s face it: money does motivate people, but how long will it last? The luster decreases if you over-use it.

Plus, money prizes don’t bring teams together. Groups need more zest and excitement to push each other higher. Smart managers see motivating a sales team as an opportunity for team building and increasing productivity through creativity.

motivating a sales team

Creative ideas for motivating a sales team

1. Raising money for a cause that aligns with your team and culture

The first strategy involves money! But the cash is not going to your company’s bank account or the sales person’s pocket. Instead, your team works to improve the lives of other people.

Motivating a sales team isn’t all about personal gain. You’d be surprised how hard people will work if they know they’re doing it for a good cause. It’s all about inner satisfaction and emotional reward.

However, you have to choose wisely. Talk to your sales team about what type of cause they’d want to help. Present it to your team, network with volunteers, and demonstrate the impact your salespeople could make (if they meet or exceed goals). Then create milestones to get there.

2. Gamification of hitting milestones and performance goals

The new craze these days is “gamification.” Ever play Dungeons & Dragons as a kid or binge Farmville on your phone? Why are those games so damn satisfying, anyway?

It’s because the rewards are immediate, you can rank against other players, and it’s more fun than real life. Games don’t feel like work.

Now picture your business as an incubator for that kind of thinking. Your employees earn points, beat levels, and track goals with a “game-style” system.

There are apps available today that make sales gamification instant. They’re useful for motivating a sales team that values a fun workplace and friendly competition.

3. Rewarding the team as a whole for hitting sales goals

Every sales team has its stars. They’re the ones who naturally motivate themselves. They like to beat personal records, collect trophies, and challenge their limitations.


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But not everyone is like that. Many salespeople find it easier to motivate themselves by working with a team. They like to lift people up and treat colleagues like a family.

As a manager, you have two different motivational categories: individuals and teams. By focusing on the team aspect, you find unique benefits to culture building and camaraderie.

Set sales goals for your entire team and reward them as a team. That way, regardless of coming in first or last place, your salespeople can celebrate together. No one feels left behind.

4. Displaying performance of individuals in the workplace

Here’s a way to bring psychology into the equation for motivating a sales team. Display individual performance in front of the staff. Get the naked truth out there for the whole world to see.

You know what happens? People try harder. No one wants to be in the last place. Social pressure is a proven incentive that boosts competitive spirits up a few notches. When Sean sees that Hannah’s numbers pulled him out of first place, he’ll badly want to reclaim that spot.

There are ways of doing this wrong. Not everyone will take to having their poor performance tacked on the wall for the rest to see. It could ignite jealousy and poisonous envy if not handled correctly.

Be sure to support your display with acts of encouragement and team spirit. If someone’s numbers are extremely low, have the team post supportive notes, like “You can do it!” Also, call to attention the progress of those salespeople. Make a big deal out of milestones.

5. Awarding your stars with prestige and recognition

There is a reason for award ceremonies and trophies, you know. Can you imagine the Acadamy Awards without fancy dresses, inspiring speeches, and shiny golden Oscars?

That’s the power of prestige at its finest hour. People love to be recognized for their efforts. It’s a motivator just as powerful as loads of money.

Make sure that you award and recognize your top achievers. Do it in dramatic fashion (but not to the point of annoying your team or making them jealous). Think more along the lines of running down an aisle of team members and slapping hands with each one, then getting a big brass medal at the end. Supportive, fun, and positive.


lead-managerlead-managerGive your sales teams unique tools that automate tasks, so they’ll have more time to close deals. Schedule a free demo with us, and we’ll show you how!


How do you motivate your sales team? Share your ideas in the comments.