The Effect of Sales Force Motivation on Productivity

The Effect of Sales Force Motivation on Productivity


Numerous definitions are given of the word motivation. Usually included in this definition are such words as – aim, drive, desire, motive, wishes, impulse, intention, objective and purpose. This word motivation comes from a Latin word “Moreve” which means to move (Rue and Byars 1977: 265).

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MOTIVATION: This is the combination of forces which direct and sustain an individual towards a goal. There are some theories of motivation propounded by sociologist and industrial psychologist. For example Mc Livegor’s theory X and Y which states precisely that human being are lazy and should be encouraged to work hard by giving them incentives. Also Addains approach to motivating factor and lack of it will reduce moral.

The importance of motivation includes Improvement of sales force performance and lower costs. Again performance appraisal is a motivating factor to the sales representative who knows the criteria for evaluation.  Any person who performs well can be praise and that raises morals and productivity, where as any person who fails to perform well will know before hand and will be willing to accept criticism when made without ceremony lecture notes, courses and assignment of Dr. Ojukwu, School of Business, Public administration and management I.M.T Enugu. Frederick Taylor propounded his own theory of motivation.


Some sales representatives well do their best without any training from management. To them selling is the most fascinating job in the world. They are ambitious and self starters (Kotler, 2001). But the majority of sales representative  require encouragement and special incentives to work on their best level.

The need for sales force cannot be over emphasized because of the significant role of the sales force in achievement of corporate objectives. Numerous definition are given by numerous authors as to sales force. To attract the desired number of sales forces the company has to develop an attractive compensation plans. The task of the manager is to consider the need of his team both individually and as a group and to arrange a balance of motivational influences that will encourage them to achieve the done by ensuring that the individual own goals in life consistent with the aim of the firm.

Example: the company should not emphasize security as its major offer for workers satisfaction where the workers would instead prefer money.

The sales force is the total umber of staff or personnel employed by the organization to achieve the set objectives of the organization. (Koontz and Weighrich (1999:24).

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A good sale person is a strong measure of integrity and also a valuable source of information for the problem-solving buyer who needs to make an informed purchase decision creative selling tasks requires more persuasive initiative and considerable knowledge on the part of the sales person.

For sales force to offer the best to an organization, the manger must be ready to motivate them with health and sound incentives eg.

  • Remuneration of the sales force must be very encouraging.
  • Promotion- the sales force should be given promotion when and as at when due to feel that they are being remembered and that the impact of their effort is being felt sense of belongness is created as well.
  • Security: The sales force must feel that this job is highly secured to allow him rest in mind job satisfaction.
  • Status:- Training, allowances etc go a long way to help increase in productivity of the sales force. Fringe benefits on the other hand, represent an extra income, additional security and always satisfy those employee needs that are not satisfied by wages and thus help in promoting moral (Bagozzi and Richard 1988)


Researchers all over the world has come to realize that sales force motivation is the only way out for increase in productivity.

Productivity according Okafor (198:3) is the output of the resources (land, Labour, capital, entrepreneur, technology) involve during production process.

Productivity of any company can be attain when and why when sales force effort is being recognized and appraised or motivated accordingly. When this effort of the workers are being recognize workers can now improve or increase their effort which can enhance productivity and finally result to general profitability of the company in question.


Strategies imply broad and other all direction for the planning and operation of a business or other kinds of enterprise strategies could be major, minor, derivative or supporting. Authors use strategies and policies interchangeably (for example Koontz and Kotler).

According to Adirika (199) marketing strategy is a set of determinations that guides or direct the managers of an enterprise to reach their desired long-term market positions comprises of the objectives that are sought and the strategic ideas (or strategies) that are to accomplish it. Hence we often hear the marketers talking of adopting marketing strategies as policies that guide for the attainment of the marketing goals.

Marketing strategies include developing a new product, modifying an existing brand, innovation, phasing out or phasing down, altering beliefs about the companies brand and so on. We can make policies out of these strategies like “ developing a new brand only when the existing ones have attained maturity stage in a territory”.

In formulating marketing strategies, the various marketing concept should be borne in mind. They include the production, product and societal marketing approaches or concepts. They help in tailoring the strategies toward the goals sought.

From a marketing point of view, marketing concept which is consumer oriented should be adopted if the company’s objectives is to satisfy the consumer at a profit.

David W. Mmer and Mantin K. Starr aptly put it this way “strategies are based upon the resources under the managers control.


The job of establishing sales force objective is not an easy task. To be a good setter, the sales manager must have been a salesman for some time or undertaken sales training to acquire selling experience to enable him know what to look. For in a salesman for instance selling attributes and organization accredibility.

Sales objective refer to broad duties of sales people (sales manager inclusive). Sales tasks refers to a breakdown of these duties into specific Units. E.g the sales force objectives may be to increase sates volume, increase market share and also to increase profit while the task include the following prospecting, communicating information to the home office, servicing and rendering technical assistance etc.

The man and major objective of a sales force is identify your customer need and satisfy them profitably. A good sales person is a strong measure of integrity and also a valuable source of information for problem solving buyers who need to make an informed purchase decision creative selling tasks require persuasive initiative and considerable knowledge on the part of sale person.


The sates manager should also determine whether formal training is required or not, time spent, whether aggressively or submissively strength and stain needed

All this information are necessary because if neglected the company may find out that they have trained personnel who will get dissatisfied with the job and resulting in heavy financial loss as well as time expenditure on the company.

