Selling Power Blog

News & Insights for B2B Sales Leaders

June 17, 2021

Don’t Make These Motivation Mistakes

By Rochelle Taylor, VP of Strategic Marketing, One10

We all like to be rewarded for a job well done. Whether it’s a good performance review, a service award or a contest, rewards motivate teams to stay engaged and do more. Thus, motivation is critical to improving your sales results and increasing your bottom line.

There’s no denying that salespeople are naturally competitive. It’s this competitive nature that helps them excel in their sales roles and continues to produce the ROI you desire. But, motivation isn’t as easy as it looks. There’s a science to the art of motivation. If not done properly, attempts at motivating your team could fall flat, leaving you with less than desirable results and an unhappy workforce.

Here are four motivation mistakes to avoid:

1. No strategy

Thinking about throwing together a last-minute sales promotion? Motivating your team and driving results requires strategically planning and designing a sales incentive program. To begin the process, it’s important to have the end in mind. What are your overall business objectives? Your objectives could include increases in units, revenues, profit margin, steps to the sale, and other factors. After identifying your objectives, you can determine what specific behaviors need to be modified to make your sales incentive program a success. To help you get started, we’ve created this Ultimate Guide to a Killer Sales Incentive Program.

2. Relying on cash bonuses

Everyone is motivated by cash, right? Wrong. Cash isn’t king when it comes to motivating your team. Multiple studies show team members actually place a higher value on non-cash gifts. Why? Cash is transactional and used for everyday purchases like gas or groceries. By the time you’ve spent all the cash you’ve earned, you’ve likely forgotten how you earned the cash in the first place. On the other hand, rewards are lasting and memorable. The key to motivation is to create a good rewards mix that appeals to the variety of personalities on your team. To do this, look for a points-based system that gives your team the choice to earn and spend on their schedule.

3. Lack of communication

A secret incentive program will never be a successful one. Therefore, ample communication is critical to keep all of your audiences engaged and ensure you meet your program goals. But who is your audience? Is there more than one audience you need to target? Everyone can play an important role in your sales incentive program. Consider all job roles in your internal and external teams. Communicating differently with each audience is important. Consider varying the copy, imagery, and format of your communication to reach everyone effectively. A multi-pronged approach to communication is also important and includes using a variety of communication tools to share your program messages, like printed material mailed to homes, digital communication, and text/SMS messages.

4. Not having the right technology to manage your program

Gone are the days of using multiple spreadsheets to track the performance of your team. This only leads to disparate data and frustrated participants. Advanced technology can take your sales incentive program from good to great. Look for technology that keeps your team connected through an online portal so they can easily track their progress and stay motivated to exceed their goals. We’re always on the go, so technology that is specifically designed for mobile devices is important. Think about how frustrating it is to navigate a website on your phone that hasn’t been optimized for a mobile device. Don’t frustrate your teams in the same way. Our PerformX® SaaS technology gives you greater flexibility, a mobile-first UI, and a seamless experience for your participants.

When done well, your sales incentive program will engage and motivate your team, while also increasing sales for your employees and partners. Poorly designing and executing your sales incentive program can be more damaging than not having a program in the first place. But, when you turn to professionals who have the expertise and technology, they can typically help you get going quickly.  A company that specializes in incentives will focus on delivering ROI and enhancing your bottom line.

Headshot of Rochelle Taylor

Today's blog post is by Richelle Taylor. She is One10 VP Strategic Marketing, is a leader in performance improvement and marketing services in North America. Richelle oversees One10’s go-to-market strategy and its Incentives & Recognition business segment which includes global rewards as well as technology development for One10’s proprietary performance improvement platform, PerformX. Richelle brings a seasoned background to One10, having held leadership positions in marketing, sales, and product management for enterprise recognition and incentive technology solutions.