April 19, 2023

Motivation vs Compensation: What Works Best for Sales Teams?

The age-old question for sales leaders has always been how to keep their teams motivated and high-performing. Two approaches often come to mind: motivation and compensation. While both strategies have their advantages, the key to success lies in finding the right balance between the two.

The Power of Motivating Sales Teams

Motivation is critical for creating a positive, engaged, and driven sales team. This is especially true in the age of remote and hybrid work, where maintaining the energy and camaraderie can be challenging. By investing in motivation, you can build strong, committed teams that genuinely care about your organization's success. Here are some motivational strategies to consider:

Embrace Friendly Competition

What to do: Organize fun events like a March Madness-style bracket for your sales team, where they go head-to-head with their colleagues, and the winners advance in the competition.

Why it works: Friendly competition encourages team members to engage with each other and strive for better performance. Banter and excitement around the event can help bring the team closer and create a sense of camaraderie, even in a remote setting.

Use Technology to Foster Engagement

What to do: Use apps and tools that offer KPI challenges, leaderboards, and creative ways to celebrate successes, such as playing a personalized victory song when a deal closes.

Why it works: Apps like Uponent can help bridge the gap created by remote work and maintain the energy and atmosphere of a traditional sales floor. By providing opportunities for team members to connect, collaborate, and celebrate together, you can recreate some of that special magic that fuels motivation.

Make In-Person Connections Count

What to do: Plan occasional in-person events or gatherings, such as dinners with company leaders or team-building activities, to help strengthen bonds and foster connections.

Why it works: In a remote or hybrid work environment, face-to-face interactions are less frequent but carry more weight. By organizing in-person events, you can build stronger relationships, celebrate successes, and create memorable experiences that reinforce a sense of belonging and appreciation.

Outline Career Growth and Development

What to do: Provide opportunities for training and mentorship, connecting your team members with experienced leaders who can guide them on their career path at your company.

Why it works: We all want to feel like we have a future with the company. By investing in your sales team's personal and professional growth, you show them that they're valued and appreciated. Plus, it's a great way to keep them motivated and committed to the organization.

The Impact of Compensation on Teams

Money is a powerful motivator, and a competitive compensation package is crucial for attracting and retaining top sales talent. However, there's more to compensation than just cash. By getting creative with rewards and incentives, you can make your package more enticing and diverse.

Here are some key points to consider:

Use Monetary Rewards to Drive Performance

What to do: Build competitive commission structures, bonuses, and SPIFFs at the core of the compensation model.

Why it works: A well-balanced compensation package is a great way to incentivize reps to meet or exceed their targets. By linking compensation to performance, you create a strong connection between individual efforts and financial success, motivating employees to aim higher. After all, who doesn't love a little extra cash in their pockets?

Recognize and Reward Success

What to do: Implement programs like President's Club and other performance-based rewards to recognize and celebrate high-performers.

Why it works: When you celebrate your top performers, it's like throwing gasoline on the fire of success. Not only will it fuel their motivation to keep pushing themselves, but it will also spark a competitive drive in others to aim for the same level of achievement. Recognizing and rewarding success is a powerful tool for boosting morale and driving performance in your sales team.

Consider Offering Equity and Ownership

What to do: Offer equity or ownership opportunities to top performers, giving them a stake in the company's success.

Why it works: Offering equity or ownership to top performers isn't just a pat on the back, it's an investment in their loyalty. By giving them a stake in the company's growth and prosperity, you create a sense of ownership and commitment that can drive their performance to new heights.

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Finding the Right Balance with Motivation and Compensation

In reality, the most effective approach to driving team performance is a combination of both motivation and compensation. Striking the right balance is essential for keeping your team engaged, committed, and high-performing. Here are some strategies to help you achieve that perfect mix:

Mix in Non-Monetary Incentives

What to do: Explore non-monetary incentives, such as special dinners with company leaders or unique experiences, to reward your team.

Why it works: Non-monetary rewards can often have a more significant emotional impact than cash. By offering unique experiences or opportunities to connect with leadership, you can create memorable moments that foster motivation and drive performance.

Continuously Evaluate Your Approach

What to do: Review your motivation and compensation strategies to ensure they remain effective and relevant on an ongoing basis.

Why it works: Market conditions, company goals, the sales process, and employee expectations change over time. By staying in tune with these shifts, you can adjust your approach accordingly and ensure that your team remains engaged, motivated, and well-compensated for their efforts.

Encourage Open Communication

What to do: Foster a culture of open communication and actively seek feedback from your team members on what motivates them and what they value in a compensation package.

Why it works: Get your team involved in the decision-making process, and show them that you're invested in their success. This approach not only boosts team morale, but also helps you tailor your motivation and compensation strategies to fit their needs and preferences. After all, happy employees equal a happy bottom line.

The Takeaway

If you want to keep your sales team motivated and high-performing, you have to strike the right balance for your organization. With remote and hybrid work environments being the norm these days, make sure to experiment with new strategies and adjust as needed.

Don't be afraid to get creative with your incentives! Mix it up with some cash and unique experiences, align individual goals with company vision, and invest in your team's well-being to ignite their sales superpowers this year and beyond.

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Karly Wescott

Karly is a Lead Growth Advisor at New Breed


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