Your solution sales force might not be motivated by cash, but will certainly be demotivated by the lack of it

It’s common practice to pay sales people by results. Product sales people are largely motivated by money and ego – the promise of financial rewards and recognition for what they have achieved.

A good solution sales person tries to suit the requirements of the individual customer, and will be inclined to focus on customer satisfaction rather than making the biggest sale.

This type of sales person is generally motivated by feeling valued and appreciated for solving a clients’ problems efficiently and effectively.

Solution sales take time and effort. Time to build customer trust, and effort to understand the customers’ needs. Some sales may take months or years to complete, and even if the sale is eventually lost, the trust built up during the sales process often adds value to the company.

I regularly follow the recruitment ads in the broadcast technology trade press, and I have noticed that basic pay rates for sales people have been falling steadily over recent years, with a shift towards bonus or commission schemes that are presumably revenue based.

This might work for product sales people, but can be very counter productive in a solution sales environment. Solution sales people need to feel valued, by their customers and their employers.

Solution sales people may not be motivated by money. But if they feel under-appreciated, they are likely to vote with their feet. Given that it takes time to train staff on the products, systems or services that are sold as solutions, a good solution sales person who leaves because they feel undervalued is a real cost to the company – and usually avoidable.

It comes down to good sales management. Not just managing upwards, but managing downwards. Making the individuals you want to retain feel valued and appreciated, and helping those who are not able to perform to find alternative roles.