It's Not OK to Suck: How to Motivate Your Team for Sales Growth

Putting an Under-performing Sales Team is in the Spotlight

A couple of years ago, I was facilitating a sales meeting with a new client. With a history of mediocre sales performance, the sales team was complacent and had worked its way into a multi-year sales slump.

Early in our sales improvement process, the sales manager mentioned that in years past, she had a manager who made all of his sales reps answer the “help me/hurt me” question at the end of each month.  In other words, the sales rep was required to announce to the rest of the sales team whether their individual performance “helped” or “hurt” the success of the team/company that particular month.  (Fun, huh?)

The manager's approach was poor, but his intent was correct.  He was trying to create visibility and critical dialogue around sales strategy, activity, and performance.  His ultimate goal was to create traction, momentum and consistency.  It didn’t work, however, because he humiliated everyone on his team, clearly.

How about you? Do your sales reps answer the “help me/hurt me” question, although not in  that way? 

In order to perform consistently, you’ve got to have a sales team strategy in place that:

  • makes performance visible
  • creates critical dialogue
  • shares best practices
  • fuels continuous improvement and growth 

If this process is missing, you ain’t growing.

Using a Simple Formula for Sales Growth

In creating a high-performing sales culture and team, a sales manager must create team-wide visibility regarding both individual and the collective team's performance.  This has to be done weekly and monthly. 

A visible performance review creates positive peer pressure, and it also provides the individual sales reps with the opportunity to learn from each other, in other words, participating in success modeling.  When someone performs well, their sales results along with a couple key metrics, are visible to the entire team giving others the opportunity to learn from the top performers.

You simply can’t optimize performance when the critical details that created either the desired or undesired result aren’t visible; complacency and mediocre performance becomes the norm. 

A new client once initially described their corporate culture as a place where “it’s ok to suck”.  And suck they did; their company was in serious decline. To turn that around and to create the growth machine they are today, we created a healthy corporate culture that valued transparency, self-reflection, and critical dialogue. It’s no longer ok to suck at this company, and they now attract and retain the top talent within their industry and geographies. 

Their collective sales performance is stellar. And to ensure complacency never creeps in again, they’ve baked this simple formula into their corporate DNA: Visibility + Communications = Traction (up or out). 


My background

My career path started out at IBM before moving on to start, build and eventually sell two technology service companies. From there, I’ve been a global channel development partner, and personal/corporate achievement coach helping leaders and teams break through to the next level. 

Break Through

If you or your team needs help breaking through to the next level of performance, or if you have a friend who’d appreciate having access to me as their personal and/or corporate achievement coach, please reach out for a free discovery call or email me at

See what past and present clients have to say about our work together or check out additional blogs and podcasts .


Phil Mydlach

Phil Mydlach is a high-performance executive coach who shows people and companies how to break through to their next level of ability, growth, and performance. He partners with them as they lean into their edge to confront the fears that are holding them back.

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