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How To Inspire A Sales Team

December 18, 2020
by
Kyle Vamvouris
Inspired Sales Team

The role of a sales team is tough -- it is full of rejection, aggressive metrics, high stress, and intense pressure. 

Needless to say, keeping morale high is a must if you want your team to be high performing. 

In this article, I’ll share with you all of my BEST tips on how to inspire a sales team. 

Know What Motivates And Inspires Each Sales Rep 

Understanding your team is the first step towards inspiring them. Obviously, we all enjoy money, but there is a lot more that can inspire people. 

Every person is unique and will need different rewards and recognition to inspire them towards the goals at hand. 

Listen to this: I was the 24th hire at a startup company and was the first sales manager. My role was to scale their SDR team. 

The first group of SDRs I hired all had their own tactics for becoming inspired. My team was made up of an international policy expert, an Alaskan snowmobile racer, a capital investment analyst, and a kid who almost flunked out of college because his kidney exploded.

As you can imagine, each rep needed something different from me.

The best way to find out what motivates each of your team members the most is to understand their personal goals on a deeper level. This will give you insights into who they are as a person, and what drives them. 

I find that directly asking each team member what their personal goals are during a one on one meeting is best. Most of the time helping to hold a team member accountable is all that is needed to achieve their goals. 

That said, crossing the bridge between work goals and personal goals is a great idea because team members will be significantly more motivated at work if they are in a positive and uplifting environment that supports both their in-work and outside work lives.

A positive and uplifting environment is exactly what your team needs to align with your company culture and stay for longer. Think of it this way, if an employee of yours has a goal to show up to the gym 4 days per week consistently, helping them achieve that equates to a better and healthier life. 

A better life outside of work means a better life inside of work. 

Action Step: Understand your team member’s personal goals and what motivates them at work.

Rally The Sales Team By Inspiring Them To Achieve Big Goals In Small Bites

As fun as talking about big long term goals can be, focusing on them every day is not helpful. This is because the size of massive goals can be intimidating. Let me explain.

One month with this same SDR team, we had a week left to hit our quota, and we were super far behind. Morale was down and despite my efforts of cheering up the team, they felt down on their luck. Then motivation came in the most unexpected way possible...

In an ‘all hands’ meeting, my boss was giving his update and said: "As for the SDR team, they are not going to get close to hitting quota this month."

After picking my jaw up from the floor, I said "Don't count us out! Does it look like we will hit quota? No. Not even close. But what I can tell you is that if ANY team can do it, it’s this one. Do NOT count us out."

The next morning, I called a team meeting with all of my SDR’s and discussed what had happened the day before. 

After this 10 minute meeting, we decided that we were going to make them eat their own words.

Never have I ever seen a team so fired up! We were laughing, cheering, and booking more meetings than ever before. On this day, we set our record for most meetings booked in a day, then the next day we booked even more meetings!!

So get this, on the last day of the month when the final bell rang, we were all fired up, happy, and celebrating.

Guess what? We were short 1 meeting. It didn’t matter, against all odds we had come back from a losing streak and demonstrated what we were made of. 

After this experience, I realized the value of knowing how to inspire a sales team by sitting them down for 10 minutes each morning and reminding them why we are doing this. I would point out previous successes and potential successes in the near future. Then we discussed how many cold calls and emails we were going to send that day. After each 10 minute meeting, they had small and actionable daily goals. 

Think of it this way, if I sat my SDR team down every morning and told them that today’s goal was to grow our revenue by 600%, they would have been intimated and not productive. 

How are you supposed to accomplish that? If we focus on solely growing 600%, we would not have any action based goals to strive for.

Action Step: Never stop motivating the team, remind them of recent accomplishments.

Break Down Quarterly Goals Into Daily Activity To Focus On

The daily goals that I discuss every morning in our team meetings lead to the monthly and quarterly goals. 

This makes each SDR and sales person able to understand what needs to be done for the day. And when you consistently hit your daily goals, you are able to achieve astronomical results in the long run. Like growing 600% and raising a $21M series B. (the full story of this impactful experience)

But doing that would have not been possible if we were focused on large audacious goals in the short run. 

Your big goals can be broken into smaller chunks to show the importance of hitting all the numbers each day. Also, it is a lot more motivating to know that each small goal we are hitting will be a stepping stone towards hitting a large goal. 

