7 Unexpected Fun Ways to Motivate a Sales Team
Jun 1, 2021
Sales can be a pressure-filled job, even in non-commission retail environments. Morale and engagement can ebb and flow—and if you’re not careful, they might seem like they’re always ebbing.
Injecting fun and some occasional friendly competition reminds salespeople to find the joy in their jobs, appreciate their coworkers, strive to improve, and, ultimately, reach their goals. Motivation doesn’t just help them become better at sales, but also the processes that drive overall productivity.
However, after a while, the same old sales competitions aren’t as inspiring. Here are seven surprising and fun ways to motivate your sales team:
1. Unique goals
Many salespeople are competitive by nature and become laser-focused when their jobs are gamified. Contests tied directly to sales are a natural strategy to take advantage of the drive your salespeople may have, but there are many other goals and competitions that can inspire your team. These non-sales goals can be practical, fun, or both—anything from cold calls and email follow-ups to who is the most productive on rainy days or in the last hour of a shift.
You know the sales culture of your team and your organization and can best determine how competitive contests should be—but always stay positive. Team goals help salespeople work together, and even friendly competitions should remain friendly. Tie equally fun rewards and micro-incentives to contests and goals that give everyone a chance to win something, even if they don’t necessarily take first place.
2. The belt
Sometimes, just bragging rights are enough incentive for salespeople to step up their game. Nothing says “I’m the best!” more than a boxing- or professional wrestling-style championship belt. Several online vendors can create a custom belt, in all its gaudy glory, for you that can serve as a traveling trophy for the team’s monthly sales champ or leader in another category.
This idea works because performance can be tracked via leaderboards and the reward doesn’t require spending more money each month for a new belt. And the prize doesn’t necessarily need to be a belt (even if we think it’s way cool)—it can be a regular trophy, a green jacket (like the Masters), or anything else that represents excellence to your organization.
3. A night out on the town
Fun ways to motivate a sales team don’t always need to be limited to the workplace. As an individual incentive for meeting a lofty goal, offer a reward of dinner at a nice restaurant, along with maybe a movie or theater tickets. By making this an individual goal, there’s less pressure on a salesperson to compete against anyone other than him or herself. And by taking the reward outside of the office or store, employees are reminded that the hard work they put in on the job can benefit them when they’re off the clock.
4. Gift cards
Rewarding salespeople with gift cards allows people to choose their own award. This not only simplifies the reward process for you—with today’s top employee engagement platforms, digital gift cards can be managed, awarded, and redeemed directly from an app—but also provides more incentives for people to reach their goals because an individualized, versatile benefit awaits.
5. Party time!
Team goals inspire camaraderie and can benefit all of your salespeople. Therefore, the rewards should be for the whole team, so why not celebrate such achievements? Throw a party—anything from a happy hour to a picnic to a barbecue—when your team reaches a big milestone. Besides reinforcing the team concept, this fun way to motivate a sales team encourages people to support each other rather than work against themselves.
6. Recognition and praise
Digital messages praising each other’s work makes employees appreciate and build up each other’s successes. Recognition also helps tear down the silos salespeople sometimes create, which can strengthen the team and encourage people to learn from each other. Shout-outs don’t need to be serious—fun GIFs and memes make people look forward to the next recognition that comes across their smartphones, tablets, or computers.
If you don’t have the resources to go big with rewards, give them a rewarding experience instead. Offer yourself and other managers and bosses as motivation for meeting a team goal. Sit in a dunk tank, take a pie to the face, wear a silly outfit for a day, or do anything else that shows that work should be fun—and that you’ll do anything for your team. Letting your team get revenge on you also can inspire them to work together.