Your people are the heartbeat of your company’s success. Without them, your business would close tonight, but it’s not enough to simply keep them grinding toward monthly sales goals by dangling the same old carrots. Sales team motivation is built around shared vision, enthusiasm for the industry, the potential for career advancement, and achievable goals that translate to dollar bills in everyone’s pocket. 

To stay ahead of the competition, your employees have to feel like they matter and the work they’re doing is part of building a meaningful career. However, people can be complex, and successfully improving sales team motivation can be a difficult and occasionally non-intuitive task. What are some of the best ways to go about this?

There are two basic areas to focus on that can make all the difference: overall morale/culture, and specific incentivization. We’ll break them down so you can create a strategy that keeps your employees firing on all cylinders and hungry for more. 


It’s no secret that happy workers are better workers—in fact, you can measure it. Employees with high morale generate 38% more revenue on average than their worn-down counterparts. Our first three tips are going to focus on keeping spirits up and bringing your team closer together.  

1. Recognize Performance

This is more than just a commission or an employee-of-the-week plaque. Taking your team members out to lunch, going above and beyond to help them, public thanks, and surprise benefits (doughnuts, coffee, etc.) are all great ways to improve your sales team motivation. Keep these shifting to avoid people coming to expect them, and remember: it’s not about how much you spend. Little investments that are carefully considered often mean much more than generic big-ticket expenses. 

2. Lead by Example

Employees respect employers who pitch in when hard work needs to be done, as well as understand the challenges of everyone’s job. When you’re respected, people work harder for you. Trust your team, and have their back when the going gets tough. 

This needs to be more than rolling up your sleeves, though. You should model the culture and values you want them to bring to the job. That starts with listening closely to their needs and working to minimize the obstacles in their path. Conversely, communicating the business’s challenges as appropriate is important context that can help them understand why decisions are being made instead of being left in the dark. If they don’t know why things are happening, they can easily form the wrong impression about your leadership skills. 

Finally, striving to create fair opportunities for your people is an investment that will assuredly pay you back, both in terms of a positive workplace culture and for navigating interpersonal challenges. If you avoid playing favorites, give your salespeople the chance to succeed on their own merits, and make your hiring processes about finding the best people for the job, they’ll be much more prepared to accept getting a “no” today. 

3. Give Them the Right Tools

You can be the nicest boss anyone’s ever had… but if the building is shabby, the breakroom is barren, the coffee’s bad, and their tools are old and broken, you’re going to have a lot of frustrated people on your sales floor.

A clean, comfortable, safe environment does wonders for morale, and if you couple that with the proper tools that let them show you their best, it’s a recipe for high-level sales team motivation. And, of course, don’t forget the most important tool of all: training! Invest in giving them the skills they need to succeed, and they’ll use them to generate huge returns for your business. 


We all know the value of commissions and bonus structures, but there are innumerable additional areas where small opportunities can improve sales team motivation. Many of these ideas build on existing incentives you already have in place or can provide extra value for team members with individual goals. 

4. Simple, Individualized Compensation Plans

The last thing your team wants to have to navigate is complicated commission structures. Employees prefer bonus and commission schedules that are simple, transparent, and easy to understand.

But even this basic idea can be improved on. If you create structures that have some flexibility,  it allows employees to tailor their personal commission plan to pursue the things that matter most to them. That means your overall sales team motivation will be greater compared to a single umbrella model.

5. Incentivize Every Team Member

The conventional wisdom is that people who sell get commissions and the rest of the team gets a flat rate. But if your dealership sticks to this outdated model, you’re missing out on the many productivity increases that come from paying on a commission basis. 

Now, this doesn’t mean you pay your administrative assistants a commission on each email. But finding healthy ways to tie every employee’s compensation to their daily performance furthering the success of your business (ideally in every paycheck rather than yearly bonuses) encourages all departments to work together at a higher level of productivity. These can include small monthly or weekly goals that represent modest—but cumulative—gains. 

6. Eliminate Commission Caps and “Ratcheting” Quotas

Some details of compensation plans can have a negative impact on sales team motivation. For example, many large companies impose caps on commissions, de-incentivizing their best sales reps. And “ratcheting” quotas (increasing future quotas as a “reward” for exceeding current year expectations) is a particularly destructive practice. Who’s going to work hard if the owner just moves the bar to reap the rewards of your skills?

Your compensation model should never prioritize your personal profits over fair and equitable practices. If your people think you’re lining your pockets with their nickels and dimes, they’ll never give you anything close to their best.  

7. Train Your People Well

Without the proper training and tools (like great sales scripts), even the best salespeople are relying on individual experience and improvisation. But if you train them well on those scripts, they will feel supported, empowered, and confident. They’ll have solid tools that help them master any situation, and their commissions will increase as a result.


No one can be an expert at everything, and even if you make your team’s morale a #1 priority it doesn’t mean you’re going to have the time to give them everything they need. This is particularly true of training, which can be a huge benefit to your sales team but incredibly hard to implement in-house. 

This is where a great training partner like Phone Ninjas can ensure your team always feels like you’re giving them the best shot at success. We’re automotive and heavy equipment sales professionals with decades of combined experience, and we know what keeps your people delivering 110%. We’ve used this knowledge to craft our amazing sales scripts and real-world coaching guidance that will translate to their paycheck at the end of the month. There’s no better way to increase sales team motivation!

Our in-depth training features one-on-one coaching sessions using examples from their actual job to improve presentation, naturalness, and performance. We back this up with our mystery shopping program that gauges the success of the training and follows up with shopped employees to perfect every last detail.
Contact us now to schedule a free demo and two free mystery shops for your dealership, and get your team’s energy at an all-time high!

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