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The Ultimate Guide to Motivating Your Sales Team [Updated for 2023]

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2022 Guide to Motivating Your Sales Team

No two salespeople are alike. Some, with their outstanding Drive and bountiful charisma, shine bright and consistently exceed management’s expectations. They seem to have a natural talent that helps them land big accounts and bring in revenue. 

Others may have great potential, but they need that extra guiding push to meet their sales goals due to personality or skill level. 

Regardless of the makeup of a sales team, everyone can benefit from motivation and proper incentives. 

The problem with choosing when and how to motivate sales teams occurs when sales managers approach individual salespeople and their needs as if they are all the same. It stands to reason that what motivates one person may not motivate another. 

Not to mention that in the midst of a pandemic, the role and needs of the average salesperson look incredibly different than they did pre-2020. 

That being said, there are plenty of ways to motivate a sales team while making sure each salesperson finds something that speaks to them. Below are seven sales team motivation ideas that can help with motivating and managing your sales team

7 Sales Team Motivation Ideas

1. Set Concrete, Attainable Goals

It is easy to assume that all salespeople are motivated by money. On the surface, compensation in the form of commissions may sound like the best way to incentivize people. The more or bigger the sales, the more money the salesperson earns. 

However, not everyone responds to monetary incentives. And without any specific goals to reach, you may find your salespeople and their efforts reach a state of complacency. 

Setting concrete and attainable goals is an excellent method for motivating salespeople. Throwing out a vague idea or rough guidelines for sales targets won’t encourage the team’s stars to perform their best, and it may hinder core or lower-performing salespeople from knowing what to work toward. 

Implementing attainable goals with a specific time frame can also prove to be motivational. For example, setting a daily, weekly, and monthly sales target. Achieving short-term goals will not only help your sales team feel motivated and accomplished, but it will naturally contribute to the bigger, annual goals. 

Overall, creating specific and attainable goals for a sales team can keep everyone on task, focused, and motivated to succeed.  

2. Offer Extra Vacation Time 

You would be hard-pressed to find a salesperson who wouldn’t take advantage of a couple of extra vacation days. Especially considering chronic stress, anxiety, and employee burnout run rampant in the sales world.

Offering additional vacation days as an incentive for staff that meets specific sales goals will help sales reps stay motivated throughout the year by giving them something tangible to work toward.

Vacations are proven to boost productivity by allowing employees to rest and recharge. Taking a break will enable people to spend time with loved ones, foster their relationships, increase their creativity, and make them happier individuals. 

They also contribute to physical health benefits, including better sleep and a lower risk of experiencing a heart attack by lowering stress levels. 

Additionally, the positive energy accumulated during an intentional break from the daily grind ultimately leads to a contented, more satisfying workplace. 

Sales managers who prioritize mental health and time away from the office typically see their well-rested employees become more engaged and on top of their workload. They work better with their coworkers and produce higher quality work than those who don’t take regular time off. 

If you’re unsure of how to motivate your sales team in a meaningful way, try offering a few extra vacation days as a reward. 

3. Celebrate Autonomy

Good sales managers understand that their salespeople desire to be more than just a body at a desk, slogging through the workweek until payday, vacation, or retirement. They want to contribute and use their brains to feel that their ideas and methods make a difference.

A more intangible way to create sales team motivation is by allowing them to have ownership over their jobs. This ownership leads to employees feeling a greater control and responsibility for their work and increases overall job satisfaction.

Celebrating the autonomy of your sales team members also proves you trust them to get the job done in the way that works best for them. It helps them craft their own strategies and flex their creative muscles while ultimately helping them to build upon their identity as an employee and salesperson. 

4. Run a Competition 

Sometimes all that is needed to stoke the motivation fire is a little friendly competition. 

Competitions amongst your sales team can be fun to introduce levity and play into everyday tasks while simultaneously providing a productive way to boost sales. 

Like the goals mentioned above, in-house competitions should have attainable rewards that can be received in real-time. They should be quick and also have simple, transparent rules and defined parameters that keep everything fair. It should be easy for participants to keep track of their standings as well. 

