keep_a_sales_team_motivatedQ1 is almost over and your reps still do not have their compensation plans. Every time you get on the phone with your reps, they express their frustrations. Every year the same story yet it does not get any easier. As a sales manager, you face a serious challenge. Keeping the team motivated is key to hitting your number.


In this post, we will discuss motivating through a challenging time. Download the Sales Team Motivational Driver Tool to get started. First, let us examine the impact of an unmotivated team.


The Big Picture

Sales leaders would agree that keeping reps motivated can lead to greater revenue results. The inverse is also true. If you do not motivate your team it will impact the business results. Below are just a few ways that can happen.


  • Turnover- Retaining your most tenured and talented sales reps ensures your team strength. These talented employees are in high demand and constantly approached by recruiters. Losing even one of these “A” players can open the floodgates to an exodus. Add the implication of not knowing how they are paid only accelerates this process.
  • Lost Productivity- A drop off in activity can have an irreversible effect on results. First quarter sales activities determine your success in the first half of the year. Maintaining high levels of activities ensures consistent results. If the team does not know what activities to focus on, they will thrash.
  • Impact on Recruiting- As turnover occurs it becomes harder to bring in new talent. “A”players are perceptive in understanding how well a team is managed. Talented reps want to work for talented leaders. Regardless of the circumstances, turnover is a reflection on your leadership. If you have turnover most likely they will take another job.
  • Missing the Number- Probably the biggest implication of them all. Making the number is about flawless execution for 12 months. The deficit could be too large by the time compensation is rolled out. You have to plan and prevent any productivity valleys.


Keep Them in The Game

Any sales leader who believes reps are simply motivated by money are mistaken.  Below are just a few ways to keep them in the game. 


  • Autonomy- Reps enjoy the freedom and independence that comes from the job. We are not talking specifically about skipping field days or debriefs. We are talking about allowing them to make strategic decision inside their territory. Making them feel like they earned a seat at your table.
  • Challenging Activities- Your most talented reps are dialed in. They understand what it takes to hit the number. It is your responsibility to stretch them. Give them additional responsibilities to help the team. It could even be developing and delivering a skill development training meeting. New skill acquisition is a fast way to engage your people. Download the Sales Team Motivational Driver Tool for some great ideas


  • Recognition (non-monetary) – How often do you pull your top people aside to thank them? Do they like to be public recognized or privately? Do top executives understand and have visibility to outstanding sales performance. It is your job to create visibility for your people. Help them build a brand inside and outside the organization.
  • Career Growth- Do your people have a career plan? Sales reps usually live in the “now”. You have to teach them to think long term. Not having their comp is a short-term problem. It’s uncontrollable. Progressing on their career plan is a long-term goal they control.
  • Confidence in Leadership- Do your actions match your words? A sales rep can sustain bad news if they have the confidence in you. Do not spin the story. Give them the facts but also do not let them linger on the uncontrollable.
  • Culture/Team/Fun- Is it all business on your team? You have to celebrate the small victories and team success. These types of activities cannot happen once a year. They have to be in the fabric of your team culture. It builds camaraderie and solidifies relationships. Reps leave jobs because of their boss; they don’t leave mentors and leaders.



You can help your team continue selling in an environment full of challenges.   You have to find ways to inspire them. The Sales Team Motivational Driver Tool is a great place to start. We all know setbacks are going to happen from external sources and internal sources. In the end, how they feel about the job, team, and leader will make the difference.




Andrew Urteaga

Helps motivate clients to design and implement new sales and marketing strategies so that they stay on track to make their number.

Clients describe Andrew as an industry thought leader. He has deep experience as an executive, having served in multiple positions as a sales leader, with a track record of outstanding performance in F500 companies.


Prior to joining SBI, Andrew held the position of VP of Sales at Avis Budget Group where he was responsible for sales and marketing leadership. He also held a variety of positions with Cintas Corporation, a Fortune 500 multi-national company, including key quota carrying positions in the sales force from sales rep through to executive leadership.


Andrew’s work has included everything from lead generation, campaign planning and sales process to designing complete sales management coaching programs and new compensation plans.

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