As Kretiner (1998) defined: "the term motivation derived from the Latin work movere, meaning to move." (Ramlall, pg 53, 2004) Motivation has been examined widely and in-depth for a great number of years and it has been in the centre of interest for various fields. There are numerous definitions of motivation, both broad and specific, depending on the aspect which is being viewed from. As per Meyer et al. (2004), Kleinginna and Kleinginna (1981) after "an extensive multidisciplinary review" reported 140 different definitions referring to motivation. (Meyer et al., 2004) Huczynski and Buchanan (2007) defined motivation as: "the cognitive decision-making process through which goal-directed behavior is initiated, energized, directed and maintained." (Huczynski and Buchanan, pg 242, 2007) Locke and Latham (2004) stated that: "the concept of motivation refers to internal factors that impel action and to external factors that can act as inducements to action. The three aspects of action that motivation can affect are direction (choice), intensity (effort), and duration (persistence)." (Locke and Latham, pg 388, 2004) Furthermore, they claimed that motivation can influence both the acquirement of people's skills and abilities and the way and the degree in which these skills and abilities are exploited. (Locke and Latham, 2004)
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Work motivation is an aspect of motivation that, as Locke and Latham (2004) reported, many industrial and organizational (I/O) psychologists have focused specifically on at least since 1930. (Locke and Latham, 2004) Pinder (1998) as cited in Meyer et al. (2004) defined work motivation: "as a set of energetic forces that originates both within as well as beyond an individual's being, to initiate work-related behavior, and to determine its form, direction, intensity, and duration." (Meyer et al., pg 992, 2004) With regard to motivation in the business field, as per Jobber and Lancaster (2006) "selling" is a part of the business activity which has attracted much discussion in comparison to other areas. As they indicated, "selling" has drawn so much attention as a process due to the fact that the salespeople of a company are "the single most important link with the costumers." (Jobber and Lancaster, pg 4, 2006) The significance of the salespeople's role forces the managers to focus on the enhancement of the salespeople's performance. (Boles et al., 2000) For that reason, there is a vast literature which has examined the major motivation theories or other aspects of the job design which can influence in a minor or a greater degree the motivation of salespeople and their performance levels as well. Furthermore, there is also a significantly large number of research papers which deal with researching the connection between motivation of salespeople with the leadership style and behavior of their sales managers also known as sales management research.
1.2 The life insurance industry
The life insurance industry is an important and complex part of the selling industry. Lynch and Mackay (1985) as cited in Crosby and Stephens (1987) stated that : "the whole life insurance is a high credence service". In particular, Crosby and Stephens (1987) documented that the life insurance industry is "very abstract, complex, and focused on future benefits that are difficult to prove (financial protection, etc.)." (Crosby and Stephens, pg 404, 1987) To be more precise, what actually is special and interesting in the life insurance sector is that its selling activities are based on a future promise. In other words, the salespeople's task is to sell a service like a pension plan or a health insurance which is intangible and the customer is not aware of the time he is going to need it. Additionally, Oliver (1973) as cited in Tyagi (1982) commented that the life insurance industry has an advantage in comparison to the other selling industries on the grounds that its salespersons "are allowed to work in an unstructured setting. A greater intersubject variability over the measures can be expected than would be obtained with salespersons in more structured environments" (Tyagi, pg 245, 1982)
1.3 Aims and Objectives of the Research
The aim of the particular dissertation is to examine the main motivation techniques that are being implemented by the sales managers of a rather different and complex sales industry as the life-insurance industry is. What will be attempted is to ascertain how the motivation theories can be applied effectively in the 21st century. Moreover, what will also be researched and evaluated is the role of the sales managers and their importance in relation to the way and the degree that they can actually affect their sales force. To be more precise, due to the lack of recent researches, this paper is an effort to add up-to-date information regarding the way that the sales managers can use various motivation tools in order to achieve high motivation and performance levels in their salespeople.
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To achieve this goal, there are some key questions that should be examined and answered.
First of all, it is important to find out the significance of the financial incentives as a motivation tool.
Whether the importance and the value of various motivation techniques varies depending on their age and their career stage of the salespeople.
How the motivation techniques can be used in order to constantly motivate a successful salesperson and avoid him being unmotivated.
Lastly, a matter of concern is in what ways sales managers can motivate low performers.
