Key motivational theories and how they relate to motivating a sales force
Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory
The first theory that will be discussed here is that of Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory. This theory contains five criteria that are important in helping a salesperson to reach the goal of self-actualization or the full development of the salesperson’s abilities (Ramlall, 2004). According to Ramlall (2004), if the employer is able to provide for physiological, security, affiliation, and esteem needs of the employee, this will allow the individual to aspire to self-actualization through training as well as challenges and the opportunity to use one’s creativity. In fact, Zhang and Bartol (2010) state that encouraging creativity in employees is a motivating factor that leads employees to organizational innovation, effectiveness, and survival. What this means for the sales force is that salespeople are likely to be more productive as long as they are able to use their personal skills to engage themselves with the organization and to move the organization forward by using abilities such as their creativity.
McClelland’s Need Theory
Another theory is that of McClleland’s Need Theory, which states that there are three needs that exist in many members of society, which include the need for achievement, affiliation, and power (Ramlall, 2004). The need for achievement is an excellent trait for a salesperson to have, and this need will have a strong motivational effect on the sales representative that has a healthy dose of this need as part of his character. Another factor associated with this theory is, as described above, the need for affiliation. This need will motivate salespeople to develop strong social relationships with customers and fellow salespeople that can lead to increased sales as well as increased motivation to work as part of a team. The third need is that of power. If this need results in a desire top influence, teach or encourage others, it can also be a strong motivating factor for salespeople.
The next theory that will be discussed with regard to its effect on motivation of salespeople is that of the Equity Theory. The Equity Theory states that employees compare the rewards that they receive to those received by others including salary and other rewards (Ramlall, 2004). This method of motivation of a sales force may lead to salespeople that are more motivated in the short run due to the fact that they have uncovered an inequity. This may not be the most productive method of motivating salespeople in the long run, however, and may lead to salespeople that resign from the organization due to what they see as unfair compensation practices. It appears that it would be better to start all of the new salespeople at the same compensation level and then reward high achievers through a bonus plan. This bonus plan should be created so that everyone is eligible for the same type of bonus if they meet a goal that...