For most salespeople, financial rewards alone are not enough. They are, of course, very important, especially in sales where many people go into the profession for the financial upside. But everybody knows that you can work in a job that pays extremely well and still be miserable.
So what are some of the things that can motivate salespeople just as much as financial rewards do? We’ve put together a list of the six best, non-financial motivators that have proven to be effective. So if you’re looking to add other incentives into the mix in addition to what is hopefully a competitive pay plan, here are some great ideas:
Another way to motivate your salespeople is to get them some great sales tools, including Spiro’s Proactive Relationship Management Platform!
This might be the most obvious example, but you should always make an effort to recognize hard work, achievement, and anything else that you deem a positive contribution to your organization. Recognition is a great way for you to increase the pride that your salespeople take in their work and to provide them with something to strive for.
Consider adding not only annual, but monthly, weekly, or daily moments of recognition for your sales team. Focus on things that are important and can be tracked like numbers, but don’t forget to recognize the intangibles that some people can bring to the table. Things like teamwork, going above and beyond what somebody is asked to do, and sacrifice are all important things that you should make an effort to show your sales team that you appreciate.
2. Professional development
Not every organization invests in their salespeople’s professional development above and beyond training for their position, and some don’t even provide that. But professional development can also serve as an excellent motivator for salespeople who are serious about their career. There are some companies that are known for their development programs and salespeople flock there because they know that after a stint, they can pretty much write their own ticket for where they work after.
But don’t only focus on development that will strictly benefit the company’s bottom line. Even if there’s no direct link between what kind of programs and support you’re offering your team and how much more money you’ll make in revenue, there’s lots of value in the goodwill you will get from your employees if they know that you’re willing to invest in them, including morale and higher retention rates.
3. More flexibility
This usually already happens in most competently-run sales workplaces. If you’re a top producer or you’re constantly meeting and exceeding goals, then you tend to have more flexibility. This can mean a more flexible work schedule, perhaps the ability to work from remotely or based on some other type of arrangement, but it can also mean more flexibility in other ways, all depending on your workplace structure.
Of course, much of the time, flexibility is undefined and salespeople will see their more successful coworkers with more flexibility than they get. It can be a fine needle to thread. It might make sense to codify some perks based on performance so that everybody concretely understands why others receive flexibility. This will also serve as a non-financial incentive to motivate people to reach that next level themselves.
4. Time off
Ok, technically this might be a financial incentive depending on how your compensation is structured. But allowing for extra time off as a reward for exceeding certain goals can be a great motivator. Of course that time off can be a bigger motivator if you throw in some round-trip tickets to somewhere warm and tropical, but time off itself can be incredibly valuable in a high-stress job like sales.
Again, make sure that your incentives are clearly laid out so that other salespeople aren’t wondering why somebody else is getting plenty of vacation and rest time while they’re not. A sense of fairness is critical to ensuring that incentives motivate people in the correct ways.
This incentive is a little trickier to pull off correctly for the simple reason that it can be a self-perpetuating cycle. A person exceeds their goal, and in turn gets more leads, which makes it easier for them to exceed their goal and so on and so on. The flip side of that argument is that the leads should go to people who are best able to convert them. There is truth to both ways of looking at it, but a sales team is about more than one person so it’s important to keep things flowing properly.
The best way to provide leads as an incentive is to only do this with “extra” leads. This might mean a house deal that occasionally comes in, or some other lead source that comes directly to management that doesn’t go through the usual process. Once salespeople see that their success will beget more success, they will (hopefully) strive for it.
6. A good environment
At the end of the day, the most difficult but arguably most important non-financial incentive you can provide for your sales team is a good work environment. While a lot of it is intangible and tough to measure, a good environment is one where salespeople are empowered, supported, trusted, and feel like they’re making a meaningful contribution. Spiro prides ourselves on an excellent work environment. On the opposite side is an environment where they’re berated, distrusted, and feel disposable and inconsequential.
Thankfully, many sales organizations are moving more toward the former environment than the latter as changes in the workforce and employee expectations have shifted over the last decade. There are no shortage of resources out there that can help you shape your organization into a supportive and healthy one. And if you’re willing to take the time to do this, there’s no doubt that you’ll see your sales team’s fortunes rise along with their level of satisfaction.