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Money is great. We love money. But when it comes to motivating your sales team to do the best job possible and perform like the rock stars you know they can be, money may not be the best way to get them excited.

If you've got millennials on your team, you may have seen this in action. Research into millennials in the workplace shows that this generation would accept less money to work for a company with a comparable mission.

No matter what generation your sales team consists of, you need to find ways to motivate them to do their best, without the siren song of money.

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How to Motivate a Sales Team Without Money

Before you attempt to motivate your sales team without the help of our little green friends, it's important to understand the different types of motivation that they may respond to. These are intrinsic and extrinsic.

Extrinsic motivation comes from external factors and typically consists of bonuses, prizes, trips, and fancy dinners. This type of motivator is very important and shouldn't be ignored. But, it also shouldn't be the only type of motivation your employees experience. If it is, then the moment it's taken away, your team will fall into crisis.

Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, comes from within. It requires employees to tap into what really makes them "tick" in order to ramp up their productivity and sales. While this type of motivation is very personal, a good sales manager will help an employee recognize what fires them up. This will differ from person to person but could include one or more of the following: 


For some individuals, being micromanaged is the kiss of death. However, giving them the freedom to manage themselves, choose their hours, work from the office or from home, manage their own time, choose their own teams, etc. can be the motivation they need to reach their goals.


When you get the right employee selling the right product or service, they are focused on helping people. They either have personal experience with the solution or they've seen it in action enough to know that it can truly solve someone's problems. Their desire to help and to serve drives them.

Greater Purpose

For some, a job is just a means to support something they care about. This could be their family or a cause/charity that's close to their heart. Take the time to understand WHY your employees come to work and then support their interests. Maybe they've got children involved in extracurricular activities, a spouse building a business, or a strong desire to save the environment. Find out what they do outside of work and how they choose to spend their money, then support it along with them.

Professional Development

Gone are the days of employees stepping into a role and staying there until retirement calls. Today's employees want to move up the ladder in their current company, or find opportunities in different organizations or even industries. They want to constantly learn, grow, and keep an eye out for their next move. When you provide Professional Development, you encourage them to learn all they can learn and you understand the fact that while they won't be in that role forever, they want to do a good job while they're there.

Related: Boost Employee Morale with Professional Development


You may occasionally find an employee who doesn't want their accomplishments publicized, but for the most part, people enjoy receiving public recognition. They like being told (in front of others) that they've done a great job. This is not only motivation for them, but for other team members who will be eager to earn this recognition for themselves. If you do have an employee that prefers not to be the center of attention, it doesn't mean that they don't need recognition, it just means they prefer to receive it in a one-on-one setting.


While some employees might classify themselves as "lone wolves," others thrive on collaboration with other employees and other departments. If you notice that certain employees enjoy visiting prospects together, or like to work on projects with a small group of people, encourage them to do so. 

Create Buy-In and Accountability

Similar to self-management, employees that are allowed to create their own personal goals and provide input into team goals, are more likely to strive to attain them. Make a goal setting discussion part of their quarterly or annual review rather than delivering an already formed set of goals for them to work with.

Physical Environment

It's difficult to feel motivated when you're stuck indoors, staring at cubicle walls for 8-10 hours a day with fluorescent lights flickering overhead. While you may not have the money to completely redesign your office, you can make subtle tweaks that will make a huge difference. Add some greenery to the space, play some classical music in the background, provide a break room where employees can go to de-stress, and encourage employees to get out of the office during lunch. You could even host a meeting outside. You'd be surprised what type of creativity comes out when you're getting exercise.

Incentivizing a Sales Team Tips

Once you understand the different types of motivation and figure out which ones will work best with your individual employees, there are a variety of ways that you can encourage them and foster enthusiasm for their work. We'll start out with extrinsic motivation and then transition to intrinsic.

Create a point system that employees can cash in

Not every employee will want movie tickets, electronics, or a gift certificate to a specific restaurant. Allow them to earn points for goals met and then cash them in when they've earned enough for what they want.

Send them for dinners, weekend getaways, or unique experiences

Winning a weekend trip or a fancy dinner can be exciting for your employee and for their significant other. It shows them that they are appreciated and gives them the opportunity to do something fun.

Related: Offer Unique Benefits to Improve Employee Morale

Offer awards and public recognition

Host an awards ceremony every few weeks or months. Allow your employees to bask in the glow of a job well done and receive congratulations and admiration from their peers. 

Send them a Thank You card

It may seem simple and silly, but a handwritten thank you card for stellar sales performance could mean the world to someone who seeks recognition and appreciation. 

Gift an extra day off

For an employee who values their free time and their life outside the office, an extra day off or even an afternoon off will mean the world. 

Make a donation to the employee's favorite cause

Millennials are leading the charge in changing the world, but the desire isn't unique to them. People of all ages want to be a part of solving societal issues. If you've got a do-gooder on your team, offer to make a donation to their favorite charity when they meet or exceed goals. 

Provide coaching

Think about the employee who values personal development. For him or her, there is no better way to reward a job well-done than providing them to the tools to do even better next time.

Understanding the types of motivation and what your employees respond best to will create an environment where your sales team is eager to be productive and effective. You’ll know what kinds of motivation your team needs to crush their sales goals.

About Mark

Mark began inspiring audiences with his acclaimed book Opportunity Rocks®. After the book was featured in USA Today, Small Business Trendsetters, Business Innovators and TBN, it didn’t take long for Mark Kamp® to have his own following of screaming fans.

Now the exuberant keynote experience it is today, Mark Kamp’s® mission is to unlock everyone’s inner rock star, wherever that may take him.

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