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Chapter 10

Motivating the Sales Force


Sales Management:
A Global Perspective
Earl D. Honeycutt
John B. Ford
Antonis Simintiras
Chapter 10
Motivating the Sales Force
Learning Objectives

Define motivation;
Understand the complexity of motivation;
Explain the main theories of motivation;
Understand the impact of cultural differences on motivation;
Explain various tools available for motivating the global sales
force; and
Discuss the relationship between motivation and job satisfaction.
Chapter 10: Motivating the Sales Force

What is motivation?

Motivation is the inner force that guides behavior and is


concerned with the causation of specific actions.

Motivation is a three-dimensional construct consisting of the


following:

Intensity or the magnitude of mental activity and physical


effort expended towards a certain action;
Persistence or the extension of the mental activity and
physical effort over time; and
Direction or the choice of specific actions in specific
circumstances.
Chapter 10: Motivating the Sales Force

Understanding motivation

Motivation should be understood at two levels:

What motivates salespeople How salespeople choose their action


(the reasons behind the intensity (the direction or decision to engage in
and persistence of mental and specific actions in specific
physical effort expended) circumstances)
Chapter 10: Motivating the Sales Force

Motivational theories addressing the issue:


“what” motivates salespeople
Need Hierarchy Theory
Self-actualisation
needs
Esteem needs

Belongingness needs

Security needs

Physiological needs

Physiological needs (e.g., basic salary); security needs (e.g., pension plan); belongingness
needs (e.g., friends in work group); esteem needs (e.g., job title); self actualisation needs
(e.g., challenging job).
Source: Maslow, 1943)
Chapter 10: Motivating the Sales Force
Motivational theories addressing the issue:
“what motivates salespeople”
Two Factor Theory

Motivation factors (e.g., achievement, recognition, responsibility)


Hygiene factors (e.g., supervision, pay, job security, working
conditions)

The theory argues that:

The motivation factors or motivators are the primary causes of


motivation and address the question “why work harder”;

The hygiene factors are necessary conditions to achieve a state of


neutrality and address the question “why work here”.
Chapter 10: Motivating the Sales Force

Motivational theories addressing the issue:


“what motivates salespeople”
ERG Theory

Existence (E) Relatedness (R) and Growth (G) needs are structured
in a hierarchical order. The theory postulates that:

a) The lower the level of satisfaction in a need the more it will be


desired;
b) The higher the satisfaction in a lower level need, the greater the
desire to satisfy a higher level need; and
c) The lower the satisfaction in a higher level need the greater the
desire for satisfying lower level needs.
Chapter 10: Motivating the Sales Force

Motivational theories addressing the issue:


“what motivates salespeople”

Discussion Question

What are the limitations (if any) of the content theories of


motivation when applied to different cultural settings?

Provide examples to justify your answer.


Chapter 10: Motivating the Sales Force
Motivational theories addressing the issue:
“how do salespeople choose their actions?”
Equity Theory

Equity (inequity) is defined as the belief that one is treated fairly


(unfairly) in relation to others.

A salesperson’s choice of effort to be expended is a result of a


comparison between his output-input ratio and the output-input ratios
of others.
Output of A (e.g., pay, recognition) Output of B (e.g., pay, recognition)
Input of A (e.g., effort, loyalty) Input of A (e.g., effort, loyalty)

A salesperson who perceives to be inequitably treated can change


his input, output, alter the perceptions of self and/or others, change
comparisons or leave the situation.
Chapter 10: Motivating the Sales Force
Motivational theories addressing the issue:
“how do salespeople choose their actions?”
Expectancy Theory

Motivation is a function of a salesperson’s anticipation that a particular


behaviour will lead to outcomes that s/he values.

Motivation = function of (Expectancy x Instrumentality x Valence)

Expectancy is the salesperson’s perception that a certain amount of


effort will lead to successful performance (e.g., Can I do it?)
Instrumentality refers to salesperson’s perception of the probability that
performance will lead to certain outcomes or rewards
(e.g., What do I get for doing it?)
Valence is the perceived attractiveness or unattractiveness of an
outcome or reward (e.g., How much do I value the reward?)
Chapter 10: Motivating the Sales Force
Motivational theories addressing the issue:
“how do salespeople choose their actions?”
Attribution Theory

Attribution theory is concerned with the “why” question.

Since different behaviors can be attributed to different factors


salespeople try to attribute success or failure as the outcome of their
behavior to some causes by posing the question “why did this happen?”

