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Keeping Your Sales Development Team Motivated, One Spiff at a Time

4 min read
Jul. 2, 2015

A couple of weeks ago, we asked a few of the industry’s top sales development reps to see what they’ve found to be the most effective motivator on a daily basis. From friendly competition to a little game room action, these SDRs are finding plenty of ways to stay motivated on the job.

Now it’s time to hear from their bosses. We asked some of the top influencers, SDR managers, and industry thought leaders what they believe is the best way to keep reps motivated and prevent churn in the sales development role. Here’s what they had to say:


Jay Tuel, Demandbase

​If you have a good team that places company goals ahead of individual priorities, it’s easy to motivate.

I bring in people to our team that have a competitive streak, but at the end of the day are team players, so naturally they are numbers driven. Also, a good manager should know what each individual is aspiring to do, have a plan in place to promote them, and work with that team member to get them to the next point in their careers.

Jon Parisi, Guidespark

I listen into each team members’ cold calls for 30 minutes a week to provide real-time feedback and coaching in the moment. We then review during our bi-weekly 1:1s and regularly check into our OKR (objective key results) system to make sure we are on track.

We also do weekly spiffs that allow each RDR to gun after a specific target, and the prizes range from cash, dinners, sports games, sales training, working from the opposite coast and so forth. It really mixes things up each week.

I think motivation ultimately comes from within the individual – and it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day of this job.

It can be challenging to see the big picture, which ultimately is to learn how to become better sales people and build the foundation of the attitude, behaviors and skills that will make each RDR (Revenue Development Rep) successful longer term.

Richard Harris, The Harris Consulting Group

When I was an SDR manager, I motivated with incentives like cash spiffs and tickets to ball games. On top of that, the entire executive team was on board to support them. The norm for us was any Director, VP, or Senior executive would take the team to drinks and dinner.

In addition to that, we made sure the team was constantly getting trained and that ALL SDRs would sit in on qual calls and first calls with the AEs. We also had an SLA with the AEs that part of their job was to help teach the SDRs real world scenarios. The relationship specifically designed to help create a strong bench.

Steve Dodsworth, Captora

Keeping my team motivated and excited about their role is one of my top priorities. While we take the role very seriously, we try hard to keep the vibe fun and loose. That said, here’s what we like to do:

  1. SDRs assign push ups or burpees to other team members when they book a demo — 10 push ups or 5 burpees per meeting. We track how many are given and received each month and it provides tons of energy throughout the day.
  2. We do daily huddles to set goals for the current day and review the previous day’s accomplishments. If goals were not met, SDRs need to discuss why.
  3. We do tons of spiffs around activity and results. Prizes vary from very low value (like a $5 gas card) to more extravagant (like a trip to Vegas).

Phill Keene, Tinderbox

To keep your team motivated, provide clarity for every aspect of their roles: the particulars of their jobs, how to improve and move up the ladder, and how they get paid. It’s also critical to make sure each SDR learns how to grow personally, and how to contribute the growth of their company.

As a manager of a Sales Development Team, how do you keep your SDRs motivated? Leave a comment below to share your tips and tools for success!