6 Reasons You Can’t Manage Your Sales Team On Trust

You need to ask yourself one question. Are you running a sales team or an after-school program?

Most sales teams right now are run like an after-school program. 

Their sales leadership team usually tells me:

We love to trust our people. Our team values autonomy. We’ve got a great work-life balance. 

But it gets worse! They say: 

We’ve got office basketball hoops and Friday Beers for the right mindset. 

And you know what? They’re proud. 

So, should you trust your sales team? No. You need an authoritarian sales leader using a tight strategy and nurturing an accountable culture to control everything so your salespeople never have a chance to break that trust. 

It takes a lifetime to build trust and seconds to destroy. I never give my team members a chance to break that trust or develop toxic behavior or habits. I run a sales team, not an after-school program. 

Consider this:

An after-school program is free for all. 

You’ve got kids screwing around. They’re fighting. Messing with each other. 

You’ve got a bunch of volunteers. But no teachers. No person with authority. 

Those kids can do whatever they want there.

 I have seen the same situation in sales. Maybe you can see some resemblance in your own. 

So, you need to ask yourself. Is this a sales team? Or is this an after-school program? 

Continue and learn the top six reasons you can’t manage your sales team on trust. 

sales leader speak with prospect and sales team

You're building trust without systems and infrastructure

So, you’ve got a work-life balance. You’ve got autonomy. You’ve got Friday beers. Do you expect salespeople to do the right thing because of beers? 

When have they regularly done the right thing? 

Let me ask you this: 

  • Do they show up for daily or weekly sales meetings? 
  • Do they make excuses for not hitting the quota? 
  • When they do hit quota, do they barely hit it? 
Get a Team Assessment

Optimize your sales team with Kolbe and PRINT® assessments to identify team-member strengths and motivators and illuminate bad-fit placements.

Most companies prioritize building trust but don’t set up the systems, processes, or infrastructure to ensure a culture of transparency and accountability. 

Sales teams trust effective guidance and a clear sales strategy. Am I advocating fear-inducing tactics? No. 

Sales reps often make mistakes, miss quotas, discourage healthy conflict, show up late, or downright disregard the code of conduct.

Long-term, your sales reps will never experience accountability and truly push themselves to achieve their full potential. Your sales team will become proficient at being mediocre, thus never excelling. 

Your sales leader needs to be more authoritarian, so you can control your kids at all times and own them. They will build trust that you can support them. 


You'll attract the wrong hires

Many companies self-promote their trust management style to attract talent. 

Let me be clear. Top sales talent doesn’t care about Friday beers or autonomy. The people who care about those who share weaknesses like laziness lack sincere commitment and unaccountability. 

Unambitious reps will find comfort in the team and become proficient at being mediocre, thus never excelling. Don’t let their toxic behavior ruin your sales team.

sales hiring and sales team

Your sales leader needs to be more authoritarian, so you can control your kids at all times and own them. They will build trust that you can support them. 

You'll lose your top performers

Top performers want a clear path to sales success. They want an effective sales process with targeted feedback to bring more success. 

They are hyper-competitive people and not motivated by team accomplishments. Top performers will only want to work with other top performers. Building trust with these individuals if leadership doesn’t hold a poor-performing sales team member accountable. 

Highly engaged and talented reps will become frustrated by the mediocre standards. They won’t feel like their ideas or opinions matter because high performance matters to them. 

sales teams and sales leaders

Quota will become a regular Herculean event

Would you ever see a pro team brag about winning every game from a lucky shot? No.
If sales teams are celebrating team quotas that only get over the line, cultivate poor team culture but will not help you grow your business quicker.
A team built on autonomy has an ineffective communication style.
You are effectively saying;
“Show up whenever you want; do whatever you want. Hit your numbers; don’t hit your numbers. As long as you hit your revenue number at the end of the year, I don’t care about your monthly sales activity.
How do you expect to improve specific performance measures with that message?
If these teams can muster up quota – you bet it’s a Herculean event and a feat of strength for them to do that.
That’s not how you run a team. That’s not how you build trust.

Power imbalances will make enforcing expectations challenging

sales team with sales leader

This sales team management style creates an imbalance of power because the team members get whatever they want and have complete control over the leadership.
The team members will do whatever benefits their interests, even against the organization’s values and policies.
For example, I am talking to clients now having issues enforcing a dress code.
You don’t wear graphic tees and hoodies on high-level business calls. We know that, but do all your employees understand?
This isn’t school; we’re not wearing our Star Wars hoodies to class. Give salespeople the opportunity – and you bet some fool will.

It will never be enough

A company gives its team ping pong. Basketball hoops. Office vacations. I ask why. It isn’t about building trust. 

Why are you giving them beers? They work for money. When it starts operating like a school and not a business, the rewards for completing an assignment successfully are never enough.

You’ve got problems. 

Now you need to think of a more extensive and extravagant sales team compensation tied to the team goal.  

If you think this will help encourage peer accountability, you’re wrong. It will never be enough and wants to affect the team result. 

Is it an after-school program? Nope. It’s a sales team. 

Get a Team Assessment

Optimize your sales team with Kolbe and PRINT® assessments to identify team-member strengths and motivators and illuminate bad-fit placements.

Do you want a game-changing team?

When your organization grows, you have to reinforce a culture of winning.
As the sales leader, it’s your job to identify areas in your company that need improvement.
Are your culture and structures causing problems?
Can you find creative solutions to these issues preventing progress?
Let me be clear, if the solution were in front of you, you would have solved it already.

Rose Garden Consulting is solutions-focused, so if you want me and my team to ignite your revenue, we will do so with our Team Assessment and Sales Accelerator Process.

About the author:

Ali Mirza is the Founder & CEO of Rose Garden, a national sales consulting organization, and featured in Forbes, Inc, Business Insider, The Huffington Post, Business Rockstars, and The Wall Street Journal.

Ali is a highly sought-after public speaker presenting at multiple national conferences on innovative ways to accomplish transformational growth on your sales team.

Rose Garden provides unparalleled support and guidance to growth-minded founders via sales strategy differentiation, world-class sales culture creation, and exclusive playbooks, processes, and scripts to position them for limitless growth.

Related Posts:

Are you ready?
We only work with the most determined and passionate leaders. If you want to close more deals, multiply your revenue, and scale your business, we’re ready to take action.

Subscribe to stay ahead

Apply for 6 Reasons You Can’t Manage Your Sales Team On Trust

Accepted file types: jpeg, jpg, gif, png, pdf, Max. file size: 50 MB.

Book Discovery Call

Complete the form and briefly describe your sales challenge and we’ll
organize a discovery call.


"*" indicates required fields

Step 1 of 8

1. ➛ Are you aware 73% of Founder led sales teams turnover four sales leaders before finding a competent one?