At the following sections of the dissertation, the research paper will first present the major motivation theories by highlighting their main points. A literature review section regarding the motivation of salespeople will follow in order to critically discuss what has been research up until today. The next part of the research paper will analyze and justify the type method which was considered to be the most appropriate for collecting the data and there will also be presented details referring to the process of the data collection. In the discussion part, the findings of the research will be reported and they will be compared to the existing literature and linked to the research questions. Moreover, the limitations of this research will be noted so, this research paper will be characterized by objectivity. Lastly, in the conclusion part the key points of the particular research will be summarized and the overall implications of the research will be briefly pointed out.
2. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
2.1 MOTIVATION THEORIES
There is a remarkably great variety in theories which attempt to examine and justify the way that motivation is actually affecting employees' behaviors. According to Meyer et al. (2004) and Locke and Latham (2004) every single motivation theory is incomplete and there is no motivation theory which has not been criticized. (Meyer et al., 2004 and Locke and Latham, 2004) Nevertheless, as Meyer et al. (2004) pointed out the majority of these theories "make meaningful contributions to our understanding of what is obviously a complex process." (Meyer et al., pg 992, 2004) In the same context, Locke (1991, 1997) as cited in Meyer et al. (2004) denoted that: "each of the different theoretical orientations offers a unique perspective and can be combined to form a general model." (Meyer et al. pg 992, 2004)
One of the oldest and perhaps more highly criticized methods regarding motivation was the Frederick's Taylor (1911) Scientific Management approach. According to this approach, as Huczynski and Buchanan (2007) stated employees are rewarded in a financial way based on the productivity and performance levels. In other words, Taylor viewed employees as "coin-operated", who are exclusively motivated by financial incentives. Taylor's approach has been highly disapproved on the grounds that it leaves out significant aspects of motivation such as achievement, recognition and job satisfaction and in general, it oversimplifies the complexity of the human nature and its needs. (Huczynski and Buchanan, 2007) However, as per Ananaba (1981) despite the fact that the principles of Scientific Management are not considered to be "motivational", they had a "far-reaching effect" and were embraced by all types of motivation theories. Ananaba (1981) Moreover, Taylor's approach resulted in several alterations in the way that the work is designed and his principles are influential in the managerial world up until today. (Ananaba, 1981)
As it was mentioned above, there is a great number of motivation theories that have been expressed during the past years. However, these theories can be divided in two major categories: the content and the process theories. Bassett-Jones and Lloyd (2005) pointed out that content theories, take as granted a higher and more complex interaction between internal and external factors and they have researched the conditions and the factors which lead to the response of the individuals to several types of internal and external incentives.
Two of the most famous content theories have been expressed by Abraham Maslow (1943) and Frederick Herzberg et al. (1959). Despite the fact that, Maslow's hierarchy needs theory has been criticized and has been characterized as a "social philosophy" instead of a motivation theory, it has affected many management practices such as reward policies and the job design. (Huczynski and Buchanan, 2007) Regarding the motivation theory of Herzberg and his colleagues, Locke and Latham (2004) clarified that Herzberg's motivation theory mainly dealt with the causes of work satisfaction and the possible ways that a job can be designed in order to increase the employee's satisfaction and subsequently his motivation levels. (Locke and Latham, 2004) Overall, content theories have been criticized on the grounds that, they fail to take into account the fact that each person thinks, makes decisions and acts in a different way from the others and they assume that people react in a universal way. (Huczynski and Buchanan, 2007)
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On the contrary, the process theories, two of the most famous have been presented Vroom (1964) and Locke and Latham (1990), take into consideration the procedure through which the internal elements of each person may lead to different outcomes and behaviors. (Bassett-Jones and Lloyd, 2005) In other words, the process theories differ from content theories at a vital point, which is the element of individuality in every choice and the "social influence". (Huczynski and Buchanan, 2007) According to Robbins (1993) as cited in Ramlall (2004) Vroom's expectancy theory supported that every act is driven by the power of the expectation that the particular act will result in a specific outcome and the outcome's desirability. (Ramlall, 2004) It can be clearly seen that, Vroom expressed his theory based on the assumption that people choose to behave after "conscious choices among alternatives". (Ramlall, 2004) Apart from Vroom's expectancy theory, it is also worthy to mention the goal-setting theory introduced by Edwin Locke and Gary Latham (1990). As Huczynski and Buchanan (2007) defined goal-setting theory as motivation theory in which it was stated that a person's motivation is affected by the level of difficulty and specificity of the goals that he has to meet and by the feedback which is provided to him that allows him to be aware of his success of failure. (Huczynski and Buchanan, 2007) According to Klein et al. (1999), the main conception of this theory is that the more difficult the goal the higher the level of motivation. They also stated that: "Commitment to specific and difficult goals" is an essential factor which influences motivation. (Klein et al., 1999)
Overall, from what has been described above we can see that the main difference between content and process theories of motivation is that the former does not recognize any difference between the way that individuals perceive things and are motivated and they take as given that people have the same needs and are motivated by the same things. Contrarily, the process theories have been analyzed based on the fact that motivation is created through an individual procedure during which each person evaluates the best alternative action for him and it is also stimulated by targets and aims with a minimum degree of difficulty and specificity.
