How do you motivate your sales team as a sales manager? Payroll is your highest cost as the owner of a sales business. Hiring salespeople is expensive, but when they’re managed well, they’ll help your company to thrive.

Money isn’t the only thing that matters to your commission sales reps, and learning how to motivate your sales team with non-financial incentives is paramount.

Fortunately, you can take several practical steps right now to enhance the success of your sales employees and your business.

These non-financial incentives will help your sales staff feel more engaged, emphasize what matters to your company, and give your employees the tools they need to increase your turnover and profits.

Above all, remember that most commission-only salespeople want to do a good job, be recognized for their abilities, and feel they’re contributing to your and their success.

Consider the following strategies that you can use to motivate your sales team. Doing so will help your fully motivated sales team be the best they can be in your sales process.

Deciding how to boost morale starts by understanding and describing what you want your company to achieve.

Time to hire says: Remember how important it is to motivate your sales reps properly. Building trust and non-financial incentives into your business is the difference between having a reasonable sales staff and a great one.


Think about your vision for your sales business. Where do you want it to be in a year, five years, or ten years?

What values matter most to you, your sales staff, and your customers? Is your company built around quality, speed, efficiency, affordability, or something else?

Define your vision clearly and share it with your commission sales staff. When they know where you’re trying to move to, it makes pushing your sales staff in the same direction easier.

For example, if your company’s goal is to become the leader in selling high-quality apartments in your city, create all your business processes, training, and sales staff relations with that as the foundation.

You don’t need to mention it in every meeting, but focusing on quality ahead of speed or price will help to emphasize your priorities.

Once most salespeople understand this, they’ll feel more motivated and subtly change their behaviors, helping drive your company forward.

Time to hire says: Find a way to make your vision real to people and use it to motivate your sales department.


Your sales employees must know what you expect of them as their sales manager. One of the best ways to increase salespeople’s motivation levels is to create clear objectives to push them towards.

An objective is measuring an employee’s progress toward their immediate job goals. These should be based on the following:

  • Their job description– What you hired them to do in the first place (e.g., tasks expected of a commission sales rep).
  • Your business outcomes– What your company needs them to do. (e.g., sell x widgets over a certain period).
  • Their abilities– you can tailor objectives to the abilities of your people (e.g., some salespeople might be better at pitching to businesses, others to individuals).
  • Challenging them– it’s always good to have “stretch” objectives that will challenge your employees and motivate your sales staff to work harder (e.g., asking them to mentor another salesperson).

Ideally, objectives should be written in clear, precise language that accurately defines what your sales staff need to do, any targets they need to meet, and how they will know if they have been successful.


A great way to do this is to use the SMART method of creating objectives:

  • S – Specific – Each objective should cover one specific area (e.g., add-on sales).
  • M – Measurable – You and your staff member can measure progress against the objective (e.g., the amount of revenue generated).
  • A – Actionable – The staff member should be able to influence the outcome of the objective (e.g., selling x number of apartments or converting x number of leads).
  • R – Relevant – The objective should be relevant to the job area and staff member you’re writing it for (e.g., salespeople and managers will have different objectives).
  • T – Timely – The objective should be achievable in a reasonable length of time (e.g., per quarter or annually).

Time to hire says: We’ve covered the process for setting sales objectives in detail.


Once you’ve got your vision and objectives in place, it’s important to have regular one-on-one meetings with your sales staff.

You can make these quick meetings chats where they highlight any successes, questions, or concerns, or more in-depth discussions where you track progress against their objectives.

A good routine is a 30-minute chat every month and a more formal meeting every quarter.

These meetings are a great time to give feedback, raise any concerns, and check that your sales staff is progressing.

Time to hire says: Making time for your sales employees demonstrates that you care about them, which will help motivate your sales reps.


If you want to build strong, trusting relationships with your commission sales representatives, it’s very important to establish good ways of providing feedback.

Constructive criticism, or specific feedback that your staff and sales teams can act on, is a great way of coaching them and motivating sales teams.

