Friday, January 1, 2010

The Biggest Myth of Inside Sales

If I pay my inside sales team more money they will be more motivated. Wrong! The only thing that motivates sales people is making more money. Wrong again! This old school train of thought has left the station. Enter the new school train of intrinsic motivation. Chooooooooo...choooooo.....all aboard.

I have written a lot about how much the workforce has changed and how important it is for us leaders to change with it. We must run our organizations differently if we want to compete for the best and the brightest employees. One major area of change is motivation. I have met and spoke with lots of frustrated leaders, who are having a hard time motivating their inside sales teams. I would often tell them that you need to find out what motivates them as individuals, not as a team. The reason for their frustration was because they were focusing on extrinsic motivators and not intrinsic motivators.

There is a difference between what people say motivates them and what actually motivates them to produce better results. In fact, if you asked your sales team what motivates them, they will most likely say money. The more money I can make, the more motivated I will be. This math does not add up. If it did, then all of your sales team would be at 120% of their sales quota because all comp plans have huge multipliers over 100% quota attainment.

So if it's not a juicier carrot, then what could it possibly be? A bigger stick? What motivates my team to produce better results? If your a fan of science and like to make decisions based off of facts then listen to Dan Pink. Dan Pink does a great job talking about the science of motivation.

The intrinsic value of an employee is the combination of their tangible and intangible factors. Just because one of your reps is at 120% of plan doesn't mean they are happy and just because one of your reps is at 50% of plan doesn't mean they should be fired. Both employees need help. Find out what intrinsic motivators make each of them tic and you will have earned your salary as a leader. Yes this means you may have to use a little more of your right brain (the creative side), but that's the trend.

So congratulations to all those "right brain" thinkers out there. You are the soup de jour. Or maybe it's more appropriate to say the soup de le vingt et unieme siecle. That's broken Google search French for soup of the 21st century.

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