• The three psychological needs affecting the motivation of a revenue development rep (RDR) are competence, autonomy and relatedness
  • Here are some do’s and don’ts for maximizing your RDRs’ experience of each psychological need
  • Ask RDRs to create their own skill development plan with your guidance, but don’t be afraid to coach

In my last post, I introduced the concept of psychological needs and how they affect the motivation of a revenue development representative (RDR) to do his or her best. The research I discussed has shown that all people have three basic psychological needs, and the extent to which those needs are met determines in large part whether people are self-motivated to do their best or instead must be provided with external motivators.

To review, the three needs are competence (the experience of gaining mastery or being good something), autonomy (the experience of having a say in how our work and life are conducted), and relatedness (feeling as though we belong, are a good fit for the job and the organization, and share values and goals with the company and coworkers).

Here are some do’s and don’ts for maximizing your RDRs’ experience of each of the psychological needs.


  • Do specialize roles. RDRs will be more competent when specialized – which is good news for the business, too. Don’t require RDRs spend time on tasks not related to the key outcomes for the role.
  • Do provide tools, training and coaching to enable success. Don’t take a “sink or swim” approach. Most RDRs will swim just well enough to keep from drowning but not well enough to meet your organization’s goals.
  • Do segregate major task families into large blocks of time. Competence isn’t achieved while multi-tasking, so set up large blocks of uninterrupted time for the major tasks. Don’t leave it up to RDRs to make up their schedule as they go along.
  • Do collect, develop and propagate best practices. Too often, a teleprospecting function is a “roll your own” affair. Instead, make it a center of excellence. Don’t leave RDRs to their own devices when figuring out how best to do the job.
  • Do create in-role certification and achievement milestones to formally recognize competence. Don’t promote people to jobs for which they are not well suited.


  • The focus on best practices must be balanced by opportunities for autonomy. Do provide autonomy by involving the entire team in the process of developing and iterating on the best practices. Actively encourage and recognize new, effective twists on existing best practices. Don’t script calls.
  • Do ask RDRs to create their own skill development plan with your guidance. Ask them what they want to get out of their role. Listen for what’s possible and help your team members achieve it. Don’t be afraid to coach.


  • Do consistently enforce work rules and performance standards. Top performers will not feel related to teammates who are disengaged or incapable. Don’t hire people who cannot or will not sign up for the mission and values of the company and the team.
  • Do make the job about authentically connecting with prospects and developing new relationships. Don’t position prospects as adversaries who must be overcome for the RDRs to make their numbers.
  • Do get feedback on every lead the team produces. This is their most tangible connection to the mission of the company. Don’t think that calling the RDRs a team is good enough, and don’t provide team-based incentives if RDRs have no way of materially influencing the performance of their teammates.