How to Use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to Improve Sales Team Performance

Sean Lund-Brown

There are a lot of different sales strategies, training tools, and resources that people turn to when they’re trying to help their sales team boost performance. Of course, everyone has their preferences and might tell you that theirs is the “surefire” solution—but that’s just the thing. There is no single solution that works for everyone. It’s about finding the methods and theories that are out there and then applying them to your organization.

Such is the case with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which basically states that humans make decisions based on five different motivating factors. This is a tool that’s often used in marketing, but you can also apply it to internal performance and find ways to help your sales team become even better at what they do. 

What is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?

This motivational theory is based on psychology and includes five levels of human needs, also referred to as levels of motivation. This unique theory is depicted in a pyramid fashion in most cases because the lower levels must be fulfilled before individuals can move up to the next level in the hierarchy. 

One builds on the last, giving people the chance to feel more fulfilled, leading to motivation, creative thinking, and growth. The five levels include:

  1. Physiological needs
  2. Safety
  3. Love and belonging
  4. Esteem
  5. Self-actualization

As you can see, these categories are quite broad and allow a lot of room for different applications, including assisting with boosting sales performance. Here’s how you can look at each of the levels and use them to help your team improve themselves. 

Level one – physiological needs 

This is pretty basic—the essential human needs. In the case of employees, they need access to a comfortable work environment, which includes a bathroom, access to food and water, and so forth. In the workplace setting, your sales team might also see having a steady income as falling in this category because they need that income to afford their needs at home. 

Level two – safety 

Safety is another essential element of every workplace. Ensuring that you have a safe workplace, both physically and emotionally, will help everyone perform better. People are not going to be able to focus on their jobs if they are stressed or scared. They’re not going to perform their best if they have concerns about safety or their own emotional wellbeing. Therefore, if you quell those concerns, you’ll see better performance as a result. 

Level three – love and belonging

This one is applied a little differently in the workplace—you’re not necessarily going to “fall in love” with your job. The caveat, of course, is that when employees don’t feel like they belong, they aren’t going to perform as well. Thus, you’ll need to boost people’s sense of belonging and create a positive company culture that allows people to excel. It’s also about making sure that people can build relationships at work and still have a good work-life balance. 

Level four – esteem 

Esteem, in the workplace, comes in the belief that you’re contributing to a bigger goal, and that people are recognizing that contribution. It’s important for your sales team to feel as though they’re growing, advancing, and getting better results. It’s even more important for others to notice that growth and success. Positive feedback and employee recognition come into play here and can go a long way in helping your sales team improve performance. 

Level five – self-actualization

This level points toward people maximizing their potential. In a workplace situation, people want to feel they’re doing the best that they can in their role. That will give them the motivation to continue growing and succeeding. Self-actualized employees also feel trusted and empowered. When it comes to business, you need to allow your employees to succeed and help them find ways to advance in their careers. People need to feel challenged, but not overwhelmed. 

How does it tie together?

Well, when you apply the aspects of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to the professional world, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for improvement. Whether you’re applying it to yourself or your sales team, you will be able to ensure that all of these “needs,” or aspects of the job, are fulfilled so that people can perform at their best.

Employers who have poor cultures or low employee engagement also often see higher turnover rates. When you take the time to invest in your employees and their well-being and create a positive, engaging workplace, you will deliver exactly what your employees need.  It’s not a perfect science, but when you are capable of identifying your team’s needs and then fulfilling them, it will go far in cultivating their skills and helping them grow. 

You need to work with your team and ask them to identify areas where they need more assistance or support. You should look for ways to improve the workplace, the attitude, and the overall morale of all of your employees. This hierarchy gives you a simple path to follow to ensure that you cover all the bases. And when employees are happy and workplaces are productive, your sales performance is bound to improve. 

Speaking of needs, ask how Smith.ai can assist with outbound sales and more

While you’re working on building up your sales team, the dedicated virtual receptionists at Smith.ai help deliver various solutions for your clients to keep your business growing, from 24/7 phone answering and live website chat support to assistance managing outreach campaigns in the first place to get the leads coming in. 

And when you do get those leads, we’ve got you covered with lead qualification and intake, scheduling, and even Facebook and SMS message answering. Plus, it always comes with a tailored strategy to manage it all. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss what the 24/7 virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can do for your business. You can also reach us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484.

Sean Lund-Brown

Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

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