DB This memo is a to the sales manager about setting an appropriate sales compensation plan which can be used in concert with other tools in order to properly motivate our sales team. It will recommend how to proceed with a comprehensive plan to achieve better motivation, of which compensation is a key part.
Motivating the sales team
It’s surprising, but straight bonuses or award programs don’t work as well as other tools for motivation. The primary motivation for working in a sales career is not money, but esteem, a sense of self-worth and accomplishment, and the feeling of working with a winning team (Inc., 2007).
Salespeople work in both a competitive and a cooperative environment. There are tools that can work on an individual, one-on-one basis, and those that can work for the team.
For the individual, we should not make the assumption that everyone’s motivation is the same. While someone just starting out in his/her career may have long-term goals, a professional with 20 years under his/her belt will bring a different set of needs and desires to the position. It is helpful to understand each team member’s background when determining what motivates them.
For the team, we should consider what kind of a sales and support structure we would like to create. At NL&S, we already have an exciting message of growth. We can supplement that message with customer service and follow-through. We have had some issues at NL&S related to customer service. It may make sense to tie the customer service people to our sales team—there will be more on this in the recommendations (Levine, 2004).
Finally, we need to motivate not just the top performers, but the mid-level performers as well. It’s easy to give the top sellers great bonuses, but they were motivated to sell (or talented enough) anyway. By reaching to the middle level of our organization, we can pull them up with the proper motivation to exceed our expectations (Clive, 2007).
Specific recommendations for our sales force
The first thing we should do is interview the salespeople one-on-one. I would suggest that I sit in on each interview, in order to provide additional input and to listen from a different perspective. The primary reasons for this interview will be
To determine what motivates the individual sales reps: talk about their top three items. I would expect, from a survey of literature, that they want to belong to a winning team, look good to their friends, family and fellow workers, and be well-compensated for good performance.
To determine if there are any barriers to their better performance. We will concentrate on product and sales knowledge, problems that they may be encountering with our organization, our products, or our customer service. Since sales reps are customer-facing, they bear the brunt of any problems with NL&S’s performance. it’s important to understand if there are specific items that are getting in the way of specific performance.
Secondly, we will create a group motivation program which brings bonuses (cash) and prizes (a catalogue) to those who perform. The program will be tailored to quotas which recognize the specifics of each territory, and give stretch goals to mid-level as well as high-level employees. The theory behind the catalogue-based prizes is threefold:
1. Sales reps who receive cash may not value it as highly as specific tangible items that they receive—although cash is important, it may just go to pay bills and be forgotten fairly quickly.
2. Using the addition of a catalogue-based prize choice involves the sales rep’s spouse in the program, which should increase motivation.
3. Tying the program to achievable goals throughout the sales group should motivate all but the bottom group to perform better.
We will tie prizes of get-togethers with entire regional sales teams. By creating teams, we should be able to create competition amongst groups, which should promote the feeling that they are working with others in a successful enterprise.
Sales bonuses alone are seldom the best motivator for salespeople. By understanding their primary motivations, we can help them to achieve what they really want: recognition, the feeling of being on a winning team, and money.
Clive, C. (2007). Is your sales compensation plan aligned with the times? Compensation & Benefits , p. n.d.
Inc. (2007). Motivating Employees. Inc. Magazine , p. n.p.
Levine, T. (2004, August 8). Motivating your sales team. Comprehensive coaching U , p. n.p.