Struggling to keep your sales reps motivated? We can help!

As the months roll by, and chores pile up, excitement takes a back seat. As the saying goes, lots of work could make things rather dull. And that’s exactly what happens in offices as the year progresses. With tasks becoming mundane and monotonous, it isn’t surprising to feel the lack of motivation creeping in. You see, when it comes to keeping your team motivated and focused, you need to keep your thinking hat on all year long to figure out what encourages them best and what to do next. 

If you think this is quite overwhelming, you’ve come to the right place. And for starters, we have two words for you: sales incentives. You can’t take a shot at keeping your employees motivated without it. 

After getting a robust sales incentives structure in place, you can pick from various incentives to keep your team going. For the uninitiated, Special Performance Incentive Funds or SPIFs can be a foolproof way forward. 


Now, you must be wondering how hard it is to get the SPIFs right? What if we said it really isn’t? Allow us to explain. 


  • Know your goals 
  • Be wary of predictability 
  • Define tasks and timelines clearly 
  • Make the SPIFs easy to understand 
  • It’s important to remember to analyse the outcome 


Financial Incentives


Based on commissions and compensations, cash rewards, as the name suggests, deals with money matters outside compensation plans. With a specific monetary reward set in place, this encourages employees to focus on certain defined goals to achieve success. 


Non-monetary Incentives 


Non-cash rewards however try to imbibe creative prizes to define the incentives. With the scope to make employees feel appreciated in special and personalised ways, this option is a personal favourite.


Positive Incentives


Positive incentives come into play when assurances are provided for a Reps’ needs. Aimed at satiation psychological needs of employees, this includes recognition and perks that create a positive environment for a rep to thrive in. 


Negative Incentives


Incentives that aim to correct employee errors are usually referred to as negative incentives. By targeting mistakes and trying to rectify them effectively, it is sometimes used to give employees a jolt when positive incentives seem to fail. Demotions, transfers and other negative acts can create a psychological feeling of a setback that inspires employees to work harder. 


There’s more to motivation than incentives 


While incentives play a very important role in motivating employees, there is more to motivation than just incentives. Managers, team leaders and HRs must leverage all available resources to manage workforces effectively.


  • When employees are intrinsically motivated, they end up passionate about their jobs because of their own drive, while extrinsically motivated employees are inspired to perform better by a positive or negative incentive coming into play, compelling them to take some action.


  • If you think about it, a truly engaged employee is one who is intrinsically motivated. By actually loving what they do, they work hard to improve their skills and talents. Intrinsically motivated employees are always a boon for the organisation and a great addition to the team


  •  However, employees who rely on extrinsic motivation are not to be frowned upon. Since their productivity is defined by external factors, a good manager simply needs to identify the right stimulus to make sure that the team reaches their goal.


Thankfully, in recent times triggering motivation isn’t as hard as you think it is. By defining roles, setting goals, and elaborating on purpose, you can not only help employees be more aware of company goals, but also align with them by understanding how their contribution actually makes a difference. But that’s not all. Having all this in place without a recognition system in place isn’t advisable. 


Given that the times are changing and so are workplaces and workforces, traditional methods of incentives and motivation are undoing change as well. So how does one go about setting incentives that can actually motivate sales reps?


  • Build the right culture: Vague ethics and questionable work culture works wonders when it comes to demotivating employees. So it is critical to spend time in building a culture that engages the workforce. 


  • Recognition rules: While older generations thrived on bonuses, the younger generations that are rapidly becoming a large part of workforces care a lot about recognition, especially in large teams where someone’s contribution can easily be overlooked otherwise. Having a robust recognition policy can ensure dedicated effort from your employees.


  • Customisation is key: If you have spent the time getting to know your employees, you’ll know that one size literally doesn’t fit all. While some might appreciate financial rewards, others may prefer attending a workshop or a training session instead. Allowing space for customised incentives ensures that each individual the right stimulus to keep them going.


  • Care about the personal: Just because someone is good at a job, does not mean that they are intrinsically motivated. Hence, it is important for employers to know what is truly important to employees and support their personal causes to gain trust and sustain a good employee-organization relationship. 


At the end of the day, incentives are merely tools to motivate employees to work hard for a cause. If you choose to reward an employee for meeting deadlines and completing tasks, you’re doing it wrong. To sum it up, incentives help reps go the extra mile than sustain a steady flow of mediocre work. 

In workplaces that are currently being defined by millennials and the Gen Z, old, feudal approaches are known to fail. With ethics, purpose and meaningful work coming into the limelight as issues employees really care about, it is important for a good manager to constantly think of new ways of keeping employees motivated and engaged. When one spends so many hours at work, the least a good manager can do is make it enjoyable. So what’s your take on this?

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