What Is Motivation In Sales

June 20


What Is Motivation In Sales?

By Hanson Cheng

June 20, 2023

  • minute read
  • Last Updated on June 20, 2023 by Hanson Cheng

    Motivation is the driving force behind many of the things we do in life, including sales. It can be defined as the reasons and incentives that prompt individuals to take a particular action or pursue a specific goal. The importance of motivation in sales cannot be overstated, as it is critical to the success of any sales team or individual. In this article, we will explore what motivation in sales is, why it is so important, and how it can be effectively used to enhance sales performance.



    When it comes to sales, motivation is undoubtedly a key factor in driving success. Motivation refers to the internal or external factors that energize and direct individuals towards a particular goal. In the context of sales, motivation is the driving force that propels sales reps to go the extra mile, make that extra call, and close more deals.

    There are several types of motivation, including intrinsic motivation, which comes from within oneself, and extrinsic motivation, which arises from external rewards or recognition. Intrinsic motivation can be fueled by factors such as personal satisfaction, achievement, and fulfillment, while extrinsic motivation can be driven by factors such as bonuses, promotions, or recognition.

    Ultimately, a successful sales team should strive to find a balance between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations to achieve optimal performance. It is also important to note that motivation is not a constant state, but rather one that fluctuates based on a variety of factors such as the sales cycle, market conditions, and individual factors.

    Therefore, it is essential for sales managers to continuously monitor and adjust motivational strategies to ensure that their sales teams remain energized, focused, and driven towards success.


    Understanding the factors that motivate salespeople is becoming increasingly important for organizations as they strive to maximize their sales. Motivation in sales is vital because it drives a salesperson’s behavior, attitude, and performance, which ultimately determines the level of success they achieve. Studies have shown that motivated salespeople are more productive, focused, and innovative.

    They are also more likely to exceed their sales targets and drive customer satisfaction. Additionally, motivated salespeople are more likely to stay with their organization for a longer period, reducing employee turnover.

    Companies that recognize the importance of motivation invest in initiatives that boost their salespeople’s motivation, such as creating a positive working environment, providing training, and setting achievable targets. By encouraging and nurturing their salespeople’s motivation, companies create a culture of success, resulting in better sales results, improved customer satisfaction, and increased revenue.


    Understanding the different types of motivation in sales is crucial for success in the business world. The two most prominent types are intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation comes from within an individual and is driven by personal factors such as satisfaction from a job well done, personal growth, and a sense of purpose.

    This type of motivation is particularly important in sales because it can lead to long-term success and job satisfaction. Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, comes from external factors such as rewards, recognition, and praise. While extrinsic motivation can be effective in the short term, it is not sustainable over time and can lead to burnout.

    Sales professionals must strike a balance between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to achieve both short-term and long-term success. Another type of motivation that is important in sales is social motivation, which is driven by the desire to be part of a group and to feel socially connected to others. Sales teams that have a strong sense of social motivation tend to be more successful because they work together effectively and support each other’s goals.

    Finally, achievement motivation is driven by the desire to achieve specific goals and objectives. Sales employees with strong achievement motivation tend to be more focused and driven to succeed because they have clear goals to work towards. In conclusion, understanding the different types of motivation in sales is vital to achieving success in this competitive industry. Sales professionals must balance intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and foster social motivation and achievement motivation in their teams to be effective.

    Factors Affecting Motivation

    Internal Factors

    Internal factors are intrinsic to an individual’s personality and mindset. They include personal values, beliefs, goal orientation, self-efficacy, and self-esteem. Personal values, such as the importance of prioritizing family, may influence what motivates an individual to succeed in sales. Similarly, beliefs about the importance of hard work and dedication may also contribute to an individual’s motivation in sales.

    Goal orientation refers to an individual’s focus on achieving specific objectives. A salesperson who is driven by meeting targets and exceeding expectations is likely to be highly motivated. Self-efficacy, or an individual’s belief in their ability to succeed, is a critical internal factor that can significantly influence motivation.

    Individuals with high self-efficacy are more likely to set ambitious sales targets and strive to achieve them. Low self-esteem, on the other hand, can diminish motivation and self-confidence in sales. Understanding these internal factors is imperative in developing strategies and techniques aimed at increasing motivation in sales.

    External Factors

    External factors can significantly affect the motivation of salespeople. One of the most important of these factors is the competitive environment in which the salesperson operates. If the competition is fierce, a salesperson’s motivation could suffer, as they may feel that they cannot achieve their targets. Another external factor that can affect motivation is the stability of the economy.

