Creating a successful sales team is about learning how to empower reps to grow into their role and beyond. When your reps feel empowered by their environment, they are more likely to blossom in their position. A supportive atmosphere allows them to think bigger about their individual career trajectory.
As the current Sales Director at GetAccept, I’ve accumulated a few vital pieces of advice on how to motivate sales teams & empower reps. I wanted to share with you what I’ve learned throughout my own experience so you can empower your own sales team.
1. Start with building your team
When a company is scaling quickly, you end up doing a lot of recruiting. My advice is to hire by attitude & trained skills. You can’t train an attitude, so find the person with the right mindset for the role.
To be completely honest, it was sort of by coincidence that I started working in sales. I've always been quite good at influencing people. Plus, I have a strong determination which I think is imperative when working in the field.
As a sales leader, these kinds of characteristics are important to recognize in your applicants right away. It might not always be the most obvious candidate that ends up being a strong addition to your team.
Don’t simply seek out an identical copy to your current best sales rep. Instead, identify the different strengths within your team and ask yourself questions like:
- What would be best for my team?
- Which piece do I need to complete the puzzle?
- What type of seller would make my team more well-rounded?
- Is there a personality that’s missing from my current team?
Something to keep in mind is that there are two types of people: ones that like change and ones that dislike change. Seek out those who choose optimism over pessimism when it comes to being open to potential growth opportunities.
Personally, I see everything as an opportunity. I'm always open to having the chance to learn something new. As a sales leader, it’s important to create a team that is also open to new opportunities. Especially if your sales team and company are scaling quickly.
2. Support your reps
While you are building your team, you also need to know how to nurture your reps. You want them to feel ready and able to grow in their current position as well as have confidence in their future.
Lead the way
One of the best characteristics of a supportive sales manager is leading the way with confidence and agility. Be the best possible example for your reps. Show your team that they can feel secure with you at the lead.
At GetAccept, if we have a hard time finding the right deals, I take the lead and make sales calls alongside my reps. Acting as a leader who can also jump in when needed means you get the team on board with you.
It’s so important to remember not to lead every rep in the same way. You must adjust your leadership style to the individual and to the specific goals in their role.
Build trust within your team
Trust is a key component to leading a successful team and encouraging your reps to cultivate their talent. In fact, based on many studies by neuroeconomist Paul J. Zak about the importance of trust within workplaces, they found that people at “high-trust companies” report:
- 74% less stress
- 106% more energy at work
- 50% higher productivity
- 13% fewer sick days
- 76% more engagement
- 40% less burnout
As the sales leader, trust can be shown by delegating different tasks to reps. Don’t just tell your team that you trust them to do their work — show them that you don’t feel they need your help at every turn. Autonomy instills confidence, so allow your team to work without micromanaging their progress.
Encourage their individual path
I always support reps moving along in their career, even if they move to different teams.
When you create an environment where people feel supported to grow regardless of where they go, you end up attracting great talent consistently. If one of my reps moves on, then it means I’ve done well at helping them grow into the next phase in their career.
The bottom line is: you can’t control everything, so let your reps work. Remember that you are here for their sake. As their leader, show that you will help them become who they want to be and create a career plan together.
3. Keep Remote Teams Motivated
I think it’s safe to say that it’s been quite an adjustment moving into this new remote or hybrid work system. However, having a solid structure is important to keep the sales team motivated through these changes. Here are some ways to ensure your reps are feeling empowered and creating a healthy work-life balance:
Have consistent morning check-ins
In the mornings, check in with your team before they start their day. On my team, I make sure one person is responsible for the check-in each day. (Another example of delegating tasks!). Not only does this set everyone up with a consistent work structure, but it can also help support any reps who may need more assistance with the remote environment.
Be supportive of individual schedules
Remote schedules are going to look different than in-office schedules and that’s ok! As their leader, be aware of what your reps need and encourage them to take time away from their desk.
For example, I tell my reps to take a longer lunch if they want to go for a run on their break.
