Publicly Leading Salespeople: How will you motivate your team for Q2?

Now that it’s the end of Q1 and we’re headed into Q2, have you developed a plan to motivate your sales team? During our Sales Gauge management sessions one of the most frequent questions we get from managers is…

How do we motivate our salespeople to perform?

We need to start at a different place than just making great demands of them. By starting with how they can get more from us in the beginning, they will see that we are willing to do some hard work and enable them to do their jobs better.

Expect more from yourself first

Let’s take a moment to celebrate; a promotion to sales leader is one to be congratulated and recognized. At the same time, gaining that promotion now means that you will need to lead salespeople who aren’t necessarily all top producers like you are. Leading your team means putting money in their pockets and in order to make this happen, we recommend that you lead a major initiative once per quarter. 

Here’s an example. Let’s say you have two new products that just launched and you need to get them into the pipeline this quarter. Rather than just handing the sales team a couple of data sheets and turning them loose on the phones, strong sales leaders offer something up that will empower their reps to come out of the gate with powerful resources and tools.

For this particular initiative, you might work with the marketing team to schedule a seminar or a webinar featuring a speaker and an invitation that is ready to go. By providing this to your reps you have given them a reason to reach out to prospects and customers.

Be careful not to demonstrate negative leadership

Leadership is also something that you can demonstrate negatively without knowing it. Do what you say you will do (DWYSYWD) means when you schedule a meeting with an employee, be sure to keep the appointment. I have witnessed firsthand how a manager with a gargantuan ego might preach about employee time being sacred but was then the first to cancel meetings at a moment’s notice. The message derived from this behavior was that his work was more important than anyone else’s.  And in another case, I had a boss who unknowingly trained the management staff that unless we were asked for something at least three times we could ignore it as the 3rd request meant she really did want it. This is clearly a bad precedent to set.

The details matter!

Lastly, attention to detail means more than you can imagine. One of our customers had a meeting with a large rental car company and when they came in and sat down the first thing they were asked to produce was the key from the rental car company they used to drive to the meeting. Luckily they had the correct one but the sales manager learned a lesson; they had to think differently and more strategically.

Other interesting examples:

  • The HP rep who was calling on DELL needed to have a DELL computer instead of an HP laptop in order to sell to them. 
  • And then there’s the experienced sales professional who sent material to UPS via FED-X and consequently never got the business. 
  • The rep who accidentally lets a Starbuck’s green “spill stick” fall out of his bag during his meeting with Dunkin’ Donuts.

A sales leader must lead by example and help his/her team think through all of the opportunities, as well as potential pitfalls, when driving new business. Don’t leave it to chance; make it easy for your reps, give them the tools they need and show them the way forward.

Do you have questions about managing your sales team? We'd be happy to help. Reach out with your questions to