5 Ways to Better Motivate Your Sales Team


If you haven’t already heard, we’ve collaborated with the team at What Drives Winning to host an Autumn webinar series focused on how you can create the optimal environment for your sales and customer success teams. 

These sessions, hosted by Brett Ledbetter and Becky Burleigh, are designed to provide an in-depth understanding of how to define, manage, and model the best working environment for your team, based on expert coaching methodologies and team leadership psychology.

The first session introduced the concepts of defining, managing, and modeling, and what that means for sales leaders. In case you missed it, you can watch the full recording here and read the summary here.

The second session focused on managing above-the-line behavior, and what that means for sales leaders. You can watch the full recording here and read the summary here.

This week, we’re summing up the third session which focused on converting below-the-line behavior, and what that means for sales leaders. You can watch the full recording here.

Managing below the line behavior by winning influence 

“What you allow will come back either positively or negatively. The allowance of behaviors, good or bad, is really the setting of what is going to come forward.” - Coach Tim Corbin

Calling out an employee in front of the entire team may set the tone and convey that behavior is undesirable, but it damages the relationship with the employee and negatively alters the relationship between the manager and the team. There are so many situations, as a sales leader, where the ability to pivot, adjust, and make decisions on the fly become extremely important.

There are situations that come up in your day-to-day activities that require that type of social agility. And competitive maturity, when you think before you act, is required to effectively coach your team in a professional manner.

As a leader, it’s easy to use force to modify behavior, but it isn’t always effective. It can lead to rebellion against rules that are set, creating a trickle-down effect on the team, especially when a veteran team member displays rebellious behavior. This defies and is counter-productive to what the leader is trying to accomplish.

So, instead of applying force, try motivating people to be the best team members they can be by fostering intrinsic motivation. This requires an approach Brett described as winning influence.

So how do you motivate the unmotivated when consequences don’t work?

5 Strategies for converting below-the-line behavior

Brett and Becky offered these five approaches for motivating behavior change without using force.

1. Coach the next-play mentality

It’s easy to get caught up in the moment when team members make mistakes, but you can’t allow the outside environment to dictate your inner approach to what’s next. That’s why the next-play mentality is so critical. There are going to be mistakes, but you can’t let one mistake lead to another mistake. How you navigate those is what defines the team.

Coach K, who coined the term ‘next-play mentality’ said, “You cannot do anything about the last play. Someone who is always looking in his rear-view mirror will never make the most of the current moment. The next play is the next moment. So, why wouldn’t you want to be at your best for the next moment?”

Not focusing on what is happening in the now prevents the team from being at their best for the next moment. It’s about how quickly you reevaluate, move on, get to the next thing. It doesn’t mean that you don’t acknowledge that the mistakes have occurred - you just don’t stay in the moment of it. You get to a space where you can reevaluate when there’s time to do so.

2. Facilitate self-coaching

The highest form of management is putting people in a position where they can coach themselves. What a coach might think is the problem isn’t always the problem. Only the team member can know what they’re thinking, experiencing, and struggling with. So, creating a platform where reps can coach themselves is powerful because nobody has more context around the rep’s situation than they do.

To help team members get started, you can ask reps thought-provoking questions about what’s next. It’s a lot easier for reps to answer because they have the answer inside them. But sometimes the answers just get drowned out by all the outside noise and reps need you to help direct their thinking with the right question.

3. Align self-interest

As a leader, it’s easy to focus only on winning. But it’s important to remember that everyone is on their own journey. Some people want to be the highest salesperson. Some people want to be the next-level manager.

Figuring out what they want and helping them get there creates a motivated team member. Until you know that information, it’s hard to create alignment because you don’t even know what it is that they’re looking for.

This just speaks to how important it is to get to know your team members and build relationships with them.

4. Develop middle-layer management

You don’t always have to be the one motivating behavioral change. You can involve other people to help inspire a team member to self-correct a behavior by influencing another team member.

You can ask one rep to work with another rep in that way. So, it doesn’t feel like a top-down approach of being told what to do, it’s one peer helping another find their way to improvement in a specific area.

Some things to teach your reps to keep in mind when working with another rep is to make sure they’re making the other peer feel listened to, needed, cared for and appreciated. This is essential for all forms of leadership, even when it is peer-to-peer.

It’s also a good self-check for managers. Ask yourself if the people you are leading feel that they are listened to, needed, cared for, and appreciated by you. It not only creates self-awareness, but can also lead to an improved relationship.

5. Reteach

Reteach is starting the cycle over with a different approach to explaining desired behaviors. This strategy is about closing the gap of interpretation. What you think are clear instructions may not be clear to the person being instructed. So, it’s important to put a higher value on the team member’s perception and meet them where they are.

As a leader, it’s easy to think, ”I’ve told them before, why don’t they get it?” But maybe they haven’t heard it because of the way they’ve been told. Perhaps it’s time to reteach it, but differently than before because it didn’t resonate previously.

Looking for additional ways to infuse continuous learning and sales skills growth in your sales reps? Book a demo with a member of our team to see how Jiminny can help you consistently improve your team’s skills and performance.