8 years ago
April 13, 2016

How to Manage a De-Motivated Sales Person

In this article, we’ll discuss just a few ways you can manage a de-motivated sales person and see beneficial results.

Rhys Metler

Handling a de-motivated sales person can be a difficult task for a sales manager. There are any number of circumstances that can lead to a de-motivated sales person, and only a small fraction of those lay within your control–personal issues, health issues, and other problems are simply beyond your ability to tackle directly. That doesn’t mean your hands are tied in those situations, though–whatever may be causing your worker’s slump, you can always work to motivate them with a handful of simple tactics. In this article, we’ll discuss just a few ways you can manage a de-motivated sales person and see beneficial results.

Recognize Achievements.

Perhaps the simplest way to motivate any employee, including a de-motivated sales person. Recognizing the achievements of your team will encourage them to make the effort. This might mean spending a bit more time getting to know your team as a whole and staring at team metrics in your analytics program of choice, but the morale gain will be worth the time investment. Even something as simple as a “Nice job with those cold call numbers, I know they stress you out” can give a huge boost to a de-motivated sales person, delivered at the right time.

Reward Success.

This isn’t quite the same thing as giving a pat on the back for a job well done. Rewarding success means understanding how to recognize success and working to incentivize it, financially or otherwise. A team member who doesn’t feel that they’re rewarded for a job well done over one haphazardly done will quickly become a de-motivated sales person. Tie rewards to the right metrics, make sure your team understands the goals you want them to hit, and you’ll see gains in morale across the board.

Offer Personal Coaching.

Personal coaching is perhaps the single most flexible tool in any sales manager’s bag. A de-motivated sales person will get double benefits from the experience. First, they’ll gain whatever benefits you might convey to anyone you coach–improvements in technique and tactics can work wonders, even if they’re not deployed at full morale. Secondly, the one-on-one attention of a superior (if not delivered as a punishment, but as a reward or part of normal operations), will serve to boost morale for most employees.

Don’t Compound the Problem.

So long as you don’t do anything to make the problem worse, a de-motivated sales person will often throw off their funk in their own time and get back to their normal performance levels. That makes it especially important that you avoid demoralizing behaviors–whatever the initial trigger of a sales person’s de-motivation, piling more on top of them will make things worse. Here are some key things to avoid:

  • Using the Wrong Metrics–If you’re looking at the wrong numbers in judging team performance, you’ll probably end up with more than one de-motivated sales person on your team. Especially if you have poorly implemented incentive programs built on those metrics.
  • Public Criticism–Think it will help others avoid making the same mistake? It won’t. Mostly, it will just de-motivate your whole team.
  • Ignoring Feedback–When your team tells you something, listen and respond. Even worse, if you solicit opinions and ideas and never follow up, your team won’t feel respected.
  • Unreasonable Expectations–Know what your team can do and ask them to do it. Don’t ask them for unreasonable outcomes, because all you’re doing is breeding stress and/or resentment.
  • Threats–Threats make employees angry and afraid. Angry, afraid employees don’t produce good work. The ones that do will be looking to do that good work for a different employer.

Micromanagement–Sitting on every sales person’s shoulder giving advice on every task leaves them feeling distrusted and undervalued, a sure-fire way to end up with a de-motivated sales person or five.


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.