Action Step: Take whatever your quarter or annual goals are, and divide them by the number of days in that time frame. 

I know this sounds obvious, but it is easily overlooked and can have a tremendous impact. 

Celebrate Accomplishments And Redirect Focus On The Next Goal

Accomplishing anything feels great! 

But what makes accomplishing your goals feel even better, is to celebrate when they happen. It is completely OK to stop working early on a Friday to take the team out to dinner. Spending $30 per person on dinner can go a lot further than giving each person that same $30 bonus in their paycheck. (more on this later)

Celebrating is an important step in accomplishing goals. But taking advantage of the excitement and energy that comes with accomplishing a goal, and redirecting this energy towards the next goal is how to inspire a sales team.

Don’t allow the momentum to die down!

When your team is together and celebrating about how “we did it!” toss in the idea of “if we did this, what else are we capable of?!” 

Action Step: Carry the energy of one accomplishment onto the next goal. 

Use Stretch Goals With Prizes Attached (Not Cash)

A stretch goal with prizes attached is another way to motivate a team, but does not replace true inspiration. 

Also, using prizes instead of cash is more affordable. 

When a team has a tangible prize to accomplish something (like a dinner) it is more motivating for them to strive towards it. 

Taking the team out and spending $30 per person on dinner can go a lot further than giving each person that same $30 in their paycheck. Who doesn’t want to cut loose and party with their co-workers?

Here’s the catch, most prizes will give you twice the bang for ya buck. Seriously! They give a reason to push harder in the short run and the experience of winning the prize will create more comradery between the team in the long run. 

Dinner is always an easy and fun prize to strive for, but the best ideas of prizes to strive for come from the team. 

So ask your team, “what prizes make you the most excited?”

Or send out a survey and allow your team to create their own rewards. This will go a long way. 

Action Step: Let your team pick their own prizes that are attached to stretch goals. 

Highlight All Success Publically 

Don’t let any accomplishment go unnoticed. 

Did a new sales rep hit their quota for the first time? Congratulate them in front of the rest of the team during the next meeting!

When I hold my team meetings, we always highlight recent accomplishments, regardless of how small. 

I did this so each and every team member feels a large sense of accomplishment publicly when they achieve something. This will not only give more motivation to the accomplisher but also give the other team members more motivation to push themselves harder. All in all, this creates a productive and positive environment. 

After this experience, I always discuss recent successes and what is possible to accomplish in the near future. I never stop reminding the team of what we accomplished and challenging them to repeat it.

Action Step: Each day, point out recent accomplishments to continuously inspire your team.

Set Realistic Goals


Goal Setting


Shooting for the moon sounds cool, but having goals that are unrealistic is the enemy of inspiration. 

On the flip side, your team will know if you are handing them a goal that does not require much effort. 

*Imagine achieving a super-easy goal.*

What a letdown! Who wants to achieve something that is easy and not worthwhile? Not your sales team that’s for sure.

Don’t do this, they will see right through your unrealistic goals and not feel any sense of accomplishment. 

Instead, push your team to hit something that seems hard but is within reach. This will give them a larger sense of accomplishment when they reach their goal. 

Once you hit a realistic goal, you can use that momentum to continuously improve each quarter. 

But here’s the thing, if your team is striving for a goal that they will obviously not reach, set a new goal that is possible, but still challenging. 

You gotta be real with yourself and your team, if you need to lower the goal for this month, lower it. 

Action Step: Set realistic goals (don’t be afraid to change your goal!)

Summary of Action Steps

Action Step: Understand your team member’s personal goals and what motivates them at work.

Action Step: Never stop motivating the team, remind them of recent accomplishments.

Action Step: Take whatever your quarter or annual goals are, and divide them by the number of days in that time frame. 

Action Step: Carry the energy of one accomplishment onto the next goal. 

Action Step: Let your team pick their own prizes that are attached to stretch goals. 

Action Step: Each day, point out recent accomplishments to continuously inspire your team.

Action Step: Set realistic goals (don’t be afraid to change your goal!)

That’s A Wrap!

If this post helped you to learn how to inspire a sales team, let me know! Making sure my team has high motivation is one of my favorite things to do -- it’s both fulfilling and enjoyable.

And of course, reach out to me to discuss how to make your sales team sell even more!

