For Subscribers

What's the Hook?

If you find the right bait, you'll keep your salespeople motivated--and selling.

By Kimberly L. McCall

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Before becoming an entrepreneur, I supervised a sales team thatwas responsible for supporting clients with clout, mostly Fortune500 types. After months on end of murderous 70-hour workweeks whilemanaging a staff that just about Caine Mutiny'd me during areorganization, I was publicly rewarded with a faux gold medal thatwas inscribed with my name. Instead of being a rose-colored careerhighlight, the occasion was actually quite the opposite. The wholeexperience played out like a Fox special: "When Well-MeaningIncentive Programs Go Bad." I quit soon after.

Incentive programs can be tricky beasts. What motivates onesalesperson may completely discourage another. Consider the allureof cash. I appreciate a cash bonus and suffer no hangups about thelack of thought on the part of the giver. Beats a cheese wheel, andthe fit is always just right. But monetary awards, which you'dthink would be a powerful catalyst and inspiration for a salesteam, have both supporters and detractors. Proponent Rashid Khan,founder and CEO of Ultimus, a technology business in Cary, NorthCarolina, says, "If your salesperson isn't motivated bymoney, you have the wrong salesperson."

Continue reading this article — and all of our other premium content with Entrepreneur+

For just $5, you can get unlimited access to all Entrepreneur’s premium content. You’ll find:

  • Digestible insight on how to be a better entrepreneur and leader
  • Lessons for starting and growing a business from our expert network of CEOs and founders
  • Meaningful content to help you make sharper decisions
  • Business and life hacks to help you stay ahead of the curve

Editor's Pick

Everyone Wants to Get Close to Their Favorite Artist. Here's the Technology Making It a Reality — But Better.
The Highest-Paid, Highest-Profile People in Every Field Know This Communication Strategy
After Early Rejection From Publishers, This Author Self-Published Her Book and Sold More Than 500,000 Copies. Here's How She Did It.
Having Trouble Speaking Up in Meetings? Try This Strategy.
He Names Brands for Amazon, Meta and Forever 21, and Says This Is the Big Blank Space in the Naming Game
Business News

These Are the Most and Least Affordable Places to Retire in The U.S.

The Northeast and West Coast are the least affordable, while areas in the Mountain State region tend to be ideal for retirees on a budget.

Thought Leaders

The Collapse of Credit Suisse: A Cautionary Tale of Resistance to Hybrid Work

This cautionary tale serves as a reminder for business leaders to adapt to the changing world of work and prioritize their workforce's needs and preferences.

Business Solutions

Learn to Build a ChatGPT Bot for Only $30

If you want to see what AI can do for your business, grab this course bundle today.

Data & Recovery

If You Have a Business, You Have Passwords to Manage

How a password management system is crucial for entrepreneurs.

Business News

'I Don't Feel Like It's Unreasonable': A-List Actor Refused Service At Hotspot For Not Following Dress Code

Academy Award-winning actor Russell Crowe had quite the afternoon after trying to stop at a Japanese steakhouse in Melbourne, Australia following a game of tennis.

Business News

I Live on a Cruise Ship for Half of the Year. Look Inside My 336-Square-Foot Cabin with Wraparound Balcony.

I live on a cruise ship with my husband, who works on it, for six months out of the year. Life at "home" can be tight. Here's what it's really like living on a cruise ship.