Sales managers often motivate their reps with SPIFFs and sales contests that award cash prizes. This is a tried and true sales motivation strategy, and monetary rewards generally produce results.

However, they don't really motivate the entire sales force -- only the top performers likely to win. And while it's good to motivate your rock stars, the top line would be better served by getting everyone striving for the prize.

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So if monetary prizes don't do the trick, what does? Here are five creative sales motivation tactics managers can use to fire up their entire team. And the best part? They won't cost a dime.

5 Creative Sales Motivation Tactics

1. Provide coaching.

In my opinion, "coaching" and "feedback" aren't the same thing. While feedback (good or bad) is valuable for the employee, it's rarely motivating. Coaching, on the other hand, can be a motivational force if presented correctly.

I recommend that sales managers treat coaching like a gift. Instead of just serving it up to every employee like it's no big deal, frame it in such a way that the employee understands its value.

For example, instead of simply saying "I'll put some coaching time on your calendar," ask the employee with a bit of fanfare:

"I would love to coach you in X area. You could test some different approaches on me and I can share a few insights I have. Together, we can figure out what works. Would that be beneficial to you?"

Coaching gives reps the opportunity to try out sales tactics in a no-fail zone, and this exercise can be extremely motivating.

2. Use leadership.

I mean this in two ways. First, tap leaders in the company to donate their time and resources that you can then dangle as a prize. Second, extend leadership privileges to high-achieving reps.

Here are three ideas as to how you can use leadership for sales motivation:

  1. Your boss will do your calls. Try a sales contest where the prize or a mid-way bonus is … you! You will work for the leading rep for a few hours doing whatever they direct you to -- calls, demos, presentations, etc. Not only does this motivate your team, but it also shows you aren't afraid to roll up your sleeves and get in the trenches. Plus, it's fun.
  2. CEO takes you out to lunch. Or any C-level executive. Most sales reps crave one-on-one time with a senior leader to share their thoughts and get an inside look into company strategy.
  3. Present at the next sales meeting. Ask a high-performing rep to present an innovative tactic or new approach at the next sales meeting. This kills three birds with one stone -- you're celebrating the rep, their colleagues see that reps who do well earn prestige, and you can delegate some of the responsibility of leading the meeting.

3. Bring in clients.

Your clients possess incredible motivational power. I often bring customers into the office or arrange conference calls so reps can hear how the product they sell is changing someone's life.

Invite customers to team meetings or events to chat with the reps about how they're using your offering, why they chose it over the competition, and what they liked and didn't like about your sales process. Allow for some Q&A where reps can ask questions that will help them optimize their process or messaging.

Not only does this client face time reaffirm to reps why they do what they do, but it also reminds them that it's all about the customer. After spending some time with clients, they'll be excited to get back on the phones and start selling.

4. Invest in education.

Help your reps continue with their personal growth and learning. Check and see if your human resources department has an educational stipend they can use.

If there's a class or course your rep is interested in, you can give them the day off to attend. This will encourage them to keep learning and develop their personal and technical skills.

5. Provide additional opportunities.

If a rep is performing particularly well, provide them with new opportunities. For example, you could give a high performing rep a lead from a different region or territory to test their skills and keep them challenged.

Another opportunity would be to help the rep present a sales pitch at a field marketing event. This will give them exposure to marketing professionals in their region. And the sales rep could also shadow a channel manager -- this allows them to network with more people in their area.

Sales motivation doesn't have to carry a price tag. The most motivating moments are priceless -- literally.

For more sales motivation, check out these motivational sales quotes next.

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Originally published Dec 21, 2018 6:27:00 PM, updated January 02 2019

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Sales Motivation