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How to motivate sales teams while in isolation

Author: James Hounslow

Published date: 2020/04


You might be aware, I recently had the pleasure of sitting down virtually with three hugely knowledgeable personalities; Simon Hartley, Floyd Woodrow, and Gordon Stoddard. We spent an hour talking over some of the challenges Seniors Sales Leaders have in the world today. Throughout our time together, we covered three topics but today I want to focus on the first topic: How to motivate your sales staff during isolation. Having spoken to so many senior leaders over the past four weeks, I know this is at the forefront of many minds. Being a sales leader myself, I was looking forward to getting helpful hints and tips. Ten minutes into the call, I was firmly reminded that nothing had really changed. Simon made a very poignant observation that location should not change motivation; motivation really is not about proximity. 

Simon continued to add, it is about understanding the business’ WHY. As leaders we can be great at communicating WHAT they need to do and HOW to do it but forget to give the WHY. The WHY is often describe as what brings out the motivational behaviour in individuals.

Gordon spoke passionately about really getting to know your staff right now, you will learn more about them as individuals than ever before, and you need to know and understand them. This will give you their WHY. If you didn’t know their WHY before, now is the time to find it out and align their WHY with what the business and the team are looking to achieve. 

The WHY is what will drive some to carry out tasks, without you watching over their shoulder, it’s why someone chooses to do something without any consequences attached to it, Simon said.

Floyd continued this point on, talking about how both you and your team should know what their Super North Star is and I love this. The concept of having a compass for life is one I find so fascinating. The North Star is your Why, what are you trying to achieve from a personal and a professional life.

As a leader, you really need to know and understand your team’s personality types and what drives them as individuals. You, as a leader, need to then think how you can enhance this and then, of course it goes without saying, what is the plan?

The team need to know the plan, the guidelines need to be clear what is expected of them for the next week, month and quarter.

What’s your Super North Star, where are you coming from and business and personal prospectus?
Understanding people, personality types, what really drives them as an individual. Timescale of 2-3-5 years should still be clear nothing has changed from this.
If it’s not clear when you go into chaos, then it is even more chaotic.
What’s driving you forward what are you passionate about and how can you enhance that and then the plan? 
What are the milestones you need to hit this week this month this quarter?
How do we work together within the guidelines to achieve the targets?

Motivation is increased with achievements. It releases endorphins that makes people feel great and resilient. Floyd finished by saying, keep the plan simple no matter how chaotic it gets, the simple plan does not change, keep sight of your Super North Star.

I hope this helps you as leaders, I’ve certainly taken some key points to take away. Gordon, Floyd and Simon have all said they are open to talking people over zoom or phone to give any further help on this.