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David Jacoby

By: David Jacoby on December 3rd, 2010

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Money is Only One Way to Increase Sales Team Motivation

Sales Management | Sales Leadership

One of the primary functions of sales managers is to always keep the sales team motivation high.  Of course, the easy answer is just pay them more.

One of the main raps against salespeople is that they are greedy individuals who are only concerned about making the most money possible. In many cases, the perception is even worse based on a belief that a salesperson will say whatever it takes to get an order signed.

Over the years, I’ve worked with thousands of sales professionals and I have found that this stereotype (like most) only applies to a few bad apples. Based on my experience, sales professionals are committed to helping their customers address business priorities by providing them with solutions that address their business requirements (e.g., improve efficiency, increase sales…).

That said, good sales professionals are well compensated because their success translates into sales growth for their employers, and sales growth is a key driver (arguably as important as profitability these days) of a company’s market value. As Gerhardt Gschwandtner, publisher and founder of Selling Power magazine, pointed out in his keynote address at a Sales 2.0 Conference, companies with higher growth rates (i.e., Apple, Google,…) have much higher market values than slower growing companies.

To get beyond this misconception of sales professionals as ruthless money grubbers, as sales leaders we need to think about what it is that really motivates sales people to perform their best. This differs from person to person but generally comes down to one two of the following six motives:

  1. Money (I never said it wasn’t important)
  2. Opportunity
  3. Teamwork
  4. Independence
  5. Visibility
  6. Excellence

Since motivations can vary both in terms of underlying factors and intensity, we need to make sure that we take the time to understand what motivates each sales person. To accomplish this task, we simply need ask (not tell) them why they chose sales as a profession and what they enjoy most about the profession they have chosen. Based on this knowledge, we can motivate each individual towards excellence and build a winning sales team.


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About David Jacoby

As a Managing Director at Sales Readiness Group, David helps large B2B sales organizations improve sales performance. Previously, David was a Principal at Linear Partners, a sales consulting firm providing sales strategy, sales operations, talent management, and interim management services to emerging growth companies. In the past, David has served as Vice President of Business Affairs of Xylo, Inc., where he was responsible for the Company's business development, sales operations, legal affairs, and financing activities.