3. LITERATURE REVIEW
In this section of the research the relevant literature will be critically discussed by presenting various studies and researches considering the motivation of the salespeople and how it can be stimulated by the sales managers. Apart from examining the role of the sales managers, various aspects of the job design will be put under the scope of examination. Wherever it is possible there will be mentions in relation to the life insurance sector although the literature referring to motivation in the insurance industry is limited and has not been examined in depth.
3.1 Motivation of Salespeople in Different Career Stages
Cron (1984) reported that the sales management research has been mainly interested in the ways that salespeople can be motivated in terms of higher effort and enhanced performance during the various career stages. (Cron, 1984) As Cron et al. (1988) pointed out, in a large number of psychological and sociological researches it was found that in each career stage individuals have "unique career concerns, developmental tasks, personal challenges, and psychological needs" (Cron et al., pg 79, 1988)
To be more precise, according to the survey which they conducted it was found that, in each career stage the sales managers have to motivate the salespeople by using different techniques. For instance, Slocum and Cron (1985) highlighted that in the exploration stage the salesperson is characterized by low "personal commitment" to his job. (Slocum and Cron, 1985) So, the sales manager's role is to emphasize the rewards that the salesperson can attain through high performance and at the same time to deal with the uncertainty that the salesperson feels regarding his career choice. (Cron et al., 1988) In that way, the new salesperson can be motivated and productive.
Regarding the establishment stage, at most cases the salespeople concentrate on stabilizing their careers. The goal of being successful is the most important and usually it is combined with "a desire for promotion". (Cron et al., 1988) As Cron et al. (1988) stated promotion is a significant step at the "personal success ladder." So, in order to stimulate motivation in the salespeople, the sales managers should have as a priority to "communicate" the requirements for getting promoted. (Cron et al., 1988) At the same time, Levinson et al. (1978) pointed out that various "life-commitments" such as marriage, which may affect the needs of the sales force, must be taken into account. (Levinson et al., 1978)
Lastly, the salespeople who are in the maintenance stage are defined as "an aggressive career orientation". (Cron et al., pg 87, 1988) Cron et al. (1988) identified that it is the nature of sales that allows the sales force to be "creative and self-reliant". (Cron et al., 1988) However, it was found that most of the available rewards such as pay and success have been achieved. (Cron et al., 1988) So, the sales managers have to motivate their sales force by offering them new and different incentives. It should be pointed out that the literature has a gap in the extra incentives which could be provided to salespeople at this stage.
3.2 Financial Incentives
The financial rewards have always been considered as an important aspect of every type of work. Especially, in the sales industry the financial incentives are regarded as a powerful tool in motivating the salespeople. Steinbrink (1978) stated that: "compensation is the most important element in a program for the management and motivation of a field sales force." (Steinbrink, pg 111, 1978) Churchill et al. (1982) reported in their research that the sales motivation literature is in agreement with the perception that the financial rewards are the primary and basic motivator of "sales effort". On the contrary, they also pointed out that: "exclusive reliance on pay as the basic motivator has been challenged on both theoretical and empirical grounds." (Churchill et al., pg 114, 1982)
At this point, it is worthy of mentioning that Lawler (1971) documented that payment might be less significant to someone that is highly paid in comparison to someone that is lower paid. (Lawler, 1971) In various researches (Centers and Bugental 1966, Kahn 1958, Porter 1961 and Ronan 1970), it was supported that a possible reason explaining why a person's valence for money is negatively correlated with the amount of his payment, would be that payment is valued less when employees reach higher positions which are usually well-paid. (Churchill et al., 1982) With regard to the above mentioned, Churchill et al. (1982) commented that the newer the salesperson is, the higher the possibility that he would be motivated by pay on the grounds that starting levels do not usually result in high satisfaction regarding pay. (Churchill et al., 1982) They also stated that as the salesperson is rewarded for his effort through bonuses, commissions and pay raises, his satisfaction with pay increases. Consequently, the valence for pay will be reduced and pay will no longer be an adequate motivator. So, other types of motivators should be enacted in order to avoid the decline of the salesperson's motivation. (Churchill et al., 1982) Lastly, Oliver (1977) conducted a survey in a life insurance company in which it was found that there was a positive correlation between the salesperson's valence for money and his age and a negative correlation between his valence for money and his satisfaction with pay. (Oliver, 1977)
3.3 Personal Goal-Setting, Competition and Motivation of the Salespeople