Avoid giving general feedback like “you need to sell more widgets.” Instead, give specific coaching and guidance on the methods and techniques they can use to sell those widgets.

Sharing positive feedback, appreciation, and respect is an important non-financial incentive for having happy employees.

People react better when they receive positive and constructive feedback that directly addresses any concerns you or they may have.

Combining these non-financial incentives with respect and appreciation motivates your sales staff, fosters better working relationships, and creates a more pleasant environment.

Keep a sales team motivated by offering public and private praise when appropriate. Celebrating small wins will do much to keep the sales team closing deals.

Sales leadership should encourage salespeople to bring any concerns into the open.


If you’ve hired the right commission sales reps, you can trust them to do a good job.

Demonstrate this by giving them the accountability to complete tasks in their way, to the best of their abilities.

Many salespeople work best when they have control over what they need to do when they need to do it and can choose how to approach their actions.

If you’re good sales targets and objectives, you know your direct reports will be motivated to achieve them.

They will find a way to move forward that works for them, and you can largely let them decide on the specifics. Trust is a very powerful non-financial incentive.

When people feel they can trust their leaders, they often go above and beyond what’s expected to deliver excellent work.

Time to hire says: Sometimes it can be hard to step back enough to give trust and accountability to others. The more you can do that, the more motivated your sales talent will feel.


Competition can be one incentive for salespeople to feel inspired, and this can be one of your sales motivation tactics when done properly.

This can work as one of your proven strategies when you understand the motivations of your sales talent. Everyone likes to be good at something, and feeling like a “winner” is one perk that shouldn’t be ignored.

Establish team-wide sales contests to reach a team quota. Or split the sales team into groups and let them battle head-to-head in a sales contest.

Tailor it like a sports game where the thrill of competition is half the fun. But be wary of not letting things go too far.

If competition is not handled correctly, it can spiral into finger-pointing and contentious relationships.

Every goal should be to create a team of effective salespeople and celebrate wins, not make team members feel jealous or unappreciated. Tie goals to key sales activities and not just sales results.


Most business owners understand that there are many external factors to employee happiness and salespeople need to be motivated differently, depending on their skills, experience, expertise, and self-confidence.

Adapting your management style to the needs of each salesperson will give them the support they need to do a good job.

You can use four main management styles to motivate sales teams, depending on how experienced an employee is. They are:

  • Directing
  • Supporting
  • Coaching
  • Delegating


This management style is best for inexperienced sales professionals. It involves you or another senior person working closely with an employee to give them continual direction, support, and training as they learn new sales skills and techniques.

It’s very “hands-on” and is essential for helping new employees adapt to their roles. Combine this management style with regular feedback, non-financial incentives, and support to quickly train your staff.


A step above directing, this is the best method to use when sales staff already have some idea of what they need to achieve.

They’ve got a basic understanding and can do most of what you expect, but there still needs to be more in their knowledge. They should have continual access to other sales team members or a superior to ask questions and learn more about their role when needed.


This is the most common management style and is suitable for most staff members who understand almost everything about their job role but may occasionally run into issues with your systems or processes.

It means you rely on them to ask questions and provide high-level coaching and guidance when necessary. You’re available, but you largely expect your sales staff to manage their time.


You use this technique with your most competent and experienced sales representatives.

It means asking your employee to do something and leaving it to them to decide how to approach it.

People you can delegate to will normally be very self-confident and will find ways to solve problems they face, often without involving you.

Showing this level of trust in your sales team often acts as a non-financial incentive, motivating them to work even harder.

Time to hire says: Managing styles for individual employees will change as they get more experience and confidence. The aim is to get them from “directive” to “delegating.”


We know that to motivate your sales staff, money is still a powerful driver.

Because your employees are working to make your company succeed, tying some of their financial incentives into your business performance is a good idea.

You can do this through extra sales commission, profit sharing, providing a bonus (either regularly or one-off), giving them stock options, or rewarding them based on how they do against their objectives.


