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What Motivates Software Sales Professionals?



As we move further into 2022, many software sales professionals and managers are hoping this year to surpass their performance from the previous years and hit their bonuses. If you are a sales manager, there’s a greater chance you’ve pondered the question we’re looking at today. But if you’re a sales rep or account manager, you may have also pondered what it all means. What motivates software sales professionals? The answer is not that much different than the things that motivate most everybody in their professional life.


Money


Money can’t buy you love (as The Beatles sang) but it can buy you lots of other stuff that makes life easier and more enjoyable. Compensation plans and bonuses are an important part of attracting and retaining top sales talent, especially in competitive climates. However, the competitive nature of today’s software industry and the big paychecks that come with it are actually a double-edged sword when it comes to the motivational power of money. Salespeople today want to feel purposeful in their work; they want to work for a company with a good work-life balance and positive company culture.


Success


People with a competitive drive are naturally drawn to sales. They love to hit goals and pass them, which is perfect for the sales environment. Sales is not like other professions where compensation is given at a set rate; in order to maintain their professional path, a salesperson needs to hit their goals or they can lose their job. This means that the internal motivator of attaining success is prevalent in software sales professionals. These types of sales professionals may transition into managerial roles, just like a star athlete who transitions into coaching. Until then, the thrill of the chase keeps them going.


Purpose


Today’s professionals in all industries—software sales included—want to feel a sense of purpose to their work. Of course, everybody wants to feel that their work is meaningful, because otherwise they begin to lose steam for the job. But in times past members of the workforce were more willing to just show up to work, claim their paycheck, and find meaning outside of the office. Today, younger generations want to work with a purpose…and that includes software sales professionals. Purpose is a great internal motivator because it can carry sales professionals through times when other motivators like success or money are low. One way that selling becomes purposeful for software sales professionals is if they strongly believe in the positive impact that their solution brings, whether it’s in banking, healthcare, or any other industry.


Validation


Money, success, and fame are an often cited trio encapsulating what motivates most people. While it’s true that at one point you may have wanted to be a celebrity or rockstar, for most people these delusions of grandeur subside into the subconscious, only to resurface at karaoke night. But most people still crave recognition for their performance, and software sales professionals are no different. Awards and accolades are motivating factors, and not only that, they are useful bullet points on a resume. When success is acknowledged in meetings and internal communications (like emails) it can go a long way toward motivating a sales team.


Growth


Some spiritual seekers are motivated by that internal process called growth. They love to learn about new things, meet new people, and expand their consciousness with new ideas. These types of individuals can be successful in the realm of software sales because it will help them get inquisitive about a potential client, leading to more in-depth discussions and more deals closed. These types of software sales professionals often seek mentorship at work, read sales books, and look for every opportunity to grow professionally.


So what motivates you?


We’ve explored a number of factors that motivate sales professionals, but the bottom line is that the answer is more nuanced than that. In fact, it depends in large part on age. In fact, some studies on sales professionals (albeit not exclusive to software) have found that motivators actually shift as people age. Motivational drives will also depend on circumstances outside of yourself, such as whether or not you have dependents to support, in which case (for instance) money may be a more substantial factor than the thrill of the chase.


Unfortunately, motivation is hard to keep consistently up in the workforce. Some studies (not exclusive to sales) have shown that only 15% of employees feel truly engaged, and as many as 81% are actively entertaining the idea of finding a better workplace (for whatever reason). There are a few ways to look at these statistics. As someone looking to build lasting teams of professionals who excel and stick around, these numbers might motivate you to change how you manage your talent. And as an account manager or sales rep, it might make you consider that something more motivating is out there for you.


Whatever side of the coin you’re on, I can help you out. As a software sales recruiter for over three decades, I have a strong foundation of company connections and a deep pool of excellent, pre-vetted talent. Get in touch with me today by emailing mike@michaelblair.com and let’s discuss what motivates you, or what kind of motivated individuals you’re seeking.

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