With regard to the goal setting theory, the salespersons who set high personal goals have more chances in performing effectively. (Brown et al., 1998) In particular, Austin and Vancouver (1996) and Locke and Latham (1990) as cited in Brown et al. (1998) pointed out that personal goals are vital in "determining the intensity, direction, and persistence of goal-directed behavior". (Brown et al., pg 88, 1998) In the same context, Gollwitzer and Bargh (1996) defined personal goals as "directors of action". (Gollwitzer and Bargh, 1996) In particular, Chowdhury (1993) and Locke and Latham (1990) as cited in Brown et al. (1998) indicated that the "intermediate step" of achieving high levels of performance is to "set challenging personal goals" for the salespeople. (Brown et al., 1998)
An important element, which was found to affect the process of goal-setting, is competition. Brewer (1994) reported a research that was undertaken by "the Gallup Management Consulting Group", according to which the successful salespeople are characterized as "competitors". (Brown et al., pg 88, 1998) Additionally, Brown et al. (1998) what leads salespeople in setting high goals is "the combination of high trait competitiveness and an organizational climate that is perceived as highly competitive". (Brown et al., pg 95, 1998) Overall, Brown et al. (1998) highlighted that both the recruitment of competitive salespersons and the development of management practices, which stimulate competition inside the organization, can result in efficient goal setting and enhanced motivation and performance levels. (Brown et al., 1998)
3.4 The Importance of the Sales Manager Role
According to Rich (1997), "successful salespeople are not born, they are made". (Rich, pg 319, 1997) It could be said that, whether a salesperson is motivated or not depends highly on his manager and the techniques that he implements. According to Tyagi (1985), the "leadership behavior plays a vital role in enhancing salesperson work motivation." (Tyagi, pg 77, 1985) As per Dubinsky (1999), previous researches have pointed out that it is highly significant for the sales manager to find out "what triggers each salesperson's behavior." (Dubinsky, 1999) For instance, with regard to the research papers of Churchill et al. (1979), Cron et al. (1988) and Ford et al. (1985), it has been proved that the significance of various aspects of motivation can differ across the sales force. (Dubinsky, 1999) to be more precise, a "one size fits all motivational package" might result in a particular level of motivation among the sales personnel but it would not be adequate in order to achieve the "optimum" level of motivation and the "ultimate effectiveness" of the salespeople. (Dubinsky, 1999)
Apart from the implemented motivation techniques, the leadership style of the sales manager is also extremely important and highly influential regarding the salesperson and his performance. Jolson et al. (1993) as cited in Dubinsky (1999) pointed out that the leadership style of the sales manager "can have a dramatic impact on the salespeople's performance." (Dubinsky, pg 14, 1999) In the same context, Walker, Churchill, and Ford (1977, 1979) stated that a salesperson performance is influenced by the supervision of the sales manager. (Dubinsky, 1999) It can be clearly said that, the common argument of these researches was that "the degree and quality of interaction between the sales manager and the salespeople affect the efficiency with which the sales force performs. (Dubinsky, 1999) In particular, Dubinsky et al. (1994) highlighted that a salesperson's performance relies on the level of "active involvement" between him and his sales manager. (Dubinsky et al., 1994) Furthermore, it is also worthy of mentioning is the "Pygmalion effect", which according to Markin and Lillis (1975) has been defined as the phenomenon where the salespeople's productivity is strongly related to the "expectations" that the sales managers have for them. (Markin and Lillis, 1975)
At this point, it would be useful to mention Rich's research paper (1997) and the concept of "role modeling or leadership by example" which has been mainly disregarded in the sales management literature. He argued that due to the nature of selling, which is complex and challenging, the sales manager should act as "a role model" for the salesperson in terms of offering to the latter a guidance regarding the way he should deal with the ambiguities of a sales process. (Rich, 1997) Frank Pacetta, a successful sales manager in Xerox, as cited in Rich (1997) pointed out that the "personal example" is very powerful. In particular, he stated that the most efficient way for creating productive salespeople is by showing to them what it should be done. (Rich, 1997)
Although "role modeling" has been examined under the scope of charismatic and leadership management theories, Rich's aim was to conduct a research in order to ascertain whether it influences positively the salespeople' s performance. The results of his research showed that a sales manager who behaves as a "role model" will enhance the trust between himself and his salespeople and that enhancement will consequently result in increased job satisfaction and performance. (Rich, 1997) In other words, it could be said that salespeople will be motivated and operate in a more effective way if they are managed by a manager, who not only manages them but he also shows to them how to work by acting as one of them. Moreover, worthy of mentioning is that Corcoran et al. (1995) conducted a large scale survey among a large number of salespeople, sales managers and sales executives in which they found out that "coaching" is one of the most important mean that an organization can use in order to affect the performance of its sales workforce. (Corcoran et al., 1995) They defined coaching as the procedure through which "professional attitudes and behaviors are modeled". Furthermore, they clarified that a manager who coaches, aims at "maintaining good rapport with the sales team and fostering open communication, collaboration, creativity, initiative and appropriate risk taking".(Rich, pg 326, 1997) Undoubtedly, "coaching" is strongly connected with role modeling and the creation of bonds of trust between the sales manager and the salespeople. (Rich, 1997)