    If the economy is unstable, salespeople may feel that their job is less secure, leading to a decrease in motivation. Additionally, the structure of the sales compensation plan can play a significant role in motivation levels. If the compensation plan is too complex or unclear, it can cause confusion for salespeople, leading to a decrease in motivation.

    Finally, the level of support provided by management can also impact the motivation of salespeople. If management is supportive and encourages sales staff, it can lead to increased motivation. On the other hand, if management is unsupportive or overly critical, it can lead to demotivation.

    Techniques for Motivating Salespeople

    Intrinsic Motivation Techniques

    One critical component of motivating salespeople is intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation arises from within an individual and is driven by personal goals and a sense of accomplishment. Intrinsic motivation techniques are often customized to the individual sales representative and cater to their specific skill set and goals. One useful technique is creating a positive work environment that fosters creativity, problem-solving, and autonomy.

    By doing so, sales representatives feel more equipped to approach problems on their own, leading to a sense of ownership over their work. Another effective method is assigning challenging, but attainable, goals for the salesperson to strive toward. These goals should be specific, measurable, and relevant to their personal and professional growth.

    By providing achievable targets, the sales representative can feel a sense of accomplishment and be motivated to continue working toward further success. Additionally, offering regular feedback and recognition can help to enhance intrinsic motivation. Sales representatives often seek validation for their hard work, and by providing positive feedback and recognition, they feel valued and supported, leading to increased motivation and job satisfaction.

    Extrinsic Motivation Techniques

    For salespeople, extrinsic motivation comes from external factors like competitions, bonuses, and recognition. These techniques can be effective in driving performance by appealing to a salesperson’s desire for rewards and acknowledgment. Allowing salespeople to participate in competitive games or contests is a powerful extrinsic motivator.

    Structuring bonuses and commissions to align with performance goals can give salespeople the added push they need to close more deals. Recognition and praise for achievements can also be a potent motivator, as salespeople often crave validation and appreciation from their managers and colleagues.

    Providing opportunities for salespeople to attend conferences, workshops, and other professional development events can also keep them motivated by helping them expand their knowledge and skillset. Overall, extrinsic motivation techniques can be essential tools for managers looking to motivate and inspire their sales teams.

    Individualized Motivation Techniques

    One way to motivate salespeople is by using individualized motivation techniques. These techniques are designed to appeal to the unique needs, preferences, and personalities of each salesperson. By doing so, sales managers can create a more personalized approach to motivation, which can improve overall job satisfaction, performance, and retention. One technique for individualized motivation is goal setting.

    This involves setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals for each salesperson based on their previous performance, strengths, and areas for improvement. By setting challenging but realistic goals, salespeople can have a clearer idea of what they need to achieve and feel more motivated to reach those goals. Another technique is recognition and rewards.

    This involves acknowledging and rewarding salespeople for their achievements and successes. The rewards can range from financial incentives, such as bonuses and commissions, to non-financial incentives, such as public recognition, flexible work arrangements, and opportunities for career advancement. By tailoring the rewards to each salesperson’s preferences and interests, sales managers can create a more meaningful and engaging incentive program. Another technique is coaching and feedback.

    This involves providing regular and constructive feedback and coaching to salespeople based on their performance, skills, and goals. By doing so, sales managers can identify areas for improvement and provide guidance and support to help salespeople develop their skills and abilities. This can also help to build a stronger relationship between the sales manager and the salesperson, which can improve overall job satisfaction and performance.

    In conclusion, individualized motivation techniques are an effective way to motivate salespeople by appealing to their unique needs, preferences, and personalities. By using techniques such as goal setting, recognition and rewards, coaching and feedback, sales managers can create a more personalized approach to motivation, which can improve job satisfaction, performance, and retention.

    Measuring Motivation

    Quantitative Measures

    Quantitative measures are essential in evaluating an employee’s motivation level. One of the most common indicators is sales performance. It is an objective way to identify the most successful employees and the ones that need improvement. Measuring the number of sales within a specific period, calculating the conversion rate, and assessing the value sold per customer are some of the methods of evaluating a sales team’s performance.

    Other quantitative measures include customer satisfaction, returning customers, and referrals. The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a metric used to assess customer satisfaction and loyalty. Analyzing the NPS of individual employees can provide insights into their behavioral traits, performance, and motivation level. Another metric is the employee’s activity level.

    It is measured by tracking the number of follow-ups, emails sent, calls made, and client visits. Furthermore, tracking the response rate to marketing campaigns can indicate an employee’s motivation level and their effectiveness in converting prospects into customers. Lastly, the time spent on sales activities can be measured and evaluated. This metric can provide insights into the employees’ attitude, dedication, and commitment levels.

