Dear SaaStr:How do you motivate your sales team after a tough month?

It’s definitely a challenge to keep the sales team in the game once things … slow down a lot.

Because everyone in sales knows. They know if the competition is getting stronger. If the new VP of Sales isn’t good enough. If the outages are getting worse.

Still, a few thoughts on what to do to get the team through a rough patch:

  • Deliver a killer feature to sales. Sales loves a “10x feature” that the customers have been begging for. One they can win deals with. This almost always inspires the team. Go build one, that they also agree needs to be built. Go finally just build the #1 feature they have been asking for.  It at least gives the team hope you are going to deliver for them.  More here: The 10x Feature is Real. At Least, for a While. What’s Yours? | SaaStr
  • Promote your #1 rep. Usually, even in a rough patch, your #1 rep is still doing reasonably well. Promote her to team lead or even director — if she wants it and can do the job. That shows the team you are investing in your winners.
  • Ask. Your sales team does nothing else every day. Ask them how to do a little bit better. You’ll hear a lot of noise … but they do know.  A lot of the feedback you hear will be too short-term focused.  They’ll be all-consumed with why they lost a deal from last week.  But synthesize all the feedback, and you’ll both learn something — and let the team know you are listening and care.
  • Get them more leads. Go hire a true VP of Demand Gen. 2x the leads at even the same lead equality = more sales. That alone will help, and it will show the team you are doing something that will clearly help.  More here: Hire the Right Type of VP Marketing — Or You’ll Just End Up With a Bunch of Blue Pens with Your Logo On Them | SaaStr
  • Modestly reset the plan — once. If the plan was too aggressive, it’s OK to modestly reset it once. This doesn’t solve the underlying issues. But it’s a one-time stress reliever for the team. One time only, though.
  • Let the 1–2 worst reps go. It may sound counterintuitive, but this almost always helps during a rough patch.  Why? Well, you re-route their leads to better reps. And revenue almost automatically goes up when you do that. It’s basic math.  Your top reps will close a lot more from each lead.   It also sends a signal to the team that you can’t skate by. If you have 1–2 reps that simply can’t close, everyone also knows that. It undermines morale to keep paying them in tougher times if everyone knows they aren’t improving. Better fewer good reps, sharing more leads, at least for now. A bit more here: Why a Great Rep Can Close 9x More Than a Poor Rep, and 2.5x More Than a Good Rep and here: 5 Simple Tips to Improve How You Allocate Leads (In The Early-ish Days) | SaaStr 
  • Focus on driving NPS up this quarter — and each quarter thereafter. This doesn’t magically make the sales team happier. But it’s another goal that, over the course of the next 12 months, will drive sales up, especially upgrades. More here: I Was Wrong. NPS is A Great Core Metric. | SaaStr
  • Lead from the front. Go get on more jets. Invite customers to the office. Start doing a weekly customer webinar — THIS WEEK. Don’t hide from bad sales. Go help the team. Go visit all your top customers. Plan your first customer conference. Start doing a weekly webinar now, and lead it yourself. Webinars Almost Always Work | SaaStr

Make 3–4 incremental improvements. They’ll compound. And if nothing else, you should close more sales after that. Maybe not enough. But more.

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