The motivation of salespeople has long been seen as a black/white or pass/fail proposition. Meet or exceed sales quotas – earn commissions. Don’t sell enough – face termination. This research brief published by the Aberdeen Group makes a strong case for considering methods beyond take-home pay alone to motivate professional sellers.
The Aberdeen study entitled Sales Performance Management 2012: Rewards and Recognition as a Vital Compensation Component is based on a survey of 291 companies. Accordingly, professional sellers are indeed principally motivated by their take-home pay, as 91% of survey respondents indicated. However, over 60% cited internal recognition for positive performance as a strong second place motivator.
Team-based financial compensation and external recognition were both cited by 17% of respondents – far below the top two responses. So, while sales professionals are often seen as a unique species in the organizational barnyard – they share in their need for holistic support just like any other employee. Aberdeen’s study shows that companies which adopt this strategy achieve the best results.
From the study:
“… professional sellers need holistic support just like any other employee, with benefits and a support system providing measurable rewards and recognition …. Using rewards recognition to guide sellers’ behavior, provide them with job satisfaction, and promote better corporate sales results, remains a wise choice for practitioners looking to succeed as sales leaders.”
Best-in-Class companies are also more than twice as likely as other firms (Average and Laggard) to specifically provide non-cash offerings – in this case offerings managed by an external provider. Some takeaways from the Aberdeen study-
- Rewards and recognition programs have published plans that pre-define the specific selling opportunity
- These systems range from points programs based on a range of behaviors – from selling accomplishments to training or wellness program participation and more
- Merchandise or travel options are included in the rewards selection
- Many are inclined to apply “found money” in the form of cash incentives to daily living expenses, whereas tangible rewards may better serve employees by providing recreational or leisure items or activities
- Rewards and recognition programs provide these opportunities in a way that payroll-based incentives cannot
Your sales team will flourish under a truly effective, holistic motivation strategy – taking into account monetary compensation as well as a structured reward and recognition program. To find out more about structuring a comprehensive reward and recognition or incentive program for your professional salespersons, contact us here or call us at 800.621.9745.