Effective Sales Management: Motivating

A sales manager can motivate and inspire salespeople in three ways. Proper compensation plans, conducting effective sales and training meetings, and helping salespeople set higher goals and objectives.

Salespeople are motivated by ambition, the need for recognition and of course compensation. To prompt salespeople to higher levels of performance it is necessary to design an effective compensation plan. An effective compensation plan is one that is going to help both the salesperson and the company achieve their goals.

Companies must incentivize the behavior and results they want. The comp plan should emphasize the desired company outcome. Be it new clients, retention of clients, new product sales or gross profits. Whatever the compensation plan is it needs to be easily understood by the salesperson. It should be so easily understood that the salesperson could figure it out in their head.

Sales meetings provide an excellent opportunity for motivating, training and inspiring salespeople. Unfortunately, most sales meetings fall short on this. Many times the sales meeting becomes a forum for the manager to rant and rave about lagging sales, lack of activity or administrative policies and details. Because of the social nature of most salespeople, sales meetings should be fun, educational and inspirational. It is also a place to publicly praise the sales team for anything positive. Salespeople get beat up constantly so use this time to accentuate the positive and minimize the negative. The salespeople should leave the sales meeting high as a kite not as low as a snake’s belly. Most managers fail miserably in this role.

Training prepares the salesperson to maximize every customer encounter. A methodical selling process incorporates specific selling techniques that are custom-tailored for each buyer they interact with.

Through proper training, salespeople better understand their customer’s wants and needs. They’re also better equipped to cope with potential difficulties with the company’s products and services.

Well-trained salespeople recognize genuine selling opportunities more readily than their untrained counterparts.

An effective training program brings new staff up to speed more quickly than when sales reps are forced to learn on their own. As a result, frustrations are minimized and people are less inclined to go elsewhere.

The third part of motivation is goal setting. The manager’s role is to help salespeople become more focused on specific, achievable personal goals that are aligned with the company’s goals. This requires spending time one-on-one with the salespeople to help them enlarge the mental picture they have of themselves and what they can achieve. Some examples of goals might include: sales and gross profits for the year, obtaining more business from existing clients, acquiring new clients, retention of existing clients, etc.

High performance starts with clear unambiguous goals. They must define what success means to the individual and to the company.


Craig Breitsprecher


Your analysis is quite correct when summarizing the “traditional” sales meeting. One of the things that has changed here since we started New School Selling is that our focus has definitely changed to “what are we doing right and how can we do it better” rather than focusing entirely on what everyone is doing wrong. Our management attitudes have advanced several miles from where we were 4 years ago. Hats off to our top people for being able to adapt and change to New School Sellign to meet new market challenges.


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