Supplementary Motivators

Companies use additional motivators to stimulate sales force effort. One motivator is the periodic sales meeting, a social occasion that also serves as an important tool for education, communication, and motivation. Many companies sponsor sales contests to spur the sales force to a special selling effort above what is normally expected. The contest should present a reasonable opportunity for enough salespeople to win. At IBM, about 70 percent of the sales force qualifies for the 100 percent Club; the reward is a 3-day trip capped off by a recognition dinner and a special pin.

Whether a sales contest is focused on selling a specific product or products during a limited time period or is a more general recognition of top revenue earners for the period, the reward should be commensurate with the achievement. Reps who are well paid and whose earnings are based in large part on commissions are more likely to be motivated by a trip, a trophy, or merchandise than by a check of equal value. At the same time, some firms are successfully using less conventional rewards to motivate sales personnel. Ann Machado, founder and owner of Creative Staffing (an employment services firm), rewards both sales and nonsales employees with expensive dinners, parties, flowers, spa sessions, cooking lessons, and extra vacation time. Her secret is letting people pick the reward they want and outline what they will do to earn it. Then all she has to do is approve it. "Letting people choose their own rewards and goals empowers them," says Machado.24

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