Supporting reps by encouraging them to take care of their health, both mental and physical, creates a stronger remote culture. Plus, it establishes even more trust within the team because their sales leader is trusting their ability to manage their own time.
Be present as much as possible
Being available to your remote reps can be a challenge. If it’s possible, try and meet up with your reps in person on a regular basis.
Back at the beginning of remote work, I actually drove to each of my reps and physically took them out for a walk in the middle of the workday. Even this small gesture showed them that I cared about their wellbeing and wanted to hear honest feedback on how they were feeling.
Now I know not everyone is close enough to their remote reps to drive to each of them! But the main points are to:
- Be personal with your reps
- Set up recurring 1:1 meetings
- Prioritize consistent face time (even if it’s virtual)
The time you put into being present for your reps is imperative for their growth and advancement.
4. Understand your growth as a Leader
Along with empowering your reps, you also need to check in on how you are performing as their sales leader and coach.
When you are consistently reviewing your success as a leader, you are instilling the idea within your team that there is always room to improve along the way. Your reps will be more inclined to be open to their development as well.
In my experience, these are some of the best ways to ensure success as a sales leader while also motivating and empowering your sales team:
1. Be open to help
My best advice is to be open to asking for and receiving help.
Some people think it's a weakness to ask for help, but I think it's a strength. It’s important to have different avenues when asking for help as well. One person is never going to be the authority in everything, so seek help from the experts in their field!
Reach out internally to colleagues, managers, or your HR/People department for help on specific workplace topics. External mentors can also help give you fresh perspectives regarding these questions or concerns.
I meet with my external mentor once a month where we discuss an array of different topics and situations. It gives me a lot of energy in my work, but also confirmation that I am doing many things right.
When seeking help, be ready to open yourself up. You can’t just say “I want a mentor”. You have to know why and what you are hoping to receive from it.
This behavior also trickles down to your team. Cultivate an environment that normalizes asking for help and seeking out answers.
2. Ask for feedback
There’s a huge difference between being a leader and a boss. If your reps see you as a supportive leader, they will be more willing to give you honest feedback. So, ask the necessary questions when you have your 1:1 meetings:
- Do I support you in a good way?
- What else do you need from me as your manager?
- What can I do better?
- Is this current structure working for you?
Of course, you can also review your KPIs to receive hard feedback from a data standpoint. However, in my experience, these other questions are more important to look at in the long run.
If your team is on board with you, as a result of your willingness to accept feedback, then your reps are more likely to progress with the same mentality.
3. Celebrate success together
As the sales leader, you want to create an environment where everyone is fighting for each other. Here at GetAccept, we call this ‘Team Wins’. We win and lose as a team.
It's so important to show that you are interested in your team as humans. Create a thoughtful environment. Show that you are in control, but are not intending on micromanaging their day-to-day work.
Don’t forget to always be clear. Work with clarity in regards to expectations and instructions. Humans love clarity because it creates structure. So lead with clarity and transparency to cultivate an environment that supports growth and job satisfaction.
4. Instill a work-life balance
Maybe this is an odd one but if you don't have a hobby, make sure to get one. Work-life balance is so essential. We need to constantly reload with new energy by cutting off and doing something totally different. Otherwise, it's easy to end up working too much.
In addition, don't be caught by your calendar. If you are always getting flooded with invitations, you end up having eight or nine meetings a day. You don't have the possibility to be proactive or organize how you structure your day.
Encourage your reps — and lead by example — to create blocks in their calendar. Say no to different meetings. Block time for reflection, training, or a discussion with a colleague. Blocking off the calendar allows everyone to be a master of their own time.
Empowering and motivating your reps is all about patience. Oftentimes, growth takes time, and reminding yourself of this will keep you calm throughout your own journey.
Lead your team with clarity and trust. With these attributes in mind, you will encourage and cultivate your sales team to greater levels of success. Remember that it is not a failure if your rep moves on, even to a different company. It means you have been fortunate enough to help them grow.
Celebrate the small victories and be open to opportunities that come your way. When you maintain this perspective and lead by example, you are able to consistently and successfully empower your sales team.