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Sales Compensation

How to Motivate Your Sales Team for Optimal Performance in 2024

Sameer Sinha
CEO & Co-Founder At Visdum
Published On:
January 2, 2024
May 1, 2024

In my 20+ years of experience leading sales teams at Oracle and other tech companies, I have seen the most dedicated members of my team feel discouraged at times.

Often, it’s not you. It’s not them either!

Nonetheless, a motivated sales team is crucial for achieving targets and reaching larger business goals.

And, it can be challenging to understand how to motivate sales teams and inspire your sales team to achieve their targets throughout the year.

In this blog post, I will share what has worked for me and my team in the past and what has not.

I will also talk about some of the common mistakes I have seen companies commonly make based on anecdotal feedback that may tick off their sales reps.

Let's dive in!

Sales Motivation Tips: Strategies to Keep Your Team Energized


1. Set specific and achievable targets

Establishing clear and effective sales targets is the first step in encouraging and motivating a sales team to reach their targets. It is rather better to start with lower targets and incentivize overachievement than ask your sales reps to work towards unrealistically high targets.

Unrealistic targets can be dangerous! Your sales reps can altogether stop taking targets seriously.

Unfortunately, unrealistic sales targets are not an uncommon sight in the tech industry. We recently heard about a company with such unrealistic targets for their sales reps that after three out of four quarters, most of their reps have achieved only between 20 to 45% of their target.

This is dangerous as your sales team can altogether stop taking targets seriously, defeating any business target before you even set them up.

A typical way to figure out the right target amount would be by looking at the average historical achievement. (Bottom-up Approach) 

For Example: If a group of five reps closed a total of 20 deals worth $1,000,000 in the same quarter last year. A realistic quarterly target for 1 rep could be $250,000 (i.e., 20-25% above the average achievement).

If the sales cycle is three months or less then smaller periods such as monthly/ quarterly targets could encourage better and more consistent performance than yearly targets.

Increase your revenue with a real-time commission tracking software like Visdum.

2. Create a sense of competition

Friendly competition within a team can be a great way to encourage your team members to work harder and achieve more. Competitions can also help build team spirit in your sales team.

Here are some ways to achieve this with Visdum.

Sales leaderboards

Create a sales leaderboard to track the performance of each team member and announce rewards for top performers. This can help create a sense of competition among team members as they strive to be at the top of the leaderboard.

The good news is that Visdum does this for you. Users can see the leaderboard and prize for top performers if any, right in their Visdum dashboard.

🔔 Also read: Unlock Success: Keep Your Team Motivated With Sales Leaderboards


Contests can be a great way to kill recession blues, break monotonous routines, and re-energize your sales team. They come in many forms such as sales contests, trivia games, and even sports events.

Here is a little explainer on each of these.

1. Sales contests: Organize a sales contest in which team members compete against each other to sell the most products or services within a certain time frame. This can create a sense of competition among team members and also help achieve short-term sales goals.

In Visdum, you can do this by creating a SPIFF on top of an existing plan or by creating a contest in the Gamification module.

🔔 Must read: What is SPIFF in sales: A Comprehensive Guide for 2024 

2. Trivia games: Organize trivia games related to the industry or product knowledge. This will encourage your team to keep updated with the latest product features and changes.

3. Sports events: In my experience, nothing builds team spirit and re-energizes a team like sports does.

It is crucial to keep in mind that when organizing competitions, the goal should be to foster teamwork and healthy competition among team members, rather than adding extra stress and pressure on them to reach the targets.

3. Reward with progressive commission rates

I believe this one could go without saying it. However, I would like to re-emphasize the importance of commission policies in sales as they are the biggest motivator in sales and you should use them wisely.

Too often than not, a company’s sales policy is either:

  • Too simple and straightforward, as to fail to encourage reps to sell more, or
  • Too complicated, as to confuse their sales reps.

So, how do you find the balance?

For starters, a sales commission policy should be progressive. That is, the policy should allow for higher commission rates upon reaching milestones such as a 1.5x base rate over 50% attainment and so on. This will encourage reps to quickly reach these milestones to earn greater commission on closed deals.

In addition to a progressive tier system, you can also add bonus and SPIFF components in the policy to further incentivize certain types of sales. 

For example: One of our clients pays a flat 5% commission on one-time service charges over the additional commission on the deal value.

At the same time, it is important to keep the policy simple so your sales reps are able to understand it. A handbook or a video that your reps can refer to at any time to understand the policy can be helpful too.


4. Reward consistent performance

The biggest challenge of leading a sales team is to keep up your team’s motivation throughout the year. It is unacceptable if your team overachieves in one quarter but underperforms in subsequent quarters. This is why it is important to encourage and reward consistent performance over and above one-time performances.

