4 Impactful Sales Motivation Strategies Sans-President’s Club for 2021


The world of sales motivation has been flipped upside down, especially when it comes to President’s Club.

It’s a tried and true method for motivating and incentivizing your sales reps, but there are a lot of question marks surrounding it as we progress through 2021.

As a sales leader, how are you supposed to motivate your teams without President’s Club? Not only that, how are you supposed to manage your team’s well-being at a time when it’s never been harder to sell?

We recently sponsored a webinar with Sales Hacker to provide an answer to these questions and more with expert insight and sales motivation strategies from:

  • Scott Barker, Head of Partnerships at Sales Hacker [Moderator]
  • Jenna Donohue, Sales Manager for Emerging Segment at Outreach
  • Ashley Kelly Mealy, Sr. Director of Sales Development at Brex
  • Chris Walker, Executive Vice President of Revenue at EddyHR

Watch the full recording, and then keep reading to get our top takeaways from the webinar.

4 sales motivation strategies you should follow

We’ve broken down the four core sales motivation strategies you can use to encourage your team to be successful, even without a traditional President’s Club outing.

1. Cater to the individual

It can be easy to treat all sales reps in the same way, but not everyone is motivated by the same factors, reacts to external stress the same way, or thrives on the same work schedule. You must work to understand each rep’s personality and tailor your approach to sales motivation, both individually and as a team unit.

Chris Walker notes: “There are so many types of salespeople out there, and we’re conditioned to treat them all the same way. The first thing we should look at is their personality. Then, build out metrics and KPIs based on who your reps are and how they like to sell.”

On the individual level, consider allocating one-on-one meeting time to talk with your reps about their “why” for coming into work every day and what motivates them to succeed. If they bring up any stress or anxiety in their personal life, be intentional with how you listen and offer support.

For example, as Walker mentioned, maybe a rep wants to only sell Monday through Wednesday because they need to be present with their children during virtual school sessions Thursday and Friday. Their success is your success, and when you remain committed to them, they’ll remain committed to you.

On the team level, introduce group activities that foster a strong sense of connectedness and belonging among you and your reps. Create a mission statement together, outline team values, and map what you want to achieve as a group.

Ashley recommends three questions to get the ball rolling that you can use to establish values and goals as a team:

  • How do you think you’re perceived?
  • How do you want to be perceived?
  • How do you plan to get there?

2. Communicate and collaborate

As we enter 2021, communication is key for successful sales motivation. You have to communicate sales goals from the top-down, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

There’s a level of vulnerability that’s needed to motivate your team to crush those goals. Everyone, from the VP down, needs to be honest about where they’re aiming, how they’re progressing, and what they’re struggling with.

Seize the opportunity to be authentic and vulnerable when communicating with your teams, and encourage your reps to do the same with you, and each other. This is a very intentional shift in the sales culture, and it helps create an honest environment where collaboration thrives.

For example, Jenna Donohue from Outreach kicked off a recent team meeting by asking her reps to journal for three minutes on their biggest lessons from the previous month and what their main focus would be for December. Then, they went around the room and shared with each other.

Some common themes that came up were how to reach decision-makers, what talk tracks were being used, and what content assets were most successful on their calls. In an environment like this, where reps are comfortable with communicating openly and candidly, they can work together to level up efforts or overcome blockers together.

3. Adapt a new mindset for sales recognition

One major question mark for sales leaders that stands out for 2021 is how they intend to orchestrate President’s Club incentives. As sales organizations think through creative solutions, they’re focused on the need to creatively recognize and incentivize employees.

Start by celebrating the wins, both big and small. While numbers are important, there’s a variety of contributions sales reps can make that aren’t related directly to their quota, but still able to make a long-term impact.

Maybe you want to give a shout out to a sales rep who spent time training other members on strategy and tactics that led to increased confidence and close rates. Maybe you want to recognize an SDR who set one really important discovery call that led to a monster deal.

Examine all the ways a sales rep brings value to your organization and call out their contributions when you can, from process improvements to mentorship and coaching, to activities that are leading indicators of long-term wins. Celebrating your team culture is just as important as direct sales team motivations as well.

You can recognize someone for major life milestones like an engagement or a new baby. Celebrating your sales reps keeps them motivated, and it also helps alleviate stress when they’re having a bad month.

Donohue says: “The last thing you want to do when someone is in a pit is make them feel stuck there. Celebrate something your reps are proud of that’s not related to their quota by exploring reward-worthy activities that set themselves up for success.”

Blueboard delivers personalized sales recognition options in the form of meaningful, exciting rewards that offer your SDRs and AEs the power of choice. Whether you’re looking for delightful spa days all the way to bucket list-worthy luxury travel, you can send out hand-curated experiences in 30 seconds.

4. Get creative with your President’s Club

With the shifting priorities for 2021, it’s crucial to figure out what aspects of your President’s Club needs to adapt for the coming year. Don’t abandon the event just because you can’t host it in person.

The true value in President’s Club is how it makes your team feel, and that emotional sentiment isn’t something to be taken for granted. The buzz factor surrounding the experience, memories made, and cultural alignment are the true indicators of success that bond your team deeply and keep them engaged with your company.

If you keep your President’s Club as planned, you risk losing deposits with venues. Your top reps will be steeped in anxiety and uncertainty as they await the final decision.

Postponing a President’s Club outing can demotivate and frustrate your employees, who might decide to leave for a different sales job. Cashing out can be forgettable, and going virtual adds another Zoom call to their already long list of Zoom calls.

Instead, prioritize a creative solution that keeps your employees’ health and well-being front and center. Many have turned to experience-based President’s Club incentives that cater to the comfort levels of all employees, whether they want in-home experiences or global travel options.

How will you navigate sales motivation in 2021?

Remember, there’s no blanket approach to motivation, and everyone is motivated differently. In order to keep sales reps motivated, it’s crucial that sales and revenue leaders make an intentional shift in their approach to dealing with individual personalities on their team, fostering communication and collaboration, and thoughtfully rewarding and incentivizing success.

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