While they are definitely the best-dressed department in the company, don’t let their charming smiles fool you—sales is tough.

High quotas, difficult clients and a sales manager that is always pushing for more are all reasons for that tie to start feeling a little tight at the end of the day. So how do you keep your team going?

At Vendasta, our sales managers put a lot of effort into new and creative ways to motivate their teams. Over the years we’ve found that the most effective way to motivate is by getting them engaged. If your reps are engaged in their work, their training and even their team bonding, they are much more likely to push themselves!

I recently got to participate in our sales offsite and got a sneak peak into how our sales managers engage their teams.

You’re probably thinking, “Wait backup, a sales offsite? Say what?”

You heard me right, we took our whole sales department out of the office for the day to focus on training and team bonding. And let me tell you, it was worth it! Presentations from other departments, work groups to identify gaps in the customer journey, team-building exercises and a few beers all worked to engage our reps and get them excited to get back to work the next day.

sales team offsite

This is just one of the ways Vendasta motivates our sales team. I’ve done some investigating and compiled four surefire strategies so you, too, can motivate your sales team, Vendasta style.

1. Invest in them (time not money)

Commission and bonuses are great—I mean, who wouldn’t like a little extra cash? But to promote continuous engagement from your team, it’s important to invest your time in each of your reps. This will make them feel like less of a cog in the wheel and help them grow in their careers. However, you don’t have to do something as big as a department-wide offsite, as there are a lot of small ways you can invest time to help motivate your sales team.

1:1 Coaching

What Vendasta does: It is important to spend time coaching your reps individually. We have weekly scheduled 1:1 time with all of our employees to encourage strong relationships between manager and employee, and to promote continuous improvement.

By using our one-on-one time to dive into the book of business for our Partner Success Managers, we’re able to surface some opportunities that may have gone unchecked. By specifically putting a spotlight on what is happening with our partners, our PSMs can set effective targets and figure out what they need to improve upon by dissecting opportunities, wins, and losses with their team lead or manager..
- Thomas Seto, Manager of Partnerships

What you can do to implement this on your team: Depending on the ratio of managers to reps, a weekly 1:1 might not be feasible. Try finding a timeframe that works well for your team and schedule in some reoccurring meetings. To ensure, success set an agenda to share with your reps before the meeting. Topics can range from goal setting and coaching, to gathering feedback on managerial style and getting to know each other. Participation in agenda setting and action items should be shared between manager and employee.

sample 1:1 agenda to motivate sales

Take time to celebrate

What Vendasta does: We use slack and encourage our sales teams to take the time to celebrate new closes and upsells with the company. You will often find our CRO or CEO hopping into the slack channel to congratulate reps on their wins. Another way we celebrate at Vendasta is with a good ol’ fashioned bell ring. There’s nothing better than seeing the rep who has had a slow streak break it with a stress-relieving bell ring!

celebrate sales closes in slack

What you can do to implement this on your team: Big or small, it doesn’t matter. It means a lot to your team when you take the time to celebrate. Pick a method that works best for your sales floor. Make sure it involves public recognition and allows the rest of the team to join in on the congratulations!

2. Gather (and USE) their feedback

Nothing motivates your employees more than having their feedback heard, appreciated and implemented. The follow through on this is even more important than the act. If you gather feedback without ever implementing any of it, you’ll probably stop receiving feedback. Our offsite was a great opportunity to get the whole team in a room to bounce ideas off of each other, but there are many ways you can incorporate this into your daily routine.

Lunch & Learns

What Vendasta does: It’s hard to say no to food, so we’ve recently implemented weekly lunch and learns that not only feed and provide product training to our teams, but also get them engaged with other departments. Every week they have a hand in writing new scripts, asking questions to our fulfillment teams or even testing out new features.

What you can do to implement this on your team: Find a little extra budget and try this out. You should be able to feed a sales team of 10 for under $50 with an ever-popular menu of pizza. Book a lunch hour in the middle of the week when the majority of your team will be around, and decide on a topic that will spark conversation. Food without conversation will always result in a sleepy sales floor, so make sure they are engaged.

💡 Pro-tip: Looking to try this out but aren’t sure what to do for your presentation? Ask your marketing department to lead it! I’m certain they have a million things they’d like to collaborate with your sales team on 😉

Inter-departmental feedback loops

What Vendasta does: Every Friday our whole company gathers for our weekly “all-hands” meeting. Each department takes a turn at leading the meeting by presenting what they are currently working on. This is then followed by “sprint bazaar,” which is like a bazaar of presentations by our product and development teams showing the new features/products they created that sprint. After each, presentation employees are encouraged to ask questions and give their feedback, both in front of the group as well as in our feedback slack channel. For our sales teams, this means they always know what new features are coming and are given the opportunity to give feedback on what’s needed. If your teams don’t believe in what they are selling, they won’t be as motivated to sell it.

