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The #1 Motivation For Channel Sales Reps (Hint: It's Not Money)

Posted by Jen Spencer on Jan 3, 2017 10:46:29 AM

channel-sales-reps-motivate.jpgThe personal touch, the sincere handshake from a knowledgeable salesperson who a client can tell cares, is one of the most important elements to a channel relationship. And every supplier wants a channel sales team that will go above and beyond, not just to sell product, but to build those trusting partnerships that are the foundation of strong, sustained business relationships. So how can you get your sales staff to always go the extra mile? The key is in finding the right forms of motivation.

By understanding what motivates a salesperson to sell, you can set up the infrastructure to both inspire and enable them to do their best. So make sure that when you’re sending your channel sales team out in the field, they’ve got the five following motivating factors back in the office driving them to do their best—for themselves, and on your behalf.

1) A Product They Can Stand By

These days we always talk about brand evangelism as being one of the gold standard goals of product positioning. But before you can expect the world of consumers to start chattering about your product, you need your sales staff to be your biggest, most loyal brand evangelists. That means you have to give them something to sell that they believe in.

If your channel sales staff are so confident in your product that they would use it themselves, that’s a product they’re going to work harder, naturally, to sell. You want a salesperson to be so confident in your product’s potential that they’re as likely to discuss its virtues in casual conversation as they are when they’re trying to cut a deal with a client – so give them something to brag about!

2) A Streamlined Selling Experience  

Nobody likes spending their work day navigating IT workarounds or in-person bureaucracy just to reach the starting point at which they can actually begin working. Sometimes because of the complexity of channel relationships, there can be a lot of hoops for a salesperson to jump through. These are hoops that are going to make sales staff want to bail instead of wanting to conduct business.

No matter how complicated the deal is that your sales staff is working on, you want to give them the right tools to make their end of it as user-friendly and streamlined as possible. They’re there to sell – so set them up to sell! Get rid of the hurdles that distract and discourage.

3) Smart Financial Incentivization

The most obvious form of motivation to sell, of course, is rooted in a good old-fashioned reality about business – people work to make a living. Maybe this one goes without saying, but you have to pay your sales staff in a way that appreciates their value, and incentivize the specific selling behaviors you are looking for.

But you also have to do it smartly. Reward the top sellers while still encouraging, not diminishing, the lower ranks. You want to cultivate an environment of mutual betterment through healthy competition, not cutthroat rivalries that leave some of your staff stressed, upset and dejected—and that leaves them dragging their feet because of it.

4) Smart Incentivization Beyond Money

While money is important, there are other forms of incentives that are just as important—and that you can’t forget.  Non-financial incentives, like recognition within the company, serve as a critical auxiliary boost beyond just money. They imbue a sense of appreciation that money alone just can’t.

And both financial appreciation and company-wide recognition contribute to perhaps the most important factor in selling – personal pride.

5) Motivation All Comes Down To…

Pride in the product, pride in the process, and pride in achievement. These internal motivating factors are what drive people to do their best. By setting up your channel program—and the culture of your workplace as a whole—with this in mind, you can motivate your sales team not just with the money they’re making, but with how they are appreciated and encouraged to grow.

Then they’ll be talking not just about how great your product is, but about how great their job is, too.  

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Jen Spencer

About the Author

Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Allbound, Inc.

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