Motivating Sales Teams:  5 Ways to Keep Your Sales Team Motivated

Working in a sales role can be extremely gratifying when things are going well. But let’s face it, when you throw in a few customer issues, missed deals or product availability problems in the mix, things can go south quickly. Keeping morale up during these challenging times is critical. Sales is an emotional game and your perspective and attitude impact your success and overall happiness. And a good sales manager is a key catalyst to ensuring peek productivity and subsequent job satisfaction.

So what are some ways managers are impacting team performance? Take a look at these five ways to keep your sales teams motivated, engaged, and consistently closing deals.

  1. Set reasonable yet challenging goals. Communicate them early and often. Nothing is more frustrating than a moving target. Sales teams eventually stop trying if they can’t see the goal line. Those that meet the expected target and then have it increased unexpectedly will be sorely frustrated and will stop trying. While those who meet goals that are set too low will sit idle instead of drumming up new business. So set challenging yet obtainable targets to get the best performance out of your sales team. Make sure goals are clearly communicated and performance against those goals is transparent and readily available.


  1. Keep your Promises. A promise, whether direct or implied, is still a promise. I once heard of a sales manager who promised a $15K US bonus to the top producing sales person of the quarter. When the quarter was complete and it was time to announce the winner, the sales manager instead nonchalantly commented that profits weren’t as expected so they wouldn’t be able to pay the promised bonus. The winner was crushed, the team was bruised but worse, the manager lost all credibility and future promises would never again have the intended impact. If you make a promise, honor it. Period.


  1. Respect Personal Time. The work day doesn’t always end at 5 pm so any sales professional who plans to live by that schedule might want to consider a career change. Customer issues come-up, orders get cancelled or any number of things can go wrong (or right) after hours. When you repeatedly call your sales team after hours you send the message that their time isn’t valuable. Over time that message translates into a stressed out, overworked, burned out employee who often delivers fewer sales less often then ultimately leaves your team. Unless that’s the outcome you’re hoping for, make your after hour calls, texts, emails, and IMs infrequent.


  1. Make your feedback specific. All of it: If your employee is performing well, tell them exactly what they are doing well and what the impact is. Conversely, convey the same information about areas of improvement. For instance, don’t just notice that an employee isn’t on the phone with customers as often as they should but notice the quality of the conversations. Are they asking the right questions? Are they asking for the close? Are they exploring other opportunities to expand the deal? Conversely, make sure you are giving accolades when you see the RIGHT proactive activities being performed on a regular basis, not just when the deal is closed. This takes an investment of time, patience and tolerance. It’s certainly a lot less expensive to work with an existing employee than it is to replace them. According to SHRM, the real cost of losing an average employee is about six to nine months’ salary. And for higher performers it can cost as much as two times the annual salary!


  1. Make sure ALL players are on the same page: The old saying “it takes a village” is certainly true now more than ever. But it’s surprising how often different members of the team don’t communicate with other members openly. It’s vitally important that the engineers are talking to the account managers who are talking to the customers IT managers, who are talking to the customer business managers and so on. It’s amazing the synergy that’s created when all involved in the deal feel included, valued and understand the role of everyone on the team. The momentum this team energy creates is motivating and keeps things moving.


Let’s face it. Sales managers have a challenging job in front of them in today’s fast moving, competitive environment. If you don’t keep your team happy, challenged, and motivated, you risk losing them to your competition which is an expensive endeavor. One fun way for Partner Plus Partners to motivate their employees is to get them excited about Winner’s Circle – a luxury incentive trip designed to reward the top partner sales people from around the globe. Learn more about these exciting upcoming trips in Miami, Honolulu and Seychelles by visiting Winner’s Circle.

How do you keep YOUR sales teams motivated?



Karin Surber

Sr. Global Business Development Manager

Global Partner Strategy and Planning