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Leading Under COVID-19: 4 Ways to Strengthen Your Sales Team

Leading Under COVID-19: 4 Ways to Strengthen Your Sales Team

Working in sales is like no other career. More than colleagues, a good sales team is like family — one that sometimes knows more about you than your own family!

My own sales team is loud, energetic and just a little quirky. More than anything, we’re there for each other. We lift one another up through great times and challenging times, like the current unplanned staycation COVID-19 has imposed on us.

If you’re anything like me, you miss seeing your “sales fam” in the flesh. It was really tough to realize that we weren’t going to be in the same room for a while.

What I didn’t expect was that after a few weeks, I’d actually feel more connected with my sales team than I ever did before. Really.

Sure, some of this is because technologies like Zoom make it possible to see them and talk to them every day. Technology only gets you halfway there, though.

If you’re struggling to keep your sales team sane, connected and motivated through this crazy time, I’ve got your back. Here’s what’s been working for my team:

1. Have a “one team, one mission” mindset

“One Team, One Mission” is one of our Great Place to Work® company values, and our team demonstrates it every day.

It’s important that each team member receives and feels the support that we all need to succeed. So we:

  • Celebrate wins big and small
  • Stay connected daily
  • Build each other up
  • Support like crazy

When you do these things, it helps create sales teams that are united, collaborate often and celebrate each other. This will help them perform at their highest caliber even at your most challenging times.

Our sales team here at Great Place to Work has found fun new ways to stay connected: sharing Tiger King memes, daily morning check-ins that include furballs, call support, and sharing best practices.

2. Level up

Of course, keeping your sales team strong isn’t all about fun and memes. The best salespeople are continuously finding ways to improve their game. A few ideas: 

  • Read up on your company’s recent blogs and product roadmaps
  • Fine-tune your pitch and messaging
  • Check in with other departments to see how you can help them and learn from them. For example, you may be able to help the marketing team by providing feedback on the latest campaigns.

However you decide to level up, your future sales will thank you.

3. Tap into your motivational “spidey sense”

Even the most enthusiastic salesperson still needs a little external motivation now and then…and now more than ever.

Motivation is not something you can apply in a one-size-fits-all way. Different teams and people will respond to different approaches. I personally prefer a high energy chant to end a team meeting, while others are more reserved and like positive affirmation on a job well done.

You know your people more than anyone else, so use that knowledge and your intuition to encourage and challenge them in a way that resonates.

4. Out with the old, in with the new

Marie Kondo called; she said your pipelines need spring cleaning. Are you still selling like you were pre-pandemic? Stop it. Stop it now. Nobody wants to hear, "So Susan, ready to buy?". Unprecedented times are just that - unprecedented. This new "normal" needs a new lens:

  • Show empathy. While everyone is going through the same thing, everyone is experiencing it differently. Take the first five minutes of your call or first email to say, "how the heck are ya?" "How are your people?" Remember, there's a human on the other side of the phone line, probably feeling the same uncertainty you are right now. Check in and be human.  
  • Focus on the value you bring. How can your product or services help your customers now? Chances are your customers' pains and priorities have shifted - pivot with them towards their goals. 
  • Don't sell alone. Take customer feedback to your leadership and see what can be approved to support your new way of selling. For example: In lieu of the crisis some budgets have been put on hold. So, Great Place to Work is offering a 90-day payment plan where companies can start with us now and pay later to support their new timelines. 

Keep pushing, keep closing, keep optimistic

This is all temporary, my friends. We'll get through this COVID-19 crisis and come out stronger than ever. I'm looking forward to that moment, and I'm sure you are, too.

Hang in there and remember to show up for yourself and your people.

For more advice on leading your team through the coronavirus pandemic, see our COVID-19 resource center.


Sheila Kelly