How to Motivate a Sales Team To Sell High-Margin Products or Services

Shawn Russell

Motivated sales team putting their hands in a huddle

There’s one thing that most everyone in sales shares: a quota. And knowing how to motivate a sales team to reach that quota with high-margin products or services is imperative to success.

A quota is a monthly, quarterly or yearly number that needs to be met. Without one, your team and company will miss profitability goals.

A quota also means a lot of stress.

The best way to get out from under the crushing pressure of that stress? Sell.

However, there’s a downside: we’re all human. Why would you spend added time and effort to sell the tough stuff—the high-margin products—when you can squeak by with the softball, low-margin stuff?

That’s the path of least resistance. Consider this: you’re out for a hike with a friend and encounter a fork in the road.

One side leads you past a pack of hungry bears, over some treacherous terrain, and (after a 17-mile steep mountain climb) an incredible panoramic view. One side is a shortcut that bypasses all that and takes you to the end.

They both get you to the destination, but the path of most resistance offers the best reward. And it’s like that in sales as well.

Even if we have the best intentions of going for the gold and pushing the higher priced, harder to sell items, we tend to fall back on what we know is the easiest to sell and helps us meet our looming sales quotas.

It’s only human.

But, at the same time, humans have an intrinsic need to achieve. That’s the good news. There’s a way to get off the beaten path. By running an effective data-driven sales incentive program, you can increase revenue, sell more and achieve more.

Consider these ways to motivate your sales team to sell high-margin products.

Higher Risk, Higher Reward

Climb a small mountain, get a small reward. Climb Mount Everest, get a huge reward. It’s as simple as that.

The award should equal the work put into getting the award. You’re asking your sales team to step up their performance—so why aren’t you stepping up your awards?

Your workplace is shifting. New generations are coming into the sales force, each inspired by different things. It’s not enough to pick awards at random or rely on gift cards to get the job done.

And it’s not always about tangible items—incentive travel experiences can trigger great memories your sales team will talk about and remember for years to come.

Learn how we identify and balance the motivators that align your people using MotivologySM.

Crystal Clear Communication

If a tree falls in the woods, and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound?

If a sales incentive program runs, but no one knows it’s happening, does it make a difference?

Your sales incentive program doesn’t mean anything if your team doesn’t understand it or doesn’t know it exists. If the rules are too convoluted, or if your program communications consist of a flier tacked above the watercooler, you’re not generating the excitement you could.

So, what’s the best way of reaching your team? Well, there isn’t one way. It’s a combination.

A mixed-media approach—social media, email, print communication and more—reaches every generation of your sales team. Communication of the program needs to start at pre-launch phase, creating excitement and buzz around what’s to come, all the way through to the award phase, recognizing the achievements of your sales team.

Peer Recognition

Everyone wants to be celebrated—and sales people, who deal with people saying “no” to their face on a daily basis—thrive on public recognition. It’s a powerful thing to be the cause célèbre among your peers.

And research backs this up: a study from WorldatWork shows that public recognition coupled with individual, trophy-value incentive awards is the most effective way to motivate a sales team.

Not only are you rewarding sales team members for successfully changing their behavior, but also inspiring them to reach for next year’s goals.

Once your sales team is aligned with their personal goals and your organization’s overall mission, you’ll have an unstoppable, fully engaged team.

Assess and Revamp

So you’re rewarding people for meeting their goal. Great job!

Will next year be the same as this year? Chances are, no. If you set the bar as high as you did this year, next year’s incentive program will fail to inspire and motivate your sales team in the same way.

That’s where a strategic approach to sales incentives can help. When you assess your program year after year, you’re rewarding participants for successfully changing behavior, but also inspiring them to reach for next year, through an ambitious, yet attainable, goal.

Get to the heart of what motivates your sales team with a strategic incentive solution that generates stronger returns and maximizes your sales team’s potential.

Shawn Russell

Shawn Russell

Shawn Russell is a results-driven marketing and communications professional with a proven record of accomplishment in developing and leading comprehensive marketing strategies to attain business goals and objectives. She’s excited about exceeding expectations, building advocacy and driving business—but she’s just as passionate about being a soccer mom and baking.