Tips on how to lead, inspire and motivate a homeworking sales team

We continue to share insights into how the contact centre is adapting in response to Covid19. We have heard from several leaders within customer service. This week we wanted to explore the world of sales and find out how leaders have adapted to lead, inspire and motivate a homeworking sales team. Who better to ask than a multi-award winning leader of one of the UK’s largest technology businesses.

Sage UK is a British multinational enterprise software company with over 1500 employees based at their headquarters in Newcastle upon Tyne. The contact centre operation is now all homeworking. They have nearly 700 customer facing colleagues split between customer service and sales.

Structured approach to support and interact with colleagues

Nichola Hall is Director of Customer Success at Sage UK. She has responsibility for revenue, growth and retention alongside fellow Customer Success Director Gary Charlton with a team of 16 Managers and 150 advisers. Nichola shared how they have adapted to lead, inspire and motivate a homeworking sales team to continue meeting revenue targets.

“The whole contact centre has been working from home for about 7 weeks now. We were proactive and took a phased approach. Everyone was settled at home before Government guidance was issued. We have a structure around how we support and interact with our colleagues. We need to ensure that everyone has individual support, but also group based interaction.

9am – 11am ‘Huddle’ – all teams have a 20-minute performance-based huddle using Microsoft Teams. We follow our Performance framework which celebrates successes, reviews performance, shares opportunities and problems which all culminate in measurable actions.

11am – 12pm or 1-2pm ‘Coffee Break’ – again using Microsoft Teams all teams have a 15-minute coffee break together. No work chat just how everyone is doing. Sometimes this can be like a group support session for people who are struggling. Last week we all learned how to lay turf in my leadership coffee break!

12pm onwards   Each line manager will make 1:2:1 contract with everyone in their reporting line by telephone or video. This is not by text, email or messaging. This is just another safety net in case the group settings are too overwhelming to share concerns.

Gary and I host regular ‘Town Hall’ using Teams. This allows us to communicate messages and take Q&A, and in addition, each month we hold a virtual round table with smaller groups of colleagues. There are great ideas come out of these sessions and were something we did in the office and I am pleased that we have managed to keep it going”.

Company wide communication

“There is a daily newsletter from the Managing Director which covers companywide updates and the latest government Covid advice. He gives a shout out every day to 3 to 5 colleagues for something they have done that has had a positive impact on a customer.  Sage run a companywide ‘always on’ survey where anyone can quickly answer 3 questions to feedback on how they are feeling, what is going well and anything that they want to offer feedback on. The results are shared weekly, and some of the comments demonstrate how much the care and attention has positively impacted people’s lives”.


“Every Friday afternoon we have a department quiz using Microsoft Teams and Kahoot. This is followed by department Karaoke. It’s not pretty to listen to, but the feedback has been extremely positive.

Every team have WhatsApp and Microsoft Teams groups. I think the content on each will be very different but they are vital support tool. We are also running TikTok tournaments. Recently we had everyone submit pictures of rainbows in support of the great work the NHS is doing.

Last week everyone had the chance to take between 2-6 hours offline to do an at home CSR activity through Sage Foundation. Activities ranged from writing letters to the elderly for Age UK, making cat and dog toys from old t-shirts for Bryson’s and helping small businesses improve their websites or businesses plans. This was followed by a two-hour Isolation Disco. Each colleague was asked for a song for us to create a playlist. Over 1000 UK colleagues participated and many included their families, so the support was brilliant”.


“I am proud to work for a company which is so focussed on how they support both colleagues and customers. The innovation around the creation of a Covid support hub for customers which gives them access to information and support for their businesses in these difficult times.  Productivity across the teams is strong, and we are seeing great utilisation of finding new ways to contact customers and ensure they have the support they need. Feedback from colleagues and customers has been outstanding. People feel supported which is the most important thing now”.