There are dozens of competitions with proven results to choose from and a variety of sales contest software to help managers organize everything. We recommend trying the following competitions with your sales team: 

Team vs. Team

Organize your staff into two teams and have them compete to achieve a specific sales goal. This is great for making sure salespeople of varying skills and experience have the same chance to receive a reward for their efforts.

Fantasy Football-Style 

As a nod to the fantasy football league set-up, salespeople and their managers are organized into competing teams that earn points when specific sales metrics are completed. 

Teams go head to head each week, with the highest performing teams competing in a championship round. This method of competition has a positive effect on individual performance, overall productivity and increases collaboration between coworkers. 

Beat Your Personal Best 

With this competition style, reps can compete against their own performance and improve upon their personal work bests. 

Sales reps can set goals they want to beat with their manager before the start of the competition, such as increasing their daily contacted leads by 10 percent or closing a specific number of sales in a week. Managers can utilize an accessible whiteboard or spreadsheet to keep track of each person’s accomplishments. At the end of the set time, all reps who obtained their goals receive a prize. 

Regardless of which style of competition you choose to implement, the result should motivate people and boost morale with the bonus of increased sales.

5. Share Customer Reviews and Feedback

Salespeople are responsible for bringing in new clients and getting them to buy. Once they buy, the customer and the salesperson might never speak again. 

Providing customer success stories, reviews, or testimonials is not only a great way to make sure your clients are happy with your services but also gives salespeople an idea of who they are helping. It adds a level of community and self-worth, which can be highly motivational for the right salesperson.

Communicating this information has the added benefit of giving salespeople a clearer picture of what strategies worked best for customers and their personal processes. 

Positive reviews are great fuel for motivating salespeople to continue doing what they’re doing. In contrast, constructive or negative reviews can help them refine how they approach customers and hone in on more productive processes. 

6. Show Appreciation 

A show of support and appreciation can be all that is needed to thank a struggling or high-performing salesperson for their efforts. 

Ultimately, salespeople want to feel valued, and the numbers on this don’t lie. In a study of 2,044 employed adults completed by Glassdoor, 81 percent of employees stated their motivation to work harder directly correlated with their boss or manager showing them an appreciation for their work. 

What’s more, 53%percent of those surveyed indicated they would remain at a job longer if they were shown more appreciation.

For some salespeople, the small wins they experience in a day are just as important as the big, flashy ones that garner a lot of attention. 

Celebrating those small wins with a handwritten thank you note or a simple shout-out during a staff meeting can make a massive difference in a salesperson’s motivation. 

There are other ways to show appreciation, of course. Managers can offer career guidance, telecommuting options, and extra time off around holidays as a thank you for the hard work. 

7. Let Your Salespeople Choose Their Own Reward

If you are still unsure how to motivate a sales team in a way that will satisfy all of the unique personalities and interests on the team, why not try letting them choose their own reward for a job well done? 

Provide a list of gift items for them to choose from. Include items like gift cards to various restaurants or the local coffee shop for the foodies of the team or a coveted gadget like a smartwatch or tablet for the techies. You could also include: 

  • Tickets to a sporting event 
  • Travel vouchers 
  • Membership to a subscription box service 
  • Gift certificates to a spa 
  • A gym membership
  • Exercise classes
  • Company branded apparel 
  • Select Homegoods items (KitchenAid Mixer, NutriBullet, coffee makers, grill accessories, etc.) 

For team members who are more interested in career progression or honing their skills, you could offer several professional development opportunities, including: 

  • Lunch or dinner with the boss for a one-on-one mentor session
  • Access to online courses or software programs
  • Training in new sales skills 
  • Attendance at conferences or seminars
  • Office equipment like a standing desk 
  • Employee recognition and awards 

Offering choices is an excellent way to keep your sales reps motivated while ensuring you are meeting everyone’s unique wants and interests. 


Properly motivating a sales team can help bring out unique talents, close deals, and drive business. The right goals encourage maximum effort without causing undue stress on the individual and appeal to a wide range of industry experiences and skill levels. 

With the right incentives, salespeople can flourish as employees, remain motivated, and provide better sales overall. 

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