We all know cheesy aspirational quotes just don’t cut it when it comes to motivating your team. And while some people might get jazzed about hitting company growth goals, numbers in isolation don’t maximize motivation. So if aspirational tidbits and arbitrary numbers both fail, what’s the magic potion that will inspire your sales team and keep them motivated?

“If a pretty poster and a cute saying are all it takes to motivate you, you probably have a very easy job. The kind robots will be doing soon.” - Despair.com


Start with why

Motivation begins with a story. It’s the narrative explaining why you do what you do. It’s the compelling cause you’re part of - the larger problem you’re solving. Now before you haze over thinking this is all inspirational mumbo jumbo, remember this isn’t just storytime for adults. “Stories powerfully connect us to our listeners,” according to an interview with Geoffrey Berwind, Storytelling Consultant and Trainer. We’re instinctively compelled by stories.

Sustain with data

While motivation begins with a story, it’s sustained with data. Specific, relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) show how to make the story (the why) a reality. Combining these two components - your story and the right KPIs - creates a powerful motivator that’s guaranteed to truly inspire your sales team and ultimately help generate more revenue.

Motivation in practice

This all sounds great in theory, but what does it look like to actually implement this formula for guaranteed motivation? Here are 4 steps you can begin implementing today to motivate your sales team.

  1. Know and share the bigger story. Do you know why your company exists? What’s the bigger issue your company is solving? If you can’t readily answer these questions, take some time to find the answers. (Hint: the most compelling stories are always bigger than the organization itself.

    At Geckoboard, we offer dashboard software designed to be displayed on TVs, but the bigger reason we exist is to make organizations more transparent and in turn, help drive performance. Once you know what the story is, tell it often. When we forget why we’re doing what we’re doing, we lose focus and motivation. Suddenly, we’re just punching a time card and collecting a paycheck. Prevent this terrible waste by sharing the story on a regular basis. Any member of your team should be able to rehearse the narrative on the spot if asked.
  2. Identify critical KPIs. The purpose of selecting key performance indicators is to make your overall goal (how you’re contributing to the bigger story) actionable. Your sales metrics should define tangible ways for making progress towards the goal. Start with the one metric that matters (typically a lagging indicator).

    Then identify the supporting metrics (leading indicators) that will mark your progress towards the one major lagging metric. I recommend having no more than 20 sales KPIs, usually 7-10 are good). Be sure to make every metric actionable. If you need inspiration, check out this list of example sales KPIs and metrics.
  3. Communicate and monitor your KPIs. I cannot stress how essential this step is. One of the fastest ways to demotivate your team is holding them to standards they don’t know about or changing the standards without their knowledge. Be clear about the KPIs you’re trying to achieve by making them readily accessible to every team member. Communicating and monitoring metrics go hand in hand.

    Let each sales rep know what’s expected of them using monthly or quarterly KPIs and then measure the results against those target metrics. Getting everyone aligned with the right KPIs may take extra effort at first, but over time, you’ll be amazed at the increased motivation and efficiency of your team. KPIs may need to be adjusted, but the critical element is to be transparent. If you change a certain metric, share the change, update your dashboard, and begin monitoring it.
  4. Celebrate wins. This step is so obvious and yet so easily forgotten. Cultivate an atmosphere where heartfelt appreciation is freely given and received. Whether it’s a little win or a big win, take time to acknowledge it. This can take all forms - maybe a shout out at a weekly team meeting or a quick “Way to go!” in the company chat. Sincere gratitude fuels motivation. Please note this step won’t work if you use insincere responses or meaningless tokens - it must be legit.

    Another way to celebrate is to go to a major event or a trip away with the top performers. Celebrating wins isn’t about hitting a plateau and stopping. It’s about providing feedback and creating rewards that inspire your team to want to outperform again the next month.

So no, motivation isn’t an elusive magic potion. It’s a strategic combination of a compelling story and clearly defined data. And the best part? It’s achievable. Now you can cultivate an unstoppable, highly motivated sales team by implementing these four steps.

Need help defining your KPIs? Learn how to find the right KPIs for your B2B sales team.

PS. Want to help motivate your team using data? Create live - automatically refreshing - TV dashboards from your Salesforce reports using our new Salesforce Integration.