Motivation is the process or the act of stimulating human beings to work towards the attainment of a specific objective. Normally, human beings will only work when they have an urge or need to fulfil, or when they are after gaining something. Usually, people will work for money. However, it is important to note that money is not the only factor that can help in increasing the productivity of employees (Rynes, Gerhart, & Minette, 2004).
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Sales force motivation is the process of making the organizational sales team to become more effective and aggressive. It involves establishing direction for the team, influencing its intensity, as well as persistence (Anderson, Babin, & Mehta, 2008).
The sales team is normally subjected to enormous pressure due to the nature of the work the team does. For instance, the market conditions are highly unpredictable, yet the team is expected to be productive.
There are four stages that were formulated by Cron in 1984 describing the career path of a salesperson. The stages are: exploration, establishment, maintenance, and disengagement (Purohit, 2010). Behaviour motivation was one of the dimensions that were used to describe the stages. Managers can motivate a salesperson by focusing on the current career stage.
For instance, the salesperson can be motivated by providing peer acceptance in the company during the exploration stage because it is a self-discovery stage. The salesperson is concerned with stability and security in the establishment stage, thus promoting the salesperson is a great source of motivation.
Increasing medical benefits and salary increments can be used in the maintenance stage because the salesperson is concerned with body changes related to aging, as well as the challenge of staying motivated and productive. The disengagement stage is similar to the retirement period (Purohit, 2010).
Reassuring the salesperson better retirement benefits is one way of keeping them motivated at this stage.
Several theorists in the field of management have often re-visited the issue of employees’ remuneration. In addressing the case of a salesperson’s productivity, this essay will focus on the Maslow hierarchy of needs, equity theory, expectancy theory, as well as organizational behaviour modification to support the view that money is not enough to motivate an employee or improve the productivity of the employee.
It will also focus on the intrinsic and the extrinsic rewards that can be effective in motivating the sales team (Suciu, Mortan, & Lazar, 2013).
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory that was developed by Abraham Maslow in the 20th century (Dye, Mills, & Weatherbee, 2005). It is important to note that in economics, one of the characteristics of human needs is that they are recurrent and they cannot be fully satiable. When a person fulfils one need, they develop another need that makes them work towards fulfilling it.
Maslow brought up the idea that human beings will always work to fulfil their needs. The needs are in a hierarchy, ranging from the lowest to the highest. Maslow used the following terms to describe the human needs: physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self actualization. Human motivation will be influenced by these factors. Man will first want to achieve the most basic needs before moving up to the next level.
It is notable in the Maslow’s theory that money is not part of human motivators. Instead, the actions of human beings are motivated by the urge to attain specific needs. For a salesperson, increasing the salary of the salesperson may not necessarily increase their productivity.
It is, therefore, important that the management understands the needs of the organization’s salespeople before taking any motivational action (Maddock & Fulton, 1996). It is imperative to note that it is not worth improving their salaries if they will not bring more responsive sales to the organization.
In fact, increasing the salesperson’s salary yet they do not improve their productivity will be an expense to the organization. The organizational management should, therefore, ensure that its salespeople have their needs in accordance with the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
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In addition, fair treatment is also an important motivating factor that the management should address before contemplating to increase the sales team’s salaries. As stipulated by John Stacey Adams in the equity theory, employees seek to be treated fairly in that their input into the organization should be matched with the outcome they get, as well as the outcome perceived to be received by others (Disley, Hatton, & Dagnan, 2009).
For instance, if a salesperson brings a big business to the organization, then they expect that their salary or their treatment to be fair in line with their efforts. People will always compare themselves with the other co-workers. Their job satisfaction will be highly influenced by the level of equity with which they are treated.
Therefore, the ratio of the salespeople’s input to the ratio of their output should be equated with whatever those around them receive. They should also be remunerated depending on the level of their training and experience. As such, a senior salesperson is likely to receive a higher remuneration compared to a junior salesperson.
This should be an acceptable norm and should be a practice embraced by the organization’s management. It goes a long way in motivating the salespeople since they are guaranteed that their efforts will be rewarded fairly.
According to the expectancy theory, people are motivated to behave in a certain way based on their expectations from that behaviour. This theory was coined by Victor Vroom in the year 1964 (Suciu, Mortan, & Lazar, 2013). He emphasized the need to relate rewards with the level of performance.
He also underlined the fact that the rewards offered should be deserved and expected by the employees. In the case of a salesperson, they will choose to step up their aggression based on the rewards they expect to get in the end.
Each person has their desired outcomes. In essence, their desired outcome will act as a major factor to their motivation. For instance, a salesperson, like any other employee, has a desired salary or remuneration. They expect to get a certain amount if they input a given level of efforts. If the organization is to guarantee this desire, then it will act as a significant motivator to the salesperson.
It is important to note that the cognitive aspect of this theory is equally important (Trafimow et al., 2011). One has to think through all the relevant motivation elements before making a decision on how to behave. As such, the outcome or the expectation from their behaviour should not be thought as the only factor that influences the way an individual chooses to behave.
There are other theories such as the attribution theory and the goal setting theory that can be used as motivators for the sales team. In the latter, the organization sets goals for the employees. The employees may be given a time frame within which they are expected to achieve the goals. The remuneration and the recognition they receive will be on the basis of the goal set for them.
The salesperson will, therefore, be motivated to work towards achieving this goal. The salesperson will also be aware of the reward they will get in the end. Attribution theory, on the other hand, is concerned with how an individual relates meanings to events and how this influences their thinking and behaviour.
It suggests that an individual will always determine the reasons why other people behave in a certain way and will attribute that behaviour to a certain cause of action. The two major attributions are internal and external attributions (Trafimow et al., 2011). This could be a motivator in that the salesperson will behave according to their interpretation of the situations around.
Finally, the extrinsic and intrinsic rewards could be other motivating factors on top of, or besides salary increase. Every employee is expected to be appreciated not only through salaries, but also through rewarding with non- monetary gains. The two common types of rewards are the extrinsic rewards and the intrinsic rewards. Extrinsic rewards are usually rewards that are tangible.
A good example is money. On the other hand, intrinsic rewards are intangible and are usually a sense of satisfaction by the employee after they have achieved a given goal (Wiersma, 2002). The salesperson should be rewarded with extrinsic rewards after achieving their intrinsic satisfaction.
It is important to note that none of the known motivation theories can exhaustively be ultimate for the organization. Therefore, it is the duty of the management to find the best theory or integrate the available theories to come up with the most satisfying blends to achieve maximum employees’ satisfaction.
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