Everybody Up!

By Malcolm Fleschner

If Abraham Lincoln had been a sales manager, his famous quotation might have been changed to: You can motivate some of the salespeople all of the time and all of the salespeople some of the time, but you can’t motivate all of the salespeople all of the time. Then again, Lincoln didn’t have the benefit of advice from the incentive experts at Cultureworx. Their key tips for keeping everyone – not just your superstars – operating at peak performance levels follow.

1. Keep it real
When setting goals, you want to straddle the fine line between stretching your salespeople to their limits and maintaining realistic, attainable levels.

2. Get input
Involve your salespeople in the incentive program development process and you’ll learn how much improvement you can expect, where to direct resources, what obstacles they face and the best performance measurements.

3. Emphasize the mission
Make sure your salespeople understand that the behaviors you’re encouraging will contribute to achieving the company’s overall mission and you will generate greater effort.

4. Drive training
Training should be targeted to achieving organizational goals while providing clear benefits to the salespeople themselves – particularly for average performers.

5. Measure up
Make your performance yardsticks abundantly clear. Clear measurements help people understand what is expected of them while providing management a ready means for identifying and correcting problems.

6. Consider the structure
The most inclusive incentives are open-ended – meaning they reward individual salespeople for reaching or surpassing their own sales targets. By rewarding only top performers, you risk demotivating or alienating the majority of your team members.

7. Talk it up
Send out award statements or results throughout the length of your contest that include messages underscoring the corporate mission, company goals and program requirements.

8. Recognize success
Public recognition should go to high achievers as well as to those middle level performers who have shown consistent improvement.