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March 13, 2021

How To Inspire A Sales Team

Kyle Vamvouris

The role of a sales team is tough -- it is full of rejection, aggressive metrics, high stress, and intense pressure. 

Needless to say, keeping morale high is a must if you want your team to be high performing. 

In this article, I’ll share with you all of my BEST tips on how to inspire a sales team. 

Know What Motivates And Inspires Each Sales Rep 

Understanding your team is the first step towards inspiring them. Obviously, we all enjoy money, but there is a lot more that can inspire people. 

Every person is unique and will need different rewards and recognition to inspire them towards the goals at hand. 

Listen to this: I was the 24th hire at a startup company and was the first sales manager. My role was to scale their SDR team. 

The first group of SDRs I hired all had their own tactics for becoming inspired. My team was made up of an international policy expert, an Alaskan snowmobile racer, a capital investment analyst, and a kid who almost flunked out of college because his kidney exploded.

As you can imagine, each rep needed something different from me.

The best way to find out what motivates each of your team members the most is to understand their personal goals on a deeper level. This will give you insights into who they are as a person, and what drives them. 

I find that directly asking each team member what their personal goals are during a one on one meeting is best. Most of the time helping to hold a team member accountable is all that is needed to achieve their goals. 

That said, crossing the bridge between work goals and personal goals is a great idea because team members will be significantly more motivated at work if they are in a positive and uplifting environment that supports both their in-work and outside work lives.

A positive and uplifting environment is exactly what your team needs to align with your company culture and stay for longer. Think of it this way, if an employee of yours has a goal to show up to the gym 4 days per week consistently, helping them achieve that equates to a better and healthier life. 

A better life outside of work means a better life inside of work. 

Action Step: Understand your team member’s personal goals and what motivates them at work.

Rally The Sales Team By Inspiring Them To Achieve Big Goals In Small Bites

As fun as talking about big long term goals can be, focusing on them every day is not helpful. This is because the size of massive goals can be intimidating. Let me explain.

One month with this same SDR team, we had a week left to hit our quota, and we were super far behind. Morale was down and despite my efforts of cheering up the team, they felt down on their luck. Then motivation came in the most unexpected way possible...

In an ‘all hands’ meeting, my boss was giving his update and said: "As for the SDR team, they are not going to get close to hitting quota this month."

After picking my jaw up from the floor, I said "Don't count us out! Does it look like we will hit quota? No. Not even close. But what I can tell you is that if ANY team can do it, it’s this one. Do NOT count us out."

The next morning, I called a team meeting with all of my SDR’s and discussed what had happened the day before. 

After this 10 minute meeting, we decided that we were going to make them eat their own words.

Never have I ever seen a team so fired up! We were laughing, cheering, and booking more meetings than ever before. On this day, we set our record for most meetings booked in a day, then the next day we booked even more meetings!!

So get this, on the last day of the month when the final bell rang, we were all fired up, happy, and celebrating.

Guess what? We were short 1 meeting. It didn’t matter, against all odds we had come back from a losing streak and demonstrated what we were made of. 

After this experience, I realized the value of knowing how to inspire a sales team by sitting them down for 10 minutes each morning and reminding them why we are doing this. I would point out previous successes and potential successes in the near future. Then we discussed how many cold calls and emails we were going to send that day. After each 10 minute meeting, they had small and actionable daily goals. 

Think of it this way, if I sat my SDR team down every morning and told them that today’s goal was to grow our revenue by 600%, they would have been intimated and not productive. 

How are you supposed to accomplish that? If we focus on solely growing 600%, we would not have any action based goals to strive for.

Action Step: Never stop motivating the team, remind them of recent accomplishments.

Break Down Quarterly Goals Into Daily Activity To Focus On

The daily goals that I discuss every morning in our team meetings lead to the monthly and quarterly goals. 

This makes each SDR and sales person able to understand what needs to be done for the day. And when you consistently hit your daily goals, you are able to achieve astronomical results in the long run. Like growing 600% and raising a $21M series B. (the full story of this impactful experience)

But doing that would have not been possible if we were focused on large audacious goals in the short run. 

Your big goals can be broken into smaller chunks to show the importance of hitting all the numbers each day. Also, it is a lot more motivating to know that each small goal we are hitting will be a stepping stone towards hitting a large goal. 

