What is motivation in sales and why is it beneficial?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 7 November 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many companies rely on a motivated sales team to effectively generate revenue and sell products or services to a customer base. Without proper motivation, professionals who work in sales struggle to reach set targets and generate sufficient revenue, which can hamper the business. There are lots of different ways to motivate professionals to push for more sales and make more money for the company, but it takes a good understanding of human behaviour to do so. In this article, we're going to find out what motivation in sales is, why it's beneficial and tips for improving motivation in sales.

What is motivation in sales and why is it beneficial?

The answer to 'What is motivation in sales?' is that it is the internal drive and commitment sales professionals have when it comes to reaching sales-based targets and goals. Sales often translate to success for individuals who work in this area of business, so if motivation levels drop, then there's a real risk of failure on the individual level. If this expands towards a majority of salespeople, then revenue falls drastically, which puts the profits of the company in jeopardy.

Motivation in sales can help professionals overcome the disappointment that comes from failure or difficulty in converting sales. It allows a professional salesperson to keep pushing for more sales, even if they aren't having a particularly good day. The world of sales is a particularly difficult career as it requires a lot of confidence and self-motivation. If a salesperson has a bad day, this has the potential to have knock-on effects that can impact sales later on. Motivation in sales is crucial to ensuring success for the individual and the company.

Related: 7 reasons for losing motivation at work (how to avoid it)

How to improve your motivation in sales

It's helpful to learn how to self-motivate, as it often takes an internal drive to push yourself towards success in sales. Take a look at the steps below to learn how to improve your motivation in sales:

1. Focus on providing a beneficial service

One of the best ways to motivate yourself in sales is to frame the concept of sales as you provide a useful service to customers. This usually starts by understanding the product or service you're selling and trusting that it brings value to the customer. With the right outlook, making a sale feels like you're truly helping someone and bringing additional value into their life. This is an excellent motivator and a good way to positively reinforce your sales approach.

2. Outline an established routine

Create an established routine for how you work. This allows you to focus on the day-to-day tasks while making set targets or goals. It has the added benefit of removing some of the stress and pressure associated with making sales because your focus lies on the routine rather than making a sale. Some good routines to follow in sales include making a set number of outbound calls before lunch or completing a set number of administrative tasks over a certain period. Doing this allows you to remain productive, even if you're having a bad sales day, which helps with motivation.

Related: 11 motivation strategies to stimulate performance at work

3. Understand your own strengths and weaknesses

A large part of the motivation in sales comes from trusting your own abilities, which requires a good understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses. If you can focus on your core strengths and acknowledge them, you're in a much better position to use these strengths to make sales and motivate yourself. Understanding your weaknesses gives you an opportunity to find ways to improve yourself. The very act of working on your weaknesses motivates you to push yourself towards success and push beyond your shortcomings.

4. Don't fear failure, embrace it

When things don't go as planned, such as a missed sales opportunity, we're quick to label it as a failure. This is problematic because it severely impacts motivation levels and reinforces a fear of failure. This fear of failure stops you from taking chances that could lead to sales. It encourages you to play things more safely, which removes a great deal of opportunity when it comes to making sales.

Focus on embracing failures as a learning process. Think about what went wrong that caused you to miss the sale and think of ways you would handle the situation differently. Look for similar opportunities and adjust your behaviour and approach to see what works. It's beneficial to embrace failure as a learning opportunity, rather than something to avoid.

5. Be kind to yourself

It's always beneficial to be kind to yourself, even when things don't go to plan. Focusing on the negative aspects of losing a sale leads to a spiral of negativity, self-doubt and pressure to succeed, which puts you in a stressful situation. Although this might act as a form of short-term motivation, in the long term it's a good way to burn yourself out.

Try to be kind to yourself and set realistic expectations of what you can achieve. Understand that not every potential sale may turn into a converted sale and that even if you make a mistake it isn't the end of the world. This removes the pressure and lets you focus on the positives, giving you a healthier mindset and more motivation to succeed.

Related: How to be self-motivated (with steps, tips and an example)

Tips for improving motivation in sales for other people

There are lots of ways you can improve motivation in sales for other people. Take a look at the tips below to help you improve motivation in sales for others:

Show you care for sales staff

Staff that work in sales are typically judged based on their sales records and conversions, which is a big problem. Looking at staff in this way only serves to dehumanise them, which seriously impacts motivation levels and productivity. Focus on showing that you appreciate their efforts by offering them time away from sales calls or setting up fun activities to re-motivate them. This not only boosts motivation and morale, but it strengthens the relationship you have with sales teams.

Related: Positive feedback examples for boosting staff morale

Offer regular feedback

Providing feedback is a useful way to boost motivation in sales, particularly when the feedback is beneficial and positively framed. Feedback sessions are a perfect platform to help reinforce targets and show sales staff where they might improve their performance. You have the chance to highlight their strengths and weaknesses while setting up the next steps to help them succeed. Regular feedback is also useful because it establishes a clear line of progress and creates opportunities for things like coaching, one-to-one training and other development routes.

Offer resources to help with sales

A great way to encourage motivation in sales is to provide adequate resources to help with making sales. There are lots of resources available for this, such as structured training or improved sales software and customer relationship management systems. Providing the right tools for development creates a dynamic platform to grow skills and boost motivation levels.

Related: Using motivation in management to help your team succeed

Factor in personal fulfilment

Every member of staff has their own personal goals, aspirations and things that fulfil them. You can focus on these to help motivate staff and improve sales. It takes honest communication to do this because you first identify what staff are looking for in terms of fulfilment. For some, it might be more money to fund travel or home improvements. So frame sales as an opportunity to help staff reach their aspirations. This reinforces the importance of success and drives motivation in teams.

Incentivise sales

Many sales professionals receive some form of compensation for making targets and achieving sales. Whether it's commission-based or a monthly bonus, incentives are a great way to motivate sales teams and push them towards success. It's useful to establish a clear link between more sales and more incentives, so sales teams understand that if they do well in terms of sales they receive greater incentives.

Although financial incentives are probably the most common form of incentive for sales, there are other approaches to consider. Time off for making targets is a great alternative as it gives sales teams the opportunity to enjoy their own free time and come back to work with more motivation than before.

Related: Creative sales incentive ideas to motivate your team

Promote professional development

A useful way to motivate others is to give them the opportunity to develop their skills further. Offering professional development opportunities gives staff the chance to improve various skills and aptitudes that can help them achieve more sales. There are lots of different forms of professional development that range from sales techniques to tools that help with stress management. Providing these development opportunities is a great motivator because it shows you and the company are directly investing in staff growth and development.

Related: What is continuing professional development? (Plus benefits)

Be realistic when setting goals

Setting clear goals is a great way to improve motivation in sales, as long as the goals are realistic and don't ask too much of the sales team. Setting unrealistic goals can actually demotivate staff rather than motivate them. It sets people up for failure if the goals aren't obtainable, so always try to make targets manageable. A good goal is one that encourages a little extra effort while still being achievable. So take the time to set clear, realistic goals to motivate those in sales.

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