When we work with sales leaders, we have noticed a common challenge they set for themselves is to double their sales in the next three to five years. 

This challenge may be similar to one of your own. If it is, you are probably also aware that there is an underlying challenge connected to that: how do I keep my tenured sales team consistently motivated and excited about the idea of creating sales growth? 

It used to be the norm that incentivizing your sales team with the promise of a standard commission and bonus package was enough to keep a salesperson motivated. 

We have noticed over the past five years that this is no longer the case.   

Just as a salesperson’s idea of what success means to them differs from one to the next, so, too does their motivation for reaching their sales goals.  

What motivates an individual member of your sales team is very personal to them. 

Take my husband, Tom, for example. For many years, Tom wanted to attend the Barrett Jackson Car Auction. It even made its way to his bucket list. So, in order to justify going on a guys’ weekend to the Auction every year, Tom ensures he earns his yearly bonus.

That motivates him. Call it an incentive trip, of sorts. 

Is a yearly trip to the Barrett Jackson Auction an incentive you could implement in your organization to sufficiently motivate your team members to double their sales? 

Would your sales team be willing to go the extra mile with their sales performance if the reward was one of these cars? 



While this might be great motivation for some, the reality is you cannot take a universal approach when implementing incentive programs. 

People are driven for different reasons. The key to inspiring your sales team to perform is to find out what motivates each team member individually and you might just be surprised to discover what spurs each of your team members to action! 

Through our work, we have discovered motivators can be broken down into two categories: extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic Motivation

This type of motivation provides you with a sense of pride or accomplishment in the work you do that is generated from within. It inspires you to perform because the result is naturally satisfying for you. Practically speaking, here is how that might look: 

•You enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when reaching a long-held sales goal. 

•You take pride in seeing how you contribute to the overall success of your sales team. 

•You get great satisfaction from setting consistently higher sales goals and beating your own record. 

Extrinsic Motivation 

This type of motivation comes from receiving a tangible reward or prize external to yourself. Because what constitutes extrinsic motivation is virtually limited only by your imagination, we have further broken this down into four categories: 

•No dollar amount attached (e.g. positive feedback, unsolicited emails)

•Up to $25.00 (e.g. movie gift cards)

•Up to $250.00 (e.g. gift cards for restaurants or spa treatments, sporting event tickets) 

•Up to $1000.00 (e.g. weekend getaway, new wardrobe)

•Unlimited dollar amount (1-month travel overseas, new Mercedes)

In our Sales Coaching for Success program and with our tenured sales teams, we delve into motivation. By asking salespeople to consider and list their intrinsic and extrinsic motivators, it helps to better understand their individual motivation. 

In leading your sales team, it is necessary to take the time to find out what motivates each team member and cultivate that. 

We have created a fun downloadable worksheet that you can have your sales team complete to determine what motivates them. 

Once you know the individual motivators of your sales team, you can tailor incentive programs to the individual rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach. 

This is the key to making incentive programs work for your organization and getting the most from your salespeople. 

Once you are armed with this information, you can coach them to go the distance with their sales performance. 

What types of incentive programs does your company offer? Share your answer in the comments below.