Motivating the Salesforce: in a Retail Sales Environment

Topics: Motivation, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Sales Pages: 14 (3815 words) Published: April 30, 2012
Table of Contents

Executive Summary3


Nature of Motivation5

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs6

Types of Motivation7

The Need For Motivators in the Retail Environment 10

Managerial Implications, and Suggestions13


Reference List17

Appendix One19

Executive Summary

- Motivating salespersons is one of the most important aspects of sales force management (Darmon 2004).

- The basis of motivation is simple. It can be easily understood through the behavioral concept of motivation, why does a person act as they do? The answer is that he or she is seeking, consciously or unconsciously, to fulfill some physiological or psychological need (Stanton & Spiro 1999).

- Motivation can come in two forms, intrinsic or extrinsic.

- Non-financial rewards come in the form of; promotion, a sense of accomplishment, personal growth opportunities, recognition/appraisal, job security, status, job satisfaction, enrichment and additional training (West, 1987; Stanton & Spiro 1999).

- Financial motivations that the sales manager must be aware of are; remuneration, commission, direct incentives, bonus payments and fringe benefits (West, 1987; Wilson, 1983; Stanton & Spiro 1999) .

- The importance of the front line sales assistants cannot be overemphasized in retail organizations where the bulk of the presentational effort is carried by the sales force (Wilson, 1983). It is the quality of the sales assistant in the case of retail sales that determine the success or demise of an organization in this field.

- Retail sales organizations tend to employ more non-financial motivators than financial. Seldom retail organizations do however employ minor levels of financial incentives or rewards, however it is the basic, satisfaction of basic human needs that are most frequently engaged.

- Suggestions for the future would be offering monetary incentives for the acquisition of large accounts, where by the sales assistants are able to use at their own accord on top of their hourly rate or set salary. This motivational theory is reinforced by a study by Yap, Bove & Beverland (2009) who found that compared to formal recognition programs, informal reward programs individual financial incentives to be more effective in motivating sales associates to enhance their in-role and extra-role performance.


Motivating salespersons is one of the most important aspects of sales force management (Darmon 2004). Front line sales assistants in the retail industry hold the success and growth of an organization in the palm of their hands. It is the front line sales assistants who retain the power to generate sales, help fuel organisational growth, and act as ambassadors for the brand in question. So it is without a doubt, organizations in the retail industry act in a way to retain, and motivate their sales force to attain above average returns, and exceed sales forecasted budgets. But what is it exactly that motivates these retail sales teams? Similar to corporate or industrial sales representatives, retail sales assistants work long hours, are familiar with the product, interact personally with their clients, as well as act as unofficial brand ambassadors. It is widely known and accepted that these sales associates do not receive a significant salary, nor do they receive commissions. In retail organizations, sales managers use mostly non-financial motivators and basic rewards to motivate their sales team. However in an economic climate where closing sales are becoming more difficult, and personal expenditure is decreasing, are these drivers enough to keep these sales assistants motivated? This report will attempt to uncover whether the current retail motivators are enough to retain talented sales associates, and what measures could be taken in the future.

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