Skip to content
9 min read

6 Ways Sales Leaders Steal from Their Salespeople

Featured Image


This is the full funnel freedom podcast, supporting sales leaders, and managers to improve their sales funnels from people to prospects. I'm Hamish Knox. In this show, you'll learn how you can improve your results. Lead a great team and hit more targets with full funnel freedom. Welcome to the full funnel freedom podcast.
Hamish Knox. In this episode, I will share with you ideas and insights around six ways that sales leaders steal from their salespeople and what to do about it. So we can maintain and grow full funnel. As sales leaders, we are in a fairly lonely position and we're getting pressure from both sides. We've got the board, the investors, the CEO saying, why is our sales forecast not appearing?

As we said it would, or in the manner that we said it would. And then we've got our sales people below us saying, Hey, better prices, better website, better stuff. Do you see what our competitors doing? So we're in this really lonely position, right? We're all human beings and we can sometimes unintentionally de-motivate our salespeople by seeking to get our emotional needs met as opposed to supporting them.

And there's usually six ways in my experience that sales leaders will unintentionally steal from their people or unfortunate. I've come across cases where some of these are actually quite intentional. The first way that sales leaders, unintentionally steal from their salespeople is stealing their thunder.

So picture a sales person going to their leader and sharing a victory. They're really excited about something they've accomplished and the, their leader says something to the effect that, Hey, that's great. Now let me tell you what I just said. This is not a game of one-upmanship, although it certainly comes across that way to our salesperson who is genuinely looking for a positive stroke from their leader to say, Hey, great job.

Thanks for telling me how do we do that again? Or go out and get another one, something that's going to make them say. Yeah, that's great. I'm really glad you shared that with me, as opposed to thanks for telling me your story. Let me tell you a story that's better, which is going to de-motivate our, our sales person.

This is especially challenging for. Sales leaders who also are selling because they're still in the trenches. And we can sometimes slip into the peer conversation as opposed to the leader direct report conversation. We've got to remember that when we are interacting with our sales team, we are on stage because we need to be behaving as their leader and acting as their leader, as opposed to one of their.

So instead of stealing the thunder, celebrate that sales reps and victory, this is, is incredibly important, especially in longer form enterprise sales, where the actual big victory, the closed deal isn't gonna happen very often. So we want to be celebrating those small wins, of course, in the manner that our sales person wants to be.

Celebrated and recognized. And we have salespeople on our team who want to be, you know, metaphorically put up on stage and, and celebrate in front of everybody. And then we have other salespeople who want a quiet word. Uh, if we were, when we were all in our offices quite worded in their office or at their desk, or, you know, ma now maybe it's a quick text message to say, congratulations, great victory.

Keep it up. We must not steal our salespeople stunter or they're going to end up getting de-motivated. And then our funnel is not gonna look like. The next way that sales leaders steal from their people is they steal credit for leads or for closes. When I worked in pro sports, this was unfortunately something that, uh, one of our leaders did regularly as a way to get their own emotional needs met and prove their own self-worth, but it was massively demotivating for me and the other individuals who are selling.

In that organization, even if we, as the leader, either put the ball on the tee to use a baseball analogy or a T Paul, and now. Or we were in the meeting where we brought the deal across the finish line, the lead and the opportunity lives with our sales person. Otherwise we don't really need them and we should be back in the trenches doing, getting the leads and doing the closing.

So no matter what our involvement was with the sale, we're still going to give credit to our sales person, at least publicly, because they are going to be more motivated. If we are celebrating their success now, of course, behind the scenes, they end, we know what our level of involvement was, but we do not need to be getting our emotional needs met by saying, yeah, you know what, that sales person brought that deal across the finish line, but really.

It was my deal that I ended up closing. That's not helping anybody aside from us. And it's a short term gain for long term pain. I've experienced where salespeople actually have their commission reduced or eliminated entirely because of their leaders' involvement in the sale. And if that's going to happen, that's a conversation that needs to be had.

Well, before we get to the finish line with that opportunity, because. The longer that conversation goes unsaid. The more likely our salesperson is going to believe that they're going to get some commission for that deal. And if we get across the finish line and we say, oh yeah, by the way, you're not getting anything.

Or you're only going to get 50% of what you thought because I was so. That ends our sales, person's motivation to create full funnel freedom for us, and likely sends them to their computer, to search for opportunities with other organizations. So if you really feel that you need to reduce or eliminate commission for a salesperson because of your involvement.

That's a conversation to be had. Well in advance personally, I believe that the salesperson is going to get the commission no matter what my involvement was, because again, otherwise I don't need them and I want to keep them motivated. I want to keep them rolling and motivated while it's slowly reducing my involvement in their sales.

The third way that sales leaders steal from their people as they steal their opportunity to fail. I've been in way too many meetings with sales leaders who end up rescuing a salesperson when a meeting starts to go sideways or even worse when the leader thinks the meeting is about to go sideways. My client's here regularly.