A global SaaS player recently revised its commission policy to encourage consistent performance. “This is how their new policy works”.

  • Sales reps earn 1.1x their applicable commission rate for achieving their target two months in a row in the second month.
  • Sales reps earn 1.2x their applicable commission rate upon achieving their target three months in a row in the third month.

As such, a sales rep who is consistently achieving his/ her targets will be earning greater commissions for each $ worth of deals closed with each passing month in the quarter. This will encourage performing reps to maintain their performance streak. 


5. Reduce disputes and dissatisfaction with transparency

With modern complicated policies and tricky calculations, most reps end up miscalculating their incentives leading to unnecessary disputes and dissatisfaction. Likewise, your Finance team is tired of computations that are manual, error-prone, and full of hassle. 

We built Visdum to automate incentive calculations and bring transparency to your sales team.

With Visdum, all your sales reps can track their achievement and see the maths behind the computations without having to bother the Finance or the Sales Ops team, therefore bringing transparency to the entire process.

Transparency naturally reduces disputes and increases satisfaction.

Furthermore, with our Visdum Estimator, sales reps can now easily estimate and plan their future earnings by calculating incentives on pipeline deals.

By understanding the nuances of individual motivations, fostering a positive work environment, and setting clear, achievable goals, you lay the foundation for success. Encouraging healthy competition, providing transparent and progressive incentives, and prioritizing ongoing training solidify the pillars of a motivated sales force.

Remember, the journey toward a successful sales team is ongoing. Embrace adaptability, celebrate victories, learn from challenges, and continuously refine your approach.

With dedication to these principles and the right tools, such as Visdum, you're poised not just to hit targets but to consistently surpass them. Elevate your team, fuel their motivation, and watch as they propel your business toward new heights of success. Here's to a future filled with motivated sales teams and unprecedented achievements.

🔔 Further reading: HBR Blog; Motivating Salespeople: What Really Works

Visdum: Revolutionizing Sales Performance

Elevate your sales team's potential with Visdum, a cutting-edge SaaS Sales Compensation Software. Seamlessly integrating with popular CRMs like Hubspot and Salesforce, Visdum offers unparalleled benefits for both admins and individual sales reps.

Instant Real-time Commission Calculations

Bid farewell to manual calculations and delays. Visdum provides instant, real-time commission calculations, ensuring your sales reps are always aware of their achievements and rewards.

Transparent Commission Calculations

Motivate your sales team with transparency. Visdum brings clarity to commission calculations, allowing individual reps to track their performance effortlessly. No more disputes or uncertainties; just a motivated and satisfied sales force.

User-Friendly Interface

Visdum's user-friendly interface makes it easy for both admins and sales reps to navigate. Accessible anytime, anywhere, it simplifies the commission management process, fostering a motivated and engaged sales team.

Elevate Your Team's Performance

Unlock the full potential of your sales team. Experience the power of Visdum in optimizing performance, driving motivation, and achieving consistent success.

Learn more about Visdum and its features here.

Level up your sales game with Visdum, talk to our sales compensation experts today.


How do you motivate a sales team to hit targets?

Motivating a sales team to hit targets involves a multifaceted approach. Start by setting clear, achievable goals that align with the team's capabilities. Establish a positive work environment, recognizing and celebrating both individual and team accomplishments.

Foster healthy competition through sales leaderboards and contests, encouraging team members to strive for excellence. Providing continuous training, professional growth opportunities, and maintaining open communication channels contribute to sustained motivation.

Regularly review and adjust goals to keep them challenging yet realistic, promoting a sense of accomplishment and ongoing motivation.

How do you incentivize a sales team?

Incentivizing a sales team is crucial for driving performance. Implement a progressive commission structure that rewards higher achievement with increased commission rates.

Introduce bonuses and SPIFF components to further motivate specific sales behaviors. Recognize and celebrate consistent performance with tiered rewards, encouraging reps to maintain high standards throughout the year. Create a sense of competition through contests and leaderboards, offering tangible prizes for top performers.

Transparent and straightforward commission policies, accompanied by accessible resources like handbooks or videos, ensure clarity and understanding, fostering a motivated and driven sales team.

What is the key to a successful sales team?

The key to a successful sales team lies in a combination of factors. Firstly, effective leadership is essential. A strong leader inspires and guides the team, setting clear goals and maintaining open communication.

Cultivating a positive work culture, where recognition and rewards are consistently provided, fosters a motivated and engaged team.

Continuous training and development opportunities keep the team's skills sharp and up-to-date. Setting SMART goals, both individual and team-based, ensures a focused and achievable path to success. Lastly, transparency in communication and commission structures builds trust, contributing to a cohesive and successful sales team.

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