Put The “Aye” In Team

By Malcolm Fleschner

Does your sales force consist of team players or solo flyers? Maybe you’ve found that some of your reps are a little of both. Having such a mix poses a challenge when it comes time to develop an incentive program. But, sales trainer John Boe (www.johnboe.com) says, the key is to understand the motivating factors behind top and average performers and then create an incentive program that promotes development in both camps.

“Top producers – the real top people – play for money, trips, individual recognition,” Boe says. “But people toward the middle play for team benefits. They feel good about being on a team that’s succeeding. That’s why I suggest dividing your people up and putting them on teams that compete against one another and against themselves. There’s a lot of team pressure that can be applied to an average producer who’s been coupled with a lot of higher achievers.”

First, Boe emphasizes, sales organizations should offer incentives that reward salespeople – particularly top producers – as individuals. But beyond that, he says, by layering in a team incentive you encourage individual achievement among the lower ranks and compel the top people to see themselves more as team players.

“You can use to your advantage the fact that top producers have typically a more loner style, whereas the lower producers are team oriented,” he says. “As members of the small teams you artificially create, these middle-tier people won’t want to let the team down. And when they start winning as part of a team, they gain confidence in their own skills. I also find that the top producers respond to the new team orientation by beginning to mentor those middle producers because now they know their rewards are tied to the entire team’s production.”