The sources of recruitment vary widely depending on the type of job to be done and people wanted. For satisfactory return on any investment made by a company, the sales training programme should be tailored company objectives and marketing strategy. Sales training involves imparting information, developing skills and shaping work habits to maximize a sale effectiveness (Jolson) its objectives are to increase productivity and improve sales force market. An important function of the training programme is to give sate reps extensive knowledge of both. The duration of sales training also counts. It last from few days to years depending on the products. The training should be correlated to task expected to be performed by the sales person and the level of education. There is some agreement between some authors as to what should be included in sales training programme. M.T. Wilson and Philip Kotler agreed that variation is expected in forms and industries as it effect product and company’s knowledge.

They include marketing concept, nature of salesmanship, communication, prospecting, preapproach, approach, opening the sales, demonstrating, the product handling objection and closing the sales.

(Mr. W.J. Dabnymple etal. Marketing Management 4th Edition 1980 p.165).


Compensation can be described as a reward for labour consuming activity engaged in by a particular individual. There are four basic elements in sales force compensation. These are:-

(a)     Payment of a fixed sum of money as salary, a variable amount as commission, bond, profit sharing, expense allowance etc. Expense, of course, cannot be regarded as remuneration because they are only repayment of money spent by the salesman in the cause of his duties expenses may also include pay, vocation, sickness or accident benefit, pension, life insurance. Compensation should be with fixed and 60% variable in order to be both compensatory and motivating.

The importance of compensation include higher productivity from the sales force. It afford management the opportunity to control sales force activities, creates good will of the company if adequately administered by not encouraging over zealousness among the sales force as well as adequately rewarding abnormal workers. Compensation can be financial or non financial. As stated by Mr. F.E. Okorie and Mr. A.U. Ohiri high salary does not necessary ensure that a person is not fairly treated nor does it guarantee that his desire for self-fulfillment will be satisfied.

Motivation of sales force is aimed at stimulating the sales force to perform to their maximum capacity. There are some theories of motivation propounded by sociologists and industrial psychologists e.g Mc Gregor’s theory X and Y which states precisely that human beings are Lazy and should be encouraged to increase their effort by giving the incentives. Also Dr. John Adams approach to motivation believes that need fulfillment is a motivating factor an lack of it kills morals.

In addition, the research is of the viewed that, other incentives which can explore workers include such things as adequate supervision, Field visits, seminar and symposia.

Mc welland (1961) identifies power, affiliation, achievement and competence as motivating forces. Power is a drive to do good quality work (Graham 1982). He noted that an inner drive and sense of responsibility were the factors that made workers to perform. These needs must achieve optimum productivity.

Mc Cleuand’s theory have been widely applied by managers and it’s found workable and its application in the factories have gone a long way in increasing productivity in the organization.

According to (Albers: 1974). An organization cannot long survive if it fails to satisfy the personal motives of those who contribute resources. Every manager must be concern with two major organisational demands.

  1. Maximum quality production from the staff assigned to the manager and
  2. Maximum individuals job satisfaction for the staff assigned to the manager (Leshie :1974).

Striking a balance between the above two task bring about higher productivity and effective motivation.

To attract the desired number of sales force the company has to develop an attractive compensation plan, these are some motivational influences that the sales manager must fully understand.

  1. Remuneration
  2. Direct incentives
  3. Job satisfaction
  4. Security and
  5. Status.


Sales personnel has been known as the pivot in attempting corporate goals. Therefore in order to achieve this objectives, it is necessary to give the sales forces adequate motivation or incentives to increase their morals.

This is because it has been known that increase moral will lead to increase job satisfaction and this will as well contribute to increase in total production of their commodities.

Motivating sales force is for the benefit of the company. This is because when sales force are adequately motivated, they tend to take such company job to be their individual companies they try as much as possible to give in their best.

The benefits derive from motivating sales force include:-

  • Increase productivity or the company’s total output.
  • Better condition of services tend to increase employees, employer relationship thereby creating a good labour relationship which is to the benefit of the company as a whole.
  • It reduces tension on the side of the sales force because they are known that there are better times ahead under the umbrella of such companies employment. As well, the set target tends to be reached.
  • Fraudulent acts on sales force tends to be reduced. This is because the sales force tends to be committed with their jobs.


Performance evaluation is an analytical device or tool used by the sales manger to identify the performance standard of the sales people in achieving the set target and applying corrective devices to remove the obstacles that are paramount in achieving the set goals. It also seeks ways and means of increasing the present goals performance.

The importance of performance evaluation includes improvement of sales performance and lower cost. This is because the actual sales accompanied to the cost incurred in achieving it and management can study the cost curve of sales man with the highest sales and lowest cost and incorporate it into the training programmes for other sales people to emulate.

Secondly, it can serve as a base for promotion and pay increase rather than favoritism and subjective observation.

Performance appraisal is a motivating factor to the sales representatives who know the criteria for evaluation. Any person who performs well can be praised and that raises moral and productivity, whereas any person who does not meet the set standard will know before hand and will be willing to accept criticism when made without acrimony. It helps the sales force discover their own strength and weakness and enables themselves as other see them.

Supervision can be described as the expression of an employers concern and interest in the activities of their agents or employees. Supervision differs from company to company and also depends on the nature of the sales job and compensation plan. Supervision assists the salesmen to justify the time available to them. He uses the time available effectively by making good decision as to which customer and prospect to spend the time on and efficiently by being able to plan his call tone so as to maximize the ratio of selling to non- selling time. Sales representatives should be good “Time managers. A close look at Emenite Ltd. Reveals that the sales force thought a considerable minimal amount of initials training is given to them before sending them to the field and are left on their own to do them been afraid to enter the big offices where their prospects can be found.

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