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The 3 distinctive mindset attributes for salespeople in times of crisis

Every salesperson will recognize when his or her manager begins to apply pressure when he or she is not achieving his or her sales goals. In the SalesStep article: Classic Sales Manager’s paradox, we examined this behavior. In addition, given the current crisis, there is more pressure on salespeople to secure business and close the opportunities that lie in the funnel.

In September 2019, SalesStep conducted a survey on the different motivations of 474 salespeople. With this study, we found an interesting paradox of Sales Managers’ behavior, especially under stress. Yet this became a reality only six months later in the Corona crisis.

  1. Finding 1: Sales Managers have a natural reaction to put more pressure on their salespeople (Red = Power) when they fail to meet their sales goals (Orange = Results). This happens when their primary motivational drive for results is not addressed.
  2. Finding 2: The biggest allergy of salespeople is “Power,” specifically Power and Decisiveness that their manager usually imposes on them. More commonly seen as an intrusive micro-manager looking to gain control and fix results.

We easily recognize this classic paradox, and many of us have experience with an intrusive manager in times of crisis. This brings us to today’s key question, “What should we do, knowing that enforcing more power is counterproductive?

The answer to this question is twofold:

  1. What are the most distinctive sales competencies to understand “Corona-proven”?
  2. What does good look like from a Sales (Leadership) perspective?

To begin answering these questions, we conducted a stress test and updated the findings from our earlier September 2019 dataset. And here’s what we found: Sales leadership in times of crisis has nothing to do with whether you are a manager or a salesperson. But crisis leadership is related to 3 distinctive characteristics of Mindset:

SalesStep dashboard
  1. Your mental fitness: Salespeople’s ability to overcome rejection, disappointment and how to cope with change.
  2. Your attitude towards Challenge & Persevere: The Not-to-Take-No-For-An-Answer attitude and not accepting the Status Quo but always “raising the bar.
  3. Your Motivational Drive Decisiveness (Power-Red): In times of trouble, we need leaders who can act decisively and dare to make decisions.


We understand that applying more pressure, especially in times of crisis, is counterproductive. Moreover, you don’t need to be a licensed psychologist to understand that strength, perseverance and your mental fitness are vital mental attributes. However, did you know that less than 4% of all salespeople surveyed scored adequately on all three?

My advice: There are two important questions to ask yourself:

  1. Have I fallen into the trap of increasing the pressure on my sales team?
  2. Who in my team has the right competencies to lead my team out of this crisis?Who in my team has the right competencies to lead my team out of this crisis?

Would you like an answer to that question?
Make an appointment for an assessment of your own!

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