100 Ways Sales Professionals Say Leaders Can Help Their Teams (Survey Research)


We recently published the results of a survey of 207 U.S.-based sales professionals that identified the top 20 attributes of a successful salesperson. In that same survey, we also asked this open-ended question:


What is one thing you think sales leaders can do to help their team members become more successful?

A whopping 197 respondents wrote in to share their answers. Some of the answers were very personal and focused on the respondent’s sales environment at the moment they took the survey. Other answers are broad and applicable to sales organizations of all sizes.

Interestingly, three words were used in the text responses more commonly than any others. Those words were “training,” “support” and “listen.” The volume around these words suggests widespread consensus among the rank-and-file around these responses.

We’ve gone through every response – eliminating duplicates – and selected a representative sample of responses to list here. The responses in bold are some of those answers that stood out to us as especially relevant or unique.

1. “Through training.”

2. “One-on-one feedback and support.”

3. “More collaboration and listening to other ideas.”

4. “Listen to the needs.”

5. “Create goals for them.”

6. “One-on-one feedback and support.”

7. “Ensure great customer service.”

8. “Teach them to embrace change by proving success with change initiatives.”

9. “Good training, role-playing, and encouragement.”

10. “Ask nothing you would not ask yourself to do.”

11. “Kindness in interactions.”

12. “Work together.” 

13. “Foster good communication between and among all players.”

14. “Give positive words of encouragement daily.”

14. “Incentivize performance.”

16. “Offer positivity and support.”

17. “Instill confidence.”

18. “Coaching on new ways to communicate.”

19. “Give them autonomy to make decisions.”

20. “Positive thinking.”

21. “Be responsible if you made the wrong decision admit it.”

22. “Share ideas.”

23. “More collaboration and listening to other ideas.”

24. “Hire people that really care and pay them well.”

25. “Communicate.”

26. “Sales leaders can require role-playing so each team member can articulate key questions to uncover opportunities and articulate value to the potential customer.”

27. “Help them along the way until they get confident in what they are doing.”

28. “Be very supportive but also be a good motivator.”

29. “Stay active in sales and less active in management.”

30. “A leader needs to be ‘down in the trenches’ with the agents, at least once a week. This will help the leaders better understand what the agents are experiencing.”

31. “Allow them the freedom to find what works best for them.”

32. “Have their backs and support them when things go wrong.”

33. “Show leadership and confidence.”

34. “Put importance on creativity.”

35. “Support them when times are tough.”

36. “Help them with leads.”

37. “Give them tools to succeed.”

38. “Teach them to focus on the customer, not their paycheck.”

39. “Provide motivational coaching.”

40. “Be honest.”

41. “Higher pay.”

42. “Be leaders not bosses.”

43. “Good teaching/preparing.”

44. “Challenge their assumptions.” 

45. “Lead by example.”

46. “Demonstrate great sales skills.”

47. “Give one-on-one coaching to strategize, review and encourage.”

48. “Share knowledge of the product.”

49. “Listen to what team members have to say about sales.”

50. “Offer them higher cuts of what they sell.”

51. “Be flexible.”

52. “Trust them to do the right thing.”

53. “Let them grow on their own with little micromanagement.”

54. “Educate them on the product. They need to know all the ‘ins and outs’ and can explain exactly why people can't live without your product.”

55. “Working harder.”

56. “Offer more training and mentoring.”

57. “Teach them proper closing strategies, not hard-sell techniques.”

58. “Give them realistic goals and find ways to boost their self-confidence.”

59. “Be empathetic.”

60. “Give them opportunities that are challenging and rewarding.”

61. “Be hands-on.”

62. “Remove any obstacles to their success.”

63. “Be consistent with engaging with his or her team and how to build revenue.”

64. “Stop pushing for numbers, it creates toxicity in the workplace. Healthy competition is good until it is not.”

65. “Provide positive reinforcement and continuous training. Do not beat people down. Reinforce the good things they do and work on the negative in a positive way.”

66. “Motivate them by providing small goals they can reach and give bonuses for reaching them.”

67. “Teach their team to understand that you aren't dealing with walking wallets but humans who have emotions and needs.”

68. “Provide real, unfiltered answers/solutions to get to the core of everything.” 

69. “Always be available.”

70. “Be adaptable to employees and their unique needs.”

71. “Introduce them to buyers.”

72. “Give them the room to figure it out on their own.”

73. “Appreciate all efforts.”

74. “Team building.”

75. “Listen to them. Aggregation of intelligence from the front lines is an important variable when it comes to successfully meeting customer needs. Top-down doesn’t scale.”

76. “Show a good example of what they want.”

77. “Share sales tips.”

78. “I think they can give them tips and tools to selling their specific products or services to help make their team as successful as possible.”

79. “Have patience and explain things instead of assuming someone knows.”

80. “Confidence is the best character to grow things.”

81. “Offer more thorough on-the-job training.”

82. “Give them time after they have the proper training to develop on their own.”

83. “Training, training, training.”

84. “Give better training on how to have a meaningful conversation.”

85. “Train them to be able to do everything you know how to do.”

86. “Treat them with compassion and dignity.”

87. “Collaborate and strategize. Leaders are leaders for a reason, hopefully, they have been in our shoes. The more we learn why they think how they think, the more successful we will be.”

88. “Support, train, and don't put pressure on them.”

89. “Listen to the customer and their needs and wants and their ability to pay.”

90. “Pay them enough and treat them like humans instead of tools.”

91. “Keep your team’s best interest in mind, always.”

92. “Think long-term.”

93. “Emphasize following up with customers.”

94. “Help them to overcome objections effectively and win the sale.”

95. “Help them overcome any anxiety about selling products or teach them tricks.”

96. “Teach them basics of psychology.”

97. “People feed off your confidence and if you are confident in your product customers will be inspired.”

98. “Go step by step in developing their own personal skills when it comes to salesmanship.”

99. “Offer training videos and training exercises.”

100. “Develop a program to show some successful techniques.”


* * *

In the initial findings about sales attributes, one respondent said successful salespeople need all of the attributes listed. Similarly, on this question about what leaders can do to help their teams – another respondent remarked that leaders need all of those attributes as well.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
The 3 Types of Sales Coaching: Self, Peer and Leader-Led

Latest resources

Voted #1 in Conversation Intelligence platform on G2

top 50