SalesStep research update:

The 3 distinguishing mindset attributes for salespeople in times of crisis

Every salesperson will recognise when their manager starts to put pressure when they are not reaching their sales targets. In the SalesStep Article: Classical Sales Manager’s paradox, we have researched this behaviour (mindset). Moreover, given the current crisis, more pressure is put on salespeople to secure business and to close opportunities left in the sales funnel.

In September 2019 SalesStep conducted a research study on the different motivational drives of 474 salespeople. With this study, we found an interesting paradox of Sales Managers behaviours (mindset), especially under stress. Yet, only half a year later, this has become a reality in the Corona crisis.

  1. Finding 1: Sales Managers have a natural response to put more pressure (Red = Power) on their salespeople when they are not reaching their sales targets (Orange = Results). It happens when their primary motivational drive (mindset) for results is not addressed.
  2. Finding 2: Salespeople’s most significant allergy is “Power” more specifically Power and Decisiveness enforced upon them most of the time by their manager. More commonly observed as a pushy micro-manager that wants to gain control and restore results.

We easily recognise this classical paradox, and many of us have experience with a pushy manager in times of crisis. It leads us to the critical question of today: ”What should we do knowing that enforcing more Power is working counterproductive?”

The answer to this question is twofold:

  1. What are the most distinguishing sales competencies (mindset) to understand ‘Corona-proven’?
  2. What does good look like from a Sales (Leadership) perspective?

To start with answering these questions, we put a stress test to and actualised the findings of our earlier data set from September 2019. And here is what we found: Sales leadership in times of crisis is not related to whether you are a manager or a salesperson. But crisis Leadership is related to 3 distinguishing Mindset attributes:

Dashboard Mindset Account Manager
  1. Your Mental Fitness: The ability of salespeople to overcome rejection, disappointment and the way to deal with change.
  2. Your attitude to Challenge & Persevere The attitude ‘Not-to-Take-No-For-An-Answer’ and not to accept the Status Quo but to always ‘Raise the bar’.
  3. Your motivational drive Decisiveness (Power-Red): In times of trouble we need leaders that can act decisive and dare to make decisions


We understand that putting more pressure, especially during times of crises, is working counterproductive. Moreover, you don’t need to be an accredited psychologist to realise that Power, Perseverance and your Mental Fitness are vital mindset attributes. However, did you know that less than 4% of all researched salespeople have good scores on all three?

My advice: There are two key questions you need to ask yourself:

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

Care to get an answer to that question?
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