7 years ago
February 21, 2017

5 Sales Training Tips for Your Unmotivated Sales Team

An unmotivated sales team isn’t good for business. As sales manager, it’s your job to light a fire under your reps. Use these sales training tips.

Rhys Metler


Your sales team might be filled with superstars, but even the best sales professionals get unmotivated from time to time. Maybe they’ve been hearing too much rejection to want to keep trying hard. Maybe they’re just not getting the incentives they need to work harder. It’s up to you as their sales manager to get them motivated again. It’s your job to train your reps to meet their sales targets and generate enough revenue for your company. An unmotivated sales team will underperform, which will hurt your sales organization’s bottom line.

Use these sales training tips in order to motivate a sales team that is slacking.

1. Ditch the Punishment/Reward System

Fundamentally, motivation is driven by need. Though some needs are external, like money, others are internal, like acceptance. If you use a punishment-reward system you’re only meeting or denying external needs, and only on a short-term basis. This isn’t effective. The most consistent and effective motivation is driven by internal needs, which are psychological desires. In the long run, focusing on your reps’ internal needs, like their need to be praised by upper management, their need to work on projects that they enjoy, their need for freedom and flexibility, and their need to improve their skills and their careers will be more effective than offering them a monetary prize here and there.

2. Know Your Reps as Individuals

Each one of your sales reps will be motivated by different needs. Part of your sales training should be to get to know all of your reps on an individual basis in order to better understand what drives them and what they need to become more productive and more motivated.

Though individual sales training might seem more time consuming, it’s also more effective. The more you know about your reps, the better chance you have of being able to incentivize them in the right way. Maybe it’s recognition, prestige, flexibility, or something else. Figure it out and you’ll be able to motivate each rep appropriately.

Match Projects with the Right Sales People

If you had to take care of a project that you found tedious, boring, or even too difficult, you’d be demoralized and unmotivated too. When assigning projects, find the right match that sparks a rep’s interest. A sales rep who doesn’t like to prospect won’t want to take on the job of finding new business in a new market. A sales rep who doesn’t like writing reports won’t enjoy being assigned the task of creating monthly sales presentations. Understand what interests your reps have and then try to give them work that will actually be appealing and exciting to them, so they’ll work harder and give it their best shot.

Give Your Sales Team Autonomy

Micromanaging is rarely effective in sales training. Instead, to motivate your employees to perform better, offer structure that supports employee autonomy. Don’t take away all of your employees’ choices. Give them some freedom to go after the clients they want to seek out, to spin a sales call in an innovative way, or to perform their jobs in the way that works for them. The result will be a highly motivated, more productive sales team that enjoys higher job satisfaction.

Recognize and Praise

Regardless of what your individual reps’ internal motivations are, everyone can benefit from recognition and praise for a job well done. Of course your sales team will be unmotivated if you’re constantly criticizing the way they work. If they can’t do anything right, then why try at all? Celebrate small wins as well as big ones. A simple thumbs up, a quick email of congratulations on a closed sale, or a public recognition of excellent work can go a long way to motivating your team to work harder.

These five sales training tips can light a fire under your sales reps. Be a strong sales manager and start motivating your team.


Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.