Sales Management Blog

Sales management tips and advice on how to improve your sales team.

Motivation Alone Will NOT Predict Sales Success

Posted by Gretchen Gordon on Thu, Jan 02, 2014 @01:28 PM

Motivation for Sales Growth

In my last article, I wrote about the fact that it is the manager’s job to help motivate their employees.  But, I do not want any misunderstanding.  Just because a person is motivated, or even highly motivated, does not indicate that they will actually be a successful salesperson.  For instance, I know of company owners who believe that if they just hire athletes, whom they deem to be highly motivated (and competitive) they will magically have success.  Oh, if it were just that easy.  Unfortunately, there are so many factors that go into predicting success with a salesperson that motivation alone will not predict success. 

I was curious about the role that motivation actually does play in sales success so I did some research.  As you may know I use the Objective Management Group battery of sales assessments because they are the #1 rated sales assessment for the past three years and the assessment has a motivation finding.  I reviewed the assessments of 339 candidates that took the assessment for one particular client to see how many of them were motivated but were unlikely to succeed in the sales role for which they were applying.  Of the 339 candidates, 156 were NOT RECOMMENDED for hire for a variety of reasons.  Of those 156 all but 2 were motivated.  And remember this particular assessment has a 95% predictive validity rating.  This indicates to me that motivation alone will not predict success.  The candidates that were not recommended for hire had the following main reasons they would not do well.

  • 100 of the candidates had too many weaknesses to be successful in the role – their weaknesses would have neutralized their strengths and sales skills 
  • 66 of the candidates were not committed to doing whatever necessary, within ethical boundaries, to be successful 
  • 21 of the candidates actually didn’t really have the desire to be successful as a salesperson 

Obviously, some of the candidates fell into multiple groups described above.  So, the lesson is that if we ONLY rely on motivation as a guide to hiring salespeople, we will be disappointed.  They will be disappointed and we won’t get the results we desire.  I would suggest that you downplay the role of motivation in your hiring decisions.  Motivation should just be a requirement, then take a closer look at the other factors that play into a salesperson’s success or failure.  

Click here if you want to see a sample of the type of report we get on candidates that was used in this analysis.

You May Also Want To See Our Case Study On Motivation for More Tips:

 Case Study: How to Motivate Without Bonuses

© Copyright Gretchen Gordon All Rights Reserved

Tags: Sales Management, Sales Performance, Sales Growth, For CEOs, By Gretchen Gordon

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