    Qualitative Measures

    One effective way to measure motivation in sales is to use qualitative measures. Qualitative measures involve observing and analyzing the behavior and attitudes of salespeople in different situations. These measures may include supervisor ratings, peer evaluations, and self-reports. Supervisor ratings involve observing employees’ behavior over time and assessing their motivation levels based on their performance, such as the number of sales made and customer feedback.

    Peer evaluations are also useful in assessing motivation, as they involve feedback from colleagues who work closely with the sales representatives. Self-reports provide insight into the salesperson’s perception of their motivation levels and help identify areas where they need improvement.

    Qualitative measures can provide a more comprehensive view of sales motivation, as they take into account the personal experiences and perceptions of sales representatives, which may not be captured in traditional quantitative measures.

    Moreover, qualitative measures can help identify factors that motivate salespeople and those that demotivate them, such as work culture or job design. Overall, qualitative measures can provide valuable insights into the complex nature of sales motivation and help organizations understand how to best support their sales teams.



    In conclusion, the importance of motivation in sales cannot be overstated. A motivated sales team is the backbone of any successful business. Motivation is the driving force that propels a salesperson to achieve higher levels of success by surpassing their goals and aspirations and going above and beyond what is expected of them. Motivation is critical in boosting sales, building long-term customer relationships, and ensuring customer satisfaction.

    Employers that recognize and reward exceptional sales performance have experienced increased sales revenue, employee engagement, and overall business growth. Salespeople must be self-driven and motivated to succeed, regardless of external factors that may affect their motivation.

    This requires strong leadership, effective communication, and continuous skills development to keep a sales team focused, confident, and motivated. By providing a supportive work environment, setting clear expectations, providing ongoing feedback and coaching, and rewarding exceptional sales performance, businesses can create a culture of motivation that promotes growth and success for both the employer and the employee.

    Future Directions

    In conclusion, understanding motivation in sales is crucial to ensure the success of a business. Through the review of literature and analysis of different factors that influence motivation, it is clear that a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic factors is necessary to create a highly motivated sales team. In the future, research can focus on exploring the impact of technology in sales motivation since technology has rapidly changed sales environments.

    Additionally, understanding the impact of cultural differences on motivation can also be an area of future research. It is crucial to note that sales motivation is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and each sales team requires a personalized approach tailored to their specific needs to increase motivation effectively.

    Overall, recommended future directions include researching the integration of technology in sales motivation and exploring the impact of cultural differences on motivation. With these future directions, sales teams can make better decisions to optimize motivation and ultimately achieve maximum sales success.

    Motivation in Sales: FAQs

    Q. 1. What Is Motivation In Sales?

    A. Motivation in sales refers to the driving force that influences a sales representative to achieve their goals and objectives. It involves a person’s inner drive to take action, persist in the face of obstacles, and ultimately achieve success.

    Q. 2. What Are The Benefits Of Motivation In Sales?

    A. Motivated sales representatives are more likely to reach or exceed their sales targets, maintain a positive attitude, and stay engaged in their work. Studies have shown that motivated salespeople can generate higher revenues, increase customer satisfaction, and promote company growth.

    Q. 3. How Can Management Motivate Their Sales Team?

    A. Management can motivate their sales team in several ways, including setting clear goals and expectations, providing training and development opportunities, offering incentives and rewards for achieving targets, recognizing and celebrating successes, and creating a positive and supportive work environment.

    Q. 4. Can Salesperson Motivation Impact A Company’s Overall Success?

    A. Yes, salesperson motivation can have a significant impact on a company’s overall success. If salespeople are motivated and driven to succeed, their performance can have a positive impact on revenue, customer satisfaction, and long-term growth.

    Q. 5. How Can Sales Representatives Motivate Themselves?

    A. Sales representatives can motivate themselves by setting specific and achievable goals, breaking down their tasks into smaller steps, staying organized, seeking feedback and support from colleagues or mentors, and staying positive even in the face of rejection or setbacks.

    Q. 6. How Does Motivation Differ From Other Factors That Drive Sales Performance?

    A. Motivation is just one of several factors that contribute to sales performance, along with skills, knowledge, experience, and external factors such as market conditions. However, motivation can be a crucial factor in driving sales success, as it helps salespeople overcome challenges and persist in their efforts to achieve their goals.

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    Hanson Cheng

    About the author

    Living in Portugal with my wife and puppies.
    Scaling online businesses and sharing lessons learned on this website and in our email newsletter.

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