Taxonomy of causes:
Locus of control dimension (causes that are within [internal] or
outside [external] the individual);
Stability dimension (causes that are stable or unstable)
Control dimension (causes that are controllable or uncontrollable)
Chapter 10: Motivating the Sales Force
Motivational theories addressing the issue:
“how do salespeople choose their actions?”
Goal Setting Theory

Motivated behavior is the result of conscious goals and intentions.

The theory starts from the point that a salesperson has determined to
engage in an activity and argues that a person’s inclination to act in
a particular way is influenced by the:
Anticipated result (goal);
Intention (will), which implies:
Effort (will-act); and
Strategy to reach the goal (object oriented content).
Goal difficulty and goal specificity are two important aspects that
shape performance.
Chapter 10: Motivating the Sales Force

Motivational theories addressing the issue:


“how do salespeople choose their actions?”

Discussion Question

What are the limitations (if any) of the process theories of


motivation when applied to different cultural settings?

Provide examples to justify your answer.


Chapter 10: Motivating the Sales Force
Motivational theories offering alternative explanations
Reinforcement Theory

The theory suggests that behavior is a function of its consequences


and explains how the consequences of past action influence future
action in a cyclical manner.

For example, if a particular behavior leads to a rewarding


consequence the same behavior is likely to be repeated.

Stimulus Response Consequence

The stimulus triggers a response (behavior) and the consequences


of that response (behavior) determine whether the same response
(behavior) will or will not be repeated.
Chapter 10: Motivating the Sales Force
Motivating the Global Sales Force
Cultural differences and motivation

Cultures differ on at least six bipolar dimensions:

Universalism (e.g., rules, laws) Particularism (e.g., exceptions, unique relations)

Individualism (e.g., competitiveness) Communitarianism (e.g., cooperation)

Specificity (e.g., atomistic) Diffusion (e.g., holistic)

Achieved status (e.g., what you have done) Ascribed status (e.g., who you are)

Inner direction (e.g., conscience is located inside) Outer directed (e.g., examples are located outside)

Sequential time (e.g., time is a race) Synchronous time (e.g., time is a dance)

(Hampden-Turner and Trompenaars, 2000)


Using examples, explain how differences in values as above might
complicate the task of motivating a global sales force.
Chapter 10: Motivating the Sales Force
Motivating the Global Sales Force
Salespeople are motivated by different needs.

Need for status (e.g., need for recognition and promotion)

Need for control (e.g., need to be in control and influence others)

Need for respect (e.g., need to be seen as experts who can give advice)

Need for routine (e.g., need to follow a routine that must not be interrupted)

Need for accomplishment (e.g., need more money and challenges)

Need for stimulation (e.g., need to seek outside stimulation and challenges)

Need for honesty (e.g.,need to believe in the rightness of their practices)

(Smyth and Murphy, 1969)


Chapter 10: Motivating the Sales Force

Motivating the Global Sales Force


Motivational tools

Motivational tools should satisfy at least two criteria.


a) Should generate extra effort that will help the company to achieve
its objectives , and
b) Must increase job satisfaction among salespeople.
Motivational tools include, but are not limited to:
Sales meetings;
Incentive programs (e.g., sales contests and competitions)
Recognition programs (e.g., praise, promotion, extra responsibilities)
Chapter 10: Motivating the Sales Force
Motivating the Global Sales Force
Motivation, job satisfaction, and performance

Job satisfaction refers to all characteristics of the job itself and the
work environment which salespeople find rewarding, fulfilling, and
satisfying.

Job satisfaction can be felt by anticipating a desired outcome, or


by accomplishing a certain level of performance and/or receiving a
reward.

Job satisfaction, motivation and performance are closely related.


It is important to remember that global salespeople may be satisfied
by different outcomes and rewards.
Chapter 10: Motivating the Sales Force

Summary

Motivation is an inner force that drives and directs behavior.

Motivation theories answer questions pertaining to what motivates


salespeople and how salespeople choose their actions.

The three groupings of motivational theories discussed in this chapter


are: Content, Process and Reinforcement.

Culture influences motivation through its influence on salespeople’s


values, attitudes and norms.

Sales managers have a range of motivational tools at their disposal.


Cultural differences among salespeople should be taken into
consideration when designing a motivational program.

Motivation, job satisfaction and performance are inextricably


related.