Sales Leadership that Produces a Loyal Sales Team

April 13, 2015

Editor’s note: This is the third post in a series on creating a high-performance sales culture, building up to a free webinar with Michael Hanna on 4/15 at noon ET. Click here to register.

It is often said that sales is the single most difficult role in a company. It is also the most rewarding. Not because of the money (though that certainly helps), but because of the joy of helping others by introducing genuine solutions that make a measurable difference in the life of the customer.

The ultimate challenge of the sales leader is to find ways to motivate their sales reps to perform at their best. This only happens when they are selling whole-heartedly. Loyalty is the single greatest asset in developing a sales team that will persevere and succeed. It needs to be established in the very fabric of your company’s sales culture. The key is in the following statement:

People commit to a company by contracts and compensation, but they are loyal to a leader by love and legacy.


Contract + Compensation = Commitment

The moment your sales rep signs an employment contract you have their commitment for their work and their time. In exchange, you pay them a salary, plus commissions for their results. That alone can be good enough if your company is selling a simple commodity, but if you are working complex sales and trying to convey a compelling vision, then you need your sales reps to be creative, persistent, and willing to take risks and make sacrifices. You need than just commitment. You need loyalty.

Love + Legacy = Loyalty

People are loyal to two things:

  1. Leaders who care about them: this provides a sense of safety.
  2. A vision and chance to contribute to a legacy: this provides a sense of significance.

10 Keys to Winning Your Sales Reps’ Loyalty

Safety and significance are critical basic needs, especially in an environment as high-risk as sales. If your sales reps can honestly make the following statements about your leadership, then you are winning their loyalty:

  1. She looks out for me and provides everything I need to succeed.
  2. He appreciates and believes in me.
  3. She provides easy access to the right resources at the right time.
  4. He pays me well.
  5. She keeps me ethically accountable, thus upholding our company’s reputation.
  6. When we go through rough times, he remains present and actively engaged.
  7. She shelters me from unnecessary drama, and covers my back when I mess up.
  8. He acknowledges me publically, in front of my peers and competitors.
  9. She positions me for promotion.
  10. My association with him causes people to treat me with respect.

There’s No Place Like Home

The average sales person dedicates at least 50% of their waking hours to their company. It is literally their second home. Establish loyalty in that home and you will be amazed at what your sales team can accomplish. They will sell whole-heartedly. Their passion will be contagious. They will make your company irresistible.

Photo by Michael Barker Studio

Founder & Principal

Michael has led revenue operations at some of the world's fastest growing technology companies, including Shopify, Intuit, Clio and Eloqua (now Oracle Marketing Cloud). He is known for his ability to develop high-impact leaders, and align customer-facing teams to deliver sustainable revenue growth. Michael is happily married to Dana Hanna, his co-founder and wife of 23 years. They founded Hanna Strategy to help companies grow and leaders mature to their next level of impact. He offers coaching for Founders and Revenue Leaders, and consulting for B2B companies looking to systematize their revenue growth.