You win or you learn, there are no losing there's winning or there's learning. And if we steal our salespeople's opportunities to fail, we steal learning and growth opportunities from them. And that's not going to benefit anybody in the long-term. Our sales rep is going to rely on us to bail them out when things are going sideways.

And we just can't frankly, be sitting on their shoulder all the time. So even if you feel that an opportunity is going sideways at BD is going sideways, a conversation's going sideways. Let your sales person go sideways and then hold them safe and debrief that call that identify the learning opportunities.

I get there sometimes where you don't want a conversation or a relationship to go sideways. And again, that is. A conversation to have with the sales person. Well, in advance in terms of what your involvement in the conversation is going to be. Are you going out and team selling as peers? Great. Have that conversation in advance.

Are you simply there to support your sales person in the field? Be there as their coach and debrief afterwards. Great. Make sure you agree to that. Well in advance because otherwise you're going to make you and your sales person look misaligned to your client or your prospect. And the minute that we look misaligned, Speaking of clients, another way that sales leaders steal from their people is they steal their relationships with their clients.

Everybody likes talking to the boss and I actually encourage my clients, the sales leaders that I coach to reach out to their clients on a regular basis. However, when they're doing those reach, they visit. Clearly our designing those calls to enhance the relationship with that client's sales person, not with the manager.

If we steal the relationship from our clients, from our salespeople's clients, eventually all of the client's calls are coming to us because they're thinking, well, why would I bother talking to my account manager? I'd rather just go talk to their boss and actually get things done. So we really need to keep that arms.

Relationship with clients, making sure that they understand they're in very good hands with our sales person while at the same time, creating more rapport with them by connecting on a regular basis fully well, letting our salesperson know that. Doing these calls in order to enhance rapport with the client to support them in expanding that relationship.

So when we make those calls with clients, when we reach out, we've got to be very clear that we are not stepping in the way of the relationship that our sales person has built with that client over the longterm, or we're going to end up getting a lot of time, sucked away, dealing with issues that our sales person should be handling.

The fifth way that sales managers, unintentionally steal from their salespeople is stealing their self-sufficiency a lot of leaders that I interact with, at least in the initial stages, feel that the idea of self-sufficiency is really scary because they believe that if their team is self-sufficient.

They are out of a job and that's in fact completely untrue. In fact, it frees them up to have more time to focus on the leadership aspects of running the team, as opposed to being in the trenches, sitting on their salesperson's shoulder, micromanaging their activities with their prospects and what they're calling.

So build with your salespeople, a box, a plain field, a sandbox, whatever analogy you want to use and give them the freedom to play on that field. And in that sandbox, eventually they're going to run into the sidelines and they're going to need your support. And that's probably going to come in the form of coaching and some role play.

But. If we're constantly dictating what our salespeople need to do by when they need to do it and sitting on their shoulder, whether physically or metaphorically and making sure that they do it, we're stealing their self-sufficiency and their ability to grow. And we're burning a ton of mental and emotional calories that could be better spent on growing our business.

The last way that sales leaders, unintentionally steal from their salespeople is by stealing their time, high performers want to go out and be doing the things that we hired them for. So pulling them into lengthy meetings for sales funnel, review coaching sessions that are really just nothing more than a polite conversation.

That's going to do nothing to support them in growing and succeed in their current role. They are eventually going to resent them. They're eventually going to start looking for places where they have the freedom to go do the things that they're really good at. So when we coach our leaders on meanings, one of our number one best practices is keep them tight.

Keep them sure. That's why in my book on accountability, talk about accountability in 20 minutes a week, five minutes on Monday, 15 minutes on Friday. And that's. We're going to touch on those accountability meetings and, and sales from review meetings in, in more detail in another episode, but the most valuable thing that all of us possesses our time and we want all of our salespeople, especially our top performers, leveraging that time to go out and connect with ideal prospects and expand the relationship with clients instead of sitting in a bunch of product training or a bunch of meetings that are dragging on with a bunch of storytelling, and it's not actually advancing.

One or more of these six ways that sales managers, sales leaders, unintentionally steal from their salespeople probably resonated with you. I know that I've done several of these over the course of my career. And what I found helpful in not doing these and stopping, doing them is finding a support group of like-minded people who were experiencing the same problems.

They just maybe call them different things. Using a journal to really journal out how I was performing in my role and what I might do differently next time. Uh, and I also have several coaches and they really supported me in practicing how to have different conversations, planning out how I was going to be a better leader for my salespeople, so they could create full formal freedom from my organizing.

This has been the full funnel of freedom podcast. I've been your host Hamish Knox. Thanks for listening. Please share, rate and review until we connect on the next episode. Go create full funnel free. Thank you for listening to full funnel freedom with Amish knocks. If you want to increase your sales with ease, go to full funnel,