Action Step: Take whatever your quarter or annual goals are, and divide them by the number of days in that time frame. 

I know this sounds obvious, but it is easily overlooked and can have a tremendous impact. 

Celebrate Accomplishments And Redirect Focus On The Next Goal

Accomplishing anything feels great! 

But what makes accomplishing your goals feel even better, is to celebrate when they happen. It is completely OK to stop working early on a Friday to take the team out to dinner. Spending $30 per person on dinner can go a lot further than giving each person that same $30 bonus in their paycheck. (more on this later)

Celebrating is an important step in accomplishing goals. But taking advantage of the excitement and energy that comes with accomplishing a goal, and redirecting this energy towards the next goal is how to inspire a sales team.

Don’t allow the momentum to die down!

When your team is together and celebrating about how “we did it!” toss in the idea of “if we did this, what else are we capable of?!” 

Action Step: Carry the energy of one accomplishment onto the next goal. 

Use Stretch Goals With Prizes Attached (Not Cash)

A stretch goal with prizes attached is another way to motivate a team, but does not replace true inspiration. 

Also, using prizes instead of cash is more affordable. 

When a team has a tangible prize to accomplish something (like a dinner) it is more motivating for them to strive towards it. 

Taking the team out and spending $30 per person on dinner can go a lot further than giving each person that same $30 in their paycheck. Who doesn’t want to cut loose and party with their co-workers?

Here’s the catch, most prizes will give you twice the bang for ya buck. Seriously! They give a reason to push harder in the short run and the experience of winning the prize will create more comradery between the team in the long run. 

Dinner is always an easy and fun prize to strive for, but the best ideas of prizes to strive for come from the team. 

So ask your team, “what prizes make you the most excited?”

Or send out a survey and allow your team to create their own rewards. This will go a long way. 

Action Step: Let your team pick their own prizes that are attached to stretch goals. 

Highlight All Success Publically 

Don’t let any accomplishment go unnoticed. 

Did a new sales rep hit their quota for the first time? Congratulate them in front of the rest of the team during the next meeting!

When I hold my team meetings, we always highlight recent accomplishments, regardless of how small. 

I did this so each and every team member feels a large sense of accomplishment publicly when they achieve something. This will not only give more motivation to the accomplisher but also give the other team members more motivation to push themselves harder. All in all, this creates a productive and positive environment. 

After this experience, I always discuss recent successes and what is possible to accomplish in the near future. I never stop reminding the team of what we accomplished and challenging them to repeat it.

Action Step: Each day, point out recent accomplishments to continuously inspire your team.

Set Realistic Goals


Goal Setting


Shooting for the moon sounds cool, but having goals that are unrealistic is the enemy of inspiration. 

On the flip side, your team will know if you are handing them a goal that does not require much effort. 

*Imagine achieving a super-easy goal.*

What a letdown! Who wants to achieve something that is easy and not worthwhile? Not your sales team that’s for sure.

Don’t do this, they will see right through your unrealistic goals and not feel any sense of accomplishment. 

Instead, push your team to hit something that seems hard but is within reach. This will give them a larger sense of accomplishment when they reach their goal. 

Once you hit a realistic goal, you can use that momentum to continuously improve each quarter. 

But here’s the thing, if your team is striving for a goal that they will obviously not reach, set a new goal that is possible, but still challenging. 

You gotta be real with yourself and your team, if you need to lower the goal for this month, lower it. 

Action Step: Set realistic goals (don’t be afraid to change your goal!)

Summary of Action Steps

Action Step: Understand your team member’s personal goals and what motivates them at work.

Action Step: Never stop motivating the team, remind them of recent accomplishments.

Action Step: Take whatever your quarter or annual goals are, and divide them by the number of days in that time frame. 

Action Step: Carry the energy of one accomplishment onto the next goal. 

Action Step: Let your team pick their own prizes that are attached to stretch goals. 

Action Step: Each day, point out recent accomplishments to continuously inspire your team.

Action Step: Set realistic goals (don’t be afraid to change your goal!)

That’s A Wrap!

If this post helped you to learn how to inspire a sales team, let me know! Making sure my team has high motivation is one of my favorite things to do -- it’s both fulfilling and enjoyable.

And of course, reach out to me to discuss how to make your sales team sell even more!