Today’s post is by Jane Sarles Larson, who has more than 25 years of managerial experience in incentives, recognition, and consumer marketing. As the market resource manager at ITA Group (www.itagroup.com), she understands what the employee and channel partner market values through industry research and development.
While money and non-monetary incentives are undoubtedly important to sales professionals, there is another layer of motivation. Offering your salespeople intrinsic motivators alongside extrinsic ones will spur your team on to greater sales and satisfaction.
Intrinsic motivation is behavior driven by positive internal feelings. And it can be just as powerful as external motivation. We’re all unique, with different things that motivate and excite us. The key is to identify the internal and external motivators that align and motivate your people.
Take a closer look at these eight intrinsic motivators to determine which ones resonate with your team – and consider how you can deploy them to maximize your sales results.
No one likes to have a boss breathing down their neck or micromanaging. Professionals value a sense of autonomy. Try letting one of your salespeople manage the monthly team meeting as a reward for hard work. Or, give your people an opportunity to focus on the lead or target they feel is most beneficial. When you take a disciplined autonomy approach, you offer your team a valuable chance to flourish on its own.
Everyone has an inherent urge for mastery, and wants to get better at what they do. Olympic swimmers don’t always want to get up at 4 a.m. to practice their strokes, but they do it anyway because they want to excel. Research shows that the best way to achieve mastery is through an incredible amount of consistent, focused practice. Give your salespeople ample time and opportunities to hone their skills and master the art of selling.
Meaningful work can give a person a sense of “purpose, value, and impact – of being involved in something bigger than themselves,” according to motivation expert and New York Times best-selling author Dan Ariely. Look for opportunities for your sales team to work on community service projects to foster a sense of shared purpose. They can also find purpose in helping other team members meet organization-wide goals.
Think about the sales leader coming in on a Saturday to knock out emails and plot out objectives for next week. This is a manifestation of drive – the innate motivation people have to achieve. Ariely shares a similar view when talking about idea attachment. What brings salespeople into the office early in the morning or makes them stay long after co-workers have left is the drive to see their ideas come to fruition and excel.
Belonging – feeling like part of a team – is a powerful intrinsic motivator. We want to feel like we’re pushing together in the same direction. According to Dan Ariely, “The more a company can offer its employees opportunities for meaning and connection, the harder those employees are likely to work and the more enduring their loyalty is likely to be.”
Think of things that are extrinsic status symbols: cars, houses, trophies. We gather and flaunt them as a celebration of our own success. It’s built into our DNA. On your sales team, status is the way team members see each other. This is a powerful motivator that underlies many of the decisions and actions of salespeople.
World-class achievers are committed to continual improvement and self-motivation. They understand that, to succeed in an ever-changing world, they must always be learning and evolving. Many salespeople are also intrinsically motivated by learning – whether by attending seminars and conferences or taking an online course. They will appreciate and benefit from having opportunities to hone their skills.
8. Social Contact
Generally, salespeople love people, and enjoy opportunities to be around others. Social contact is a powerful motivator. When you arrange get-togethers for your salespeople, you give them a chance to connect on a personal level. That creates an environment that motivates and inspires – ultimately leading to greater success for the entire team.