Undeniably, it is the salespeople's responsibility to execute their job tasks. (Dubinsky, 1999) However, the sales managers have a major responsibility in motivating and guiding their salespeople by using the most appropriate way. Overall, the success or failure of the sales force in a long-term perspective is "inevitably directly traceable" to the techniques that are implemented by the sales managers as well as their leadership style. (Dubinsky, 1999)
3.5 Training of sales force
Christiansen et al. (1996) pointed out that training plays a vital role in the "the initial and the ongoing" development of the salespeople. (Christiansen et al., 1996) According to Dubinsky (1996) and Churchill et al. (1997), that is the reason why many organizations make significant investments for the training of their salesforce. (Dubinsky, 1996, Churchill et al., 1997). Walker et al. (1977) stated that training can be defined as an organization effort to concentrate the various types of knowledge that one gains through experience into a short span of time. (Walker et al., 1977)
In particular, Dubinsky (1999) stated that the training sessions are designed in order to improve the "trainees' work-related skill levels." (Dubinsky, 1999) To be more precise, he specified that salespeople need to acquire a plethora of knowledge related to the product, the company and the customer and skills such as adaptiveness and sales presentation in order to be able to perform efficiently. (Dubinsky, 1999) Moreover, there are many researches which have pointed out the kinds of learning that are gained through training. For instance, Walker et al. (1977) reported that sales training can be viewed as a "forum" for clarifying the salesperson's role accuracy and reducing role "conflict" (Walker et al., 1977), improving salespeople's "procedural" knowledge (Leigh and McGraw, 1989), enhancing their ability to be adaptive (Weitz et al., 1986) and helping them in becoming skillful during sales presentations (Jolson, 1975).
Another issue that it should be raised is that, according to Ingram et al. (1992) all the factors that are responsible for resulting in the failure of the salesperson can be handled through training or motivation. (Ingram et al., 1992) They stated that training is considered to be beneficial on the grounds that it provides to the salespeople the essential knowledge of the product and the market in general, in order to be sent adequately prepared into the field. (Ingram et al., 1992) According to Dubinsky (1999) "ill-trained" salespeople will be defenseless and vulnerable to the market challenges. (Dubinsky, 1999) Ingram et al. (1992) also pointed out that regarding performance, there are some characteristics which are "subject to managerial influence" such as role perceptions and other personal characteristics such as marital problems which can not be influenced. (Ingram et al., 1992) However, the possible deficiencies in the "influenceable" characteristics were proved to contribute more to the failure of the salespeople. The implication for the sales managers is that they can play an "active" role in improving the areas which are perceived to be responsible for the failure of the sales force by using appropriate motivation and training methods. (Ingram et al., 1992)
Lastly, despite the significance of training, the research is limited regarding the way that training influences the sales force's performance. (Honeycutt et al., 1995) In particular, Churchill et al. (1997) reported that: "very little research has been done to determine what effect, if any, sales training has on the sales force". (Churchill et al., pg, 450, 1997)
4.1 The Type of Research
The research strategy was qualitative research due to the fact that as Bryman and Bell (2007) pointed out: "qualitative research can be construed as a research strategy that emphasizes words rather than quantification in collection and the analysis of data." (Bryman and Bell, pg 28, 2007) To be more precise, the research questions which apply on motivation theories cannot be addressed by using quantitative data such as measurements, percentages and diagrams on the grounds that the data could not be analyzed in depth. Regarding the qualitative research, it should also be pointed out that, the qualitative research's epistemological position is interpretive since it gives priority to the "understanding of the social world through an examination of the interpretation of that world by its participants." (Bryman and Bell, pg 402, 2007) Additionally, its ontological position has been defined as constructionist, which indicates that "social properties are outcomes of the interactions between individuals." (Bryman and Bell, pg 402, 2007) In other words, the qualitative type of research emphasizes on the social actors and their interaction and in the particular research paper, the main interest is around the sales managers and their interaction with the salespeople through the use of motivation various techniques.