Everyone has concerns and problems at work and home. Taking time to empathize with your staff and supporting them with any issues shows that you’re a good boss.

If you notice a good staff member’s performance slipping, raise it with them gently. Find out if you can give them any coaching or support to make things easier.

This is an especially important non-financial incentive regarding work/life balance. When people need clear boundaries between work and time, it can stress them.

If you notice salespeople working long hours or their personal life is impacting their work performance, talk to them and see how you can solve the problem together.

One of the best ways to build trust and create a good working environment is to let employees share their ideas and concerns with you.

This means having an “open door” policy, a way that staff members and sales teams can tell you what’s going on without fear of repercussions.

Once your staff members realize they can trust your leadership and that you’ll support them, you’ll see more motivated sales reps and encourage transparency at the same time.

Time to hire says: Learning to listen properly and react appropriately is one of the best skills a good leader can learn.


Business is about more than just meeting targets, managing objectives, and selling widgets. Part of helping people feel valued is celebrating successes on both a job and a company-wide level.

This is a simple but effective non-financial incentive. Take time to find an effective way to track daily wins, such as through a leaderboard.

The next time someone closes a big sales deal, take the time to congratulate them and show your appreciation for the big wins.

If the business exceeds all its sales targets, take your employees to dinner. Many small businesses have pizza and beer Fridays after work or provide other facilities to their employees.

This non-financial incentive creates a better work environment, helps people avoid burnout, and lets everyone understand how they make your sales business thrive.

Of course, there is also the option to use some funds to incentivize without increasing commissions or salaries. As each new project arises, consider adding money to a sales performance incentive fund to motivate your sales team to more effort.

Time to hire says: Take time to address each salesperson’s motivation by celebrating success, and you’ll have fewer failures.


You can motivate sales teams by giving them opportunities to improve. Your company’s mission should be to provide an environment that benefits every team member.

As team members grow in their professional knowledge and abilities, they will help you reach the tangible goal of happier and more efficient employees.

The world of sales is competitive and always changing. Help the sales team gain valuable skills like training on your sales CRM software.

Or offer materials that matter to the sales team, like relevant books, online blogs, or one-on-one professional training.

Creating learning opportunities for a sales team makes the team more valuable overall when individual sales team members work to upskill.


An effective manager knows that the company mission determines morale and what the company values in their employees, and their employees will often determine if they stay focused.

The environment you give your sales team can impact the sales funnel. Work to make qualitative improvements to the office space.

This may include supporting the team’s healthy diet by providing healthy food options. A well-apportioned break room with a restorative area, such as a dedicated nap room, may help sales rep approach their work with greater balance.

Even small changes can help your direct reports appreciate your effort to motivate your sales team.

Besides physical health, encourage good mental health. Offer flexible work arrangements for those that need it.

Remember to offer support for their career trajectory. Opportunities for professional development like relevant webinars or skill set training can help your team see that you care about their future career too.


To motivate your sales staff, think about something other than money first. When people feel valued, they will work harder.

Make it your primary responsibility to reward top performers and energize low performers. In the long run, you can steer the ship toward better employee morale, even without increasing their monthly paycheck.

Feeling appreciated doesn’t just come from one area; it combines many non-financial incentives that can collectively add to a team’s sales motivation. Remember:

  • Share your vision – Salespeople want to do a good job, and sharing your vision gets everyone aimed at the same goal.
  • Set goals – Setting clear, smart objectives tells your sales reps what they need to achieve.
  • Build trust – Regular one-on-one meetings allow you to give feedback, build trust, and discover any concerns.
  • Choose the right management style – Adapting to the right management style will give your people the right level of support.
  • Their success is your success – Tying your company’s success to your salespeople’s sustained sales success will help them feel invested.
  • Recognize the wins – Celebrating successes with both financial and non-financial incentives creates a better working environment.

These areas will enhance people’s pride in their work, foster critical relationships, and ultimately create a more successful, sustained sales business.

Want us to find the best commission-only sales reps on your behalf and reduce your hiring time? Get in touch now.