How inside sales managers can be better at inspiring their teams

by Steli Efti
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So your sales team isn’t selling. But your incentives and commission rates are friendly, you went through the right hiring processes, your salespeople all have great track records, the product they're selling has proven interest, and the sales pipeline is full.

You’ve done it all to set your sales team up for success, yet still…

NOTHING.

Do you walk in Monday morning and fire everybody?

You could. Get rid of everyone, bring in fresh talent, and start with a clean slate. Hope that the new team can pick up the slack and close more deals.

Maybe that's the right move, but before you go on a firing spree, ask yourself this one question:

What’s keeping your sales team from actually making sales?

If you’ve hired the right people and proven there’s interest in your product, but you’re still not seeing results, there’s a good chance the answer looks something like this:

They have no motivation, no inspiration, and no drive to sell.

If your sales team is bored and lacking motivation, the results will reflect exactly that.

The good news is, this lack of motivation is absolutely fixable.

You don’t need to fire everyone. You don’t need to bribe them all with massive bonuses. You don’t need to shut the whole operation down for good. You just need to understand what’s causing these low levels of motivation, and focus on what you can do as a sales manager to right the ship.

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Here are four things you can do right now to pull your sales team out of that demotivated rut and start closing deals:

1. Get down in the trenches with your team

You’re a sales manager. It’s a role you’ve earned. You put in the work to master your craft and worked your ass off to accomplish the goals you set for yourself, and the seat you sit in reflects that.

What I see far too often are sales managers just like you deciding that since they’ve gotten this far, they can just sit back and let their team do it all on their own. Bring in new talent, give them some quarterly goals and quotas, then ignore them until their performance starts to dip.

That right there is the problem.

You need to show your team that you’re right there with them. Their goals are your goals, and you’re committed to putting in the work to accomplish those goals together.

The benefits here are twofold:

They can learn from you

If you just print off a document with all the keys they should focus on in their sales pitches, I can guarantee the results won’t be what you’re hoping for.

You need to get in there and show them what you want. You have experience, knowledge, and skills they can learn from.

They know you’re part of the team, too

If you’re right there with them, working just as hard to reach the goals you and your team have set, they’re going to see that. If you sit back in your corner office and let them do the work, they’re going to see that too.

Your team wants to know you’re just as motivated to hit those quotas, crush those goals, and drive great results as they need to be.

Work ethic is contagious. Actions speak a lot louder than words.

When a sales manager invests time in helping their team achieve quotas, make better calls, write more effective emails, and better manage their CRM, the sales team will be more invested in delivering because they know their manager cares.

2. Clearly identify your team's growth goals

It’s important to remember one very important thing here…

Your salespeople are just that: people.

They have goals of their own, both professional and personal. Maybe they’re just an entry level sales rep right now, but their goal is to one day be walking around in your shoes as a sales manager.

Be a part of their journey.

Have one-on-one meetings with your sales team regularly to talk about their goals and how you can help reach them.

  • What do they want to achieve?
  • What areas do they need to improve on?
  • What steps is the company taking to help?

If you genuinely commit to helping them grow, that commitment won’t go unnoticed. They’ll repay you with their loyalty, dedication, and work ethic.

3. Offer more chances to feel a sense of achievement

A lot of inside sales managers make the mistake of only giving their teams monthly or quarterly goals. Long-term goals are important, but short-term goals your people can achieve on a consistent basis will keep them motivated and add some serious gas to their internal fire to succeed and win.

If the only goal they can achieve is three months away, the grind is going to feel incredibly long. Short-term goals let your team celebrate their successes regularly, giving them the extra motivation they need to keep pushing toward the next milestone.

If you add extra incentives to those short-term goals, the motivation levels only go higher. If your sales team knows that crushing quotas will lead to a nice bonus, they’ll kick it up a notch to earn those bonuses.

When one of your salespeople is crushing it, let them know.

Reward their successes, whether it be through bonuses or public recognition. Naturally, the rest of the team will want to top them next time to earn those rewards for themselves.

4. Give your sales team more responsibilities

Even your top performers get bored if you don’t give them something they can truly own. People want to own and manage major projects, regions, or sales quotas. They don’t want to sit around and twiddle their thumbs all day; they want to prove their abilities and celebrate when they knock those projects out of the park.

What can you do to foster that energy and excitement?

Empower your team and show them you trust them.

  • Trust them with major projects
  • Trust them with key regions
  • Trust them to deliver on the work they’re asking for

If you show your team enough trust, they’ll pay it back with their hard work, dedication, and results. Not only do you get to celebrate successful projects, you also reap the benefits of motivated team members committed to reaching collective goals.

Now over to you

Sometimes all it takes to get your sales team back on track is learning what makes them tick, and finding ways to inspire them to keep striving toward their goals.

Here’s a quick recap of the four things you should do to keep your sales team motivated:

  1. Get down in the trenches with them
  2. Clearly identify their growth goals
  3. Offer more chances to feel a sense of achievement
  4. Give them more responsibilities

Hit on all four of these things and your sales team will function like a well-oiled machine, driving results you thought only existed in your wildest dreams.

If it’s not a motivation issue and your team is still really suffering, we put together an extensive sales manager’s guide on how to turn a struggling sales team around. It’ll walk you through the process of identifying the root issues and fixing them before everything spirals out of control.

If you’re committed to getting your sales team back on track, check out this video first to gain a deeper understanding of what might be holding you and your team back:

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