What you can do to implement this on your team: A weekly company-wide meeting is a big venture, we get it! However, you could start small by sending a weekly or monthly update to your sales teams from management. Include what new initiatives will be affecting them and even a survey to gather their feedback. Make sure to address feedback either individually, or include it in the next update so sales reps know their voices are being heard!

3. Set high goals and reiterate

If you went up to a randomly selected sales rep and asked them what the company goal was for 2017, would they all give you the same answer? Likewise, if you asked them what their individual goals were for the month, would they have to think about it? Goals are important, especially in a sales role, but it’s even more important to reiterate. Don’t set them and forget them.

I start all of my presentations by reiterating that the SDR team is the tip of the spear and the level of calls we have with a prospect are always aimed at being World Class as we set the example for the rest of the Distribution Group.

—Rich Seaward, SDR Manager

Company-wide revenue goals

What Vendasta does: At the end of 2016, our leadership team unveiled the revenue and KPI goals for 2017 to the whole company. We have a stylized presentation slide with the goals front and center that is a staple for any internal presentation. Strategy meetings, sales training and one-on-one conversations reference these goals all the time. Our leadership team effectively got us all excited about where we are going and doesn’t let us forget it. Most importantly, they are very transparent on how we are meeting (or not meeting) our goals throughout the year with continual updates.

What you can do to implement this on your team: Whether it’s in your weekly team meetings, end of day progress reports or even a monthly newsletter, make sure you let your teams know what the company’s goals are and whether or not you’re on track to hit them. It could be as simple as a burndown chart showing on a monthly basis whether you’re on track to hit your revenue target. Whatever method you decide, try to illustrate how each team is contributing to these goals—it will get them involved and excited to help reach them!

motivate sales with revenue goals

4. Emphasize teamwork—in a fun way!

Get creative with your teams

What Vendasta does: To spur some healthy competition and increase team camaraderie, our sales teams have created personas. Our SDR team is split into two: the “Sales Sharks” and the “Savages”. They can often be found pushing themselves to beat the other team. This has definitely helped increase engagement within our teams, and who doesn’t love getting a custom made logo from your kickass graphic designer?

 

sales savages team logosales sharks team logo

 

What you can do to implement this on your team: This one is easy! If you haven’t got your teams segmented yet, maybe give it a try. Let the teams come up with a name, logo and team motto. Get their logos printed on a poster for their office and implement their first contest.

Here’s an idea: “The team with the most closes this month gets to go for an after-work beer with the Sales Director”.

Contests are a great way to motivate your sales team, so check out these great contest ideas to start implementing.

Participation in sales training

What Vendasta does: Our sales managers ensure all training sessions include a mix of presenting and interactive coaching. Rich, our SDR manager, likes to keep his sessions at a ratio of 1/4 presenting to 3/4 interactive coaching. He often incorporates group role playing and dissecting calls as a group. The feedback and learnings reps get from each other often has a greater impact than from a manager. Our sales managers often get reps involved in presenting at training as well. From sales tips to script readings, reps are often a large part of the training sessions at Vendasta.

Everyone has their own levels of self-awareness and sometimes we are limited to the feedback we give ourselves, which is usually biased and formulated by ego. Outside feedback is 100% necessary for growth.

—Jason Chabot, SDR

What you can do to implement this on your team: A really simple way to start integrating reps into your training is by asking them more questions. Call on them to get them involved, “Ryan, what would you do in this situation.” And encourage their responses. Soon it will be organic and you won’t have to work so hard to engage them. Another great idea is to have reps on a rotating schedule present their own sales tips, either at daily updates or your planned sales training events.

Recommended Reading: How to Add Digital to Your Traditional Media Sales


No matter how you choose to implement strategies to motivate your sales team, the most important thing is to show your team they are valued. Investing time in their growth, asking for their feedback, sharing company goals and progress and making work fun are just some ways that you can show you value your team.

If your reps are excited to come to work, their motivation will only go up—it’s as simple as that.

What does your company do to motivate your sales team? Do you have similar Vendasta-like tactics? Something completely different? We’d love to hear about it! We are always looking for new ideas to keep our team engaged!

P.S If you’re looking for a good way to start incorporating these motivation strategies, download and print the template for the customer journey exercise we did at our offsite. Split your team into 2, get them thinking about your customer’s journeys, and get them to present to the whole team (best presentation gets a prize, and bragging rights!).