4.2 The Qualitative Method
The qualitative method which was selected was semi-structured interviews. As Bryman and Bell (2007) indicated: "the interview is the most widely employed method in qualitative research." (Bryman and Bell, pg 472, 2007) A significant advantage of the interview method that was highlighted by Bryman and Bell (2007) is that the interview process "entails the reconstruction of events by asking interviewees to think back over how a certain series of events unfolded in relation to a current situation." (Bryman and Bell, pg 504, 2007) Furthermore, they also indicated that by using interviews the researcher is able to direct the focus of the interviewee in a specific situation instead of losing time by collecting irrelevant data compared to the participant observation method. (Bryman and Bell, 2007) However, it should also be pointed out that when interviews are being used "the naturalistic emphasis" is lost. In other words, interviewing as a procedure disrupts the "normal flow of the members' events" due to the fact that they are not in their "natural environments" when they are interviewed. (Bryman and Bell, 2007) Moreover, what has been also denoted as a drawback of the interview process is that "the interview relies primarily on verbal behavior". (Bryman and Bell, 2007) To be more precise, the "dynamics" of a situation cannot be captured and Whyte (1953) as cited in Bryman and Bell (2007) indicated that it is almost impossible to "recollect how decisions evolved as part of a social process." (Bryman and Bell, pg 503, 2007)
The reason why semi-structured interviews were considered to be more appropriate is due to the flexibility that they offer. Specifically in semi-structured interviews, the interviewer uses an "interview guide" which is consisted of "a series of questions which are more general in their frame of reference" in comparison to those that are being used in structured interviews. (Bryman and Bell, pg 213, 2007) Moreover, as clarified by Bryman and Bell (2007): "the interviewer has some latitude to ask further questions in response to what are seen as significant replies." (Bryman and Bell, pg 213, 2007) In other words, semi-structured interviews provide more freedom to the interviewees to express their own opinions and share their experience by mentioning real-life examples and situations. By using this method, some points which may have slipped the mind of the interviewer will be mentioned by the interviewee during the discussion.
4.3 The Background of the Company
Due to the fact that the particular research has an exploratory nature, the data were collected through empirical research. The research took place in a Greek life-insurance company. The particular company is an affiliated firm of a multinational insurance company. It has been operating in Greece since 1964 and has a large number of branches which are spread all over Greece. It has a wide variety of life insurance programs that can be summarized in the following three categories: Life, Accident & Health as well as Pension Plans. The research was targeted at the sales managers of several branches and more specifically the interest of the research was mainly focused on their views and experiences in terms of the possible ways that the agents are motivated since they enter the company and during all the stages of their careers.
4.4 The Interview Process
The interviews were taken from the 21st of June until the 25th of June. The interviews were tape recorded and lasted for 30 minutes on average. The workforce, which was interviewed, was consisted of the chief marketing officer who is responsible for the general motivation guidelines of the company in terms of the motivation techniques which are implemented by the sales managers. Furthermore, an interview was taken by the manager who is responsible for the network of sales and its support in terms of financial rewards. Interviews were also taken by 5 sales managers each of which have many years of working experience and are responsible for managing and motivating approximately 7-8 agents. Moreover, it is worthy to mentioning that each sales manager has been an agent himself before attaining the position of sales manager. Lastly, 2 out of 4 of the most successful agents of the company were interviewed.
The main questions of the interviews were based on the variety of techniques that the sales managers use in order to motivate their sales workforce. To be more precise, the interview's structure was formed by main questions regarding the importance of the financial incentives through all stages of an agent's career, the necessity of using different motivation techniques depending on the agent's age, the most appropriate motivation techniques in order to maintain the high productivity level of an agent or in order to motivate him into achieving even higher performance standards and lastly, which motivation techniques are considered to be more appropriate in order to enhance the productivity of low performers.