Give Your “B” Team the “A” Team Treatment

Motivation Excellence

There’s big benefit in motivating your average players.


You may be old enough to remember the old “We Try Harder” advertising campaign for Avis. If you’re not, here’s a two-sentence case study: Avis was the number two car rental company (behind Hertz) for years. Rather than fight it, they embraced their second-place status in their marketing with the simple line: “When you’re only No. 2, you try harder.” It works the same way for your organization.

Number two is hungry. The middle kid wants attention. The second-string quarterback wants to get off the bench. And your “B” team wants to get to that next level. So why not encourage it?

What? You might be thinking. But what about my top performers? We hear you, but those folks are already at the top, and it’s very likely they’re already doing what they can to stay there. They don’t need the motivation – or at least, as much of it. With your next tier, there’s much more room for improvement.

Smart organizations already know this. A study by the Sales Executive Council, as reviewed by Jeb Blount, concluded that successful sales managers spend the majority of their time positioning their people to win – and those people focus on the middle.

First off, they’re all capable of higher levels of performance, and they’re open to coaching. Secondly, when you improve the middle, you’re often improving the majority of your team. And of course, they’re probably not getting much attention right now because they don’t see the reward. With the right motivation, you can easily turn your “B” team into a bunch of “A” players.

So what’s the “right” motivation?

  • Start with addressing that lack of attention, and tie it to opportunity.
  • Recognize their achievements, publicly, and let them know that there’s still room – and rewards – at the top. If they know that you’re paying attention, and rooting for them, you’ll see the needle move almost immediately.
  • Set achievable goals that are just north of where they are now, paired with relevant, enticing rewards. This can be a shot at a trip or exclusive event, accrued points that can be used to “purchase” items from a rewards catalog, or even something as simple as a sit-down to pick the brain of your top “A” team player. The trick is to strike a balance of fun, professional development opportunities, tangible items, and unique experiences. Give your people the chance to do/get/experience something that they couldn’t do on their own.
  • When you find that sweet spot, lock in your program and make it permanent. Name the program – if you’re a book wholesaler, call it the “Page Turners.” Medical sales? Call them your “Breakthrough” players.
  • Analyze and tweak your program on a regular basis, but the overall goal is to let the team know you’re committed to them, and this incentive program isn’t just a one-time sales boost for this quarter or this year.

[bctt tweet=”So, when you try harder with the middle, they’ll try harder for you – and everyone wins.” username=”motivateme”] Need help developing or tweaking an incentive program for your “B” team? We can help. At Motivation Excellence, from events to rewards, we help organizations like yours do it all. So, contact us today to start driving success from the middle.

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