Sales force stuck in a rut?
Top women managers tell how attention to individuals builds a more productive team
By Tiffany Meyers | February 2008
When it comes to motivating talent, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy. But in sales – which teems with naturally driven, highly independent professionals – the value of a customized approach redoubles. “Everything you do in terms of recognition and reinforcement needs to be meaningful to the individual,” says Jill Eichwald, sales effectiveness consultant at Maritz Inc., a sales and marketing services company.
When Maritz conducted a national study on employees’ favorite rewards, results showed that each of six employee types – described and organized according to what they find inspirational, from praise to bonuses – split rather evenly across gender lines. “We were amazed to learn that from a gender standpoint, there’s not a lot of difference,” says Jane Herod, president of Maritz Motivation, a division of Maritz Inc. It’s further proof, she adds, that recognition programs need to be individually customized.
While motivation incentives appear to be gender-neutral, many of the qualities of effective sales managers – who have to light a fire under each seller and cultivate collaboration among competitive types – seem to come more naturally to women. Experts point to the attributes of empathy, consensus-building and intuition more often exhibited by women managers – which are precisely the qualities that result in several best practices in sales motivation.