Sales Enablement Global

Motivation Theories: How to Motivate Your Sales Army?

Motivation Theories - How to Motivate Your Sales Army?
Your company’s bottom line greatly depends on how your sales team performs. Here are some tips to help you motivate your sales army to give their best.

What makes you a leader? Yes, it’s your people. And you don’t need a title to lead people. All you need is their support and trust. So how can you be a great leader? To be one, you should invest your time and energy into your people’s well-being. You should be their coach, mentor, task-master, motivator, and counselor. Ultimately, leadership is all about how you motivate your people to perform and give their best in whatever they do. And sales is one such field that requires you to wear the motivator cap from time to time. So, to motivate your sales army, the first step is to understand what motivates each one of them. Yes, you heard me right! You need to take a one-to-one approach/one team at a time approach – whichever works best for you and your sales army.

Did you know? Only 10% to 15% of your salespeople are self-motivated. And the rest of them need a push from your end. And this is where motivation theories can help you. Let’s look into the 3 different motivation theories and how you can use the principles/concepts from these theories to motivate your sales army.

Different motivation theories

1. Abraham Maslow Hierarchy of Needs Theory

According to this theory, people can be categorized based on 5 needs:

  1. Biological needs: Includes the need for food, sleep, water, and shelter
  2. Security needs: Includes the need to feel safe, like job security
  3. Belongingness needs: Includes the need to feel accepted or be a part of a group
  4. Self-esteem needs: Includes the need to be recognized, appreciated, and respected
  5. Self-actualization needs: Includes the need to grow and develop oneself

Tips for motivating your sales army – your employees:

According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory, the salesperson who has just started his/her career is motivated by the 1st three stages of needs: biological, safety, and security needs. You can motivate people who are in these 3 stages by:

  • Providing a good salary and comfortable working environment
  • Offering well-defined job description 
  • Ensuring job security
  • Conducting job satisfaction surveys from time to time and ensuring your sales army has a good job satisfaction score
  • Providing opportunities to get to know their team members and strengthen the team bond

Tips for motivating your sales manager:

According to this theory, the manager should have already passed the 1st four stages of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and may currently be in the ‘self-esteem’ stage. In other words, he/she might have just entered the self-esteem phase. Or he/she may have just passed this stage and might be looking to embrace the next need – the need for ‘self-actualization’ – the highest level in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Considering all the above, you can motivate the people at this level by:

  • Providing opportunities to showcase their skills and talents
  • Recognizing and appreciating their good work
  • Offering career growth opportunities
  • Giving them a sense of control and freedom to make decisions
Also, learn how you can boost your marketing performance with the help of the principles derived from the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory. Click HERE

2. Herzberg Two Factor Theory

This theory basically talks about 2 main factors: Hygiene and Motivational factors. And you can motivate your sales army by ensuring at least one or more of the following elements under each of these factors are met:

Hygiene factorsMotivational factors
-Comfortable salary/compensation
-Fair and rewarding company policies
-Good working conditions
-Opportunities to nurture relationships with his/her team members
-Offer job security
-Opportunities for career and personal growth
-Job variety: one that helps them polish their existing skills and even pick up new ones
-Recognizing and appreciating hard work
-Responsibility/freedom to make independent decisions related to work
-Celebrate their small and big achievements

And as far as the sales manager is concerned, you can motivate them by giving extreme focus on their career development and offering enough opportunities to showcase their managerial/leadership skills.

3. ERG Theory of Motivation

Last but not the least, Alderfer’s ERG Theory of Motivation categorizes the needs into three main sections:-

  • Existence needs
  • Relatedness needs
  • Growth needs

So, as per this need, some people come to work to earn money – existence needs. While some may work to get to know and meet new people and expand their social network-relatedness needs. And others work to gain experience, climb up the career ladder,  get out of their comfort zone by taking up challenging projects, to feel a sense of achievement – growth needs. For some of them – it can even be a combination of these needs. Therefore, as a leader, it’s important you determine the stage of need your sales army is currently in and take appropriate steps to motivate them. 

Final words

In the end, how your team performs depends on your capability as a leader. Are you motivating them enough and in the right way? This is the question you need to ask yourself every single day. Hope the above theories will help you identify which stage of need your sales team is currently in so that you can embrace appropriate measures to motivate your sales army and give their best. Be they, offering incentives, recognizing and appreciating their performance, or providing opportunities to help them grow and become a better version of themselves every single day.

About the author

Priyanka Prashob

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