The world of B2B sales is facing a crisis. A recent Gartner report,”How to Motivate and Retain Your Sales Team” has revealed some alarming statistics: nearly 90% of B2B sellers are feeling the strain, and over half of them are considering leaving their current roles1.

But why are our salespeople so dissatisfied, and what can we do about it?

The Problem: Seller Drive vs. Seller Drag

According to the same Gartner report, the key to understanding this problem lies in two concepts: seller drive and seller drag1.

Seller drive is characterized by initiative, persistence, and an ability to overcome setbacks. It’s positively associated with quota attainment and job satisfaction. On the other hand, seller drag is manifested through procrastination, boredom, and a lack of focus. It’s directly linked to lower quota attainment and job satisfaction1 

The Causes: Lack of Development Opportunities and More

Gartner’s report identifies several main causes of seller drag, including a lack of development opportunities, feeling like a cog in a machine, vague and unactionable manager feedback, and excessive administrative tasks1.

But here’s the question we need to ask ourselves: Are traditional approaches to motivating sellers, such as compensation and recognition, still effective in today’s environment? According to 59% of sellers who feel that their leadership doesn’t understand what motivates them, the answer is no1.

The Cost: Missing Revenue Goals

Burned out sellers, especially if they are also your longest ramped and most productive sellers, actively looking for new jobs cost businesses money from multiple angles.

  1. They kill future quarters by underinvesting in building pipeline – because they don’t believe they’ll be on board to land the deal.
  2. They kill future quarters by leaving a sales patch empty until a new seller is both recruited and ramped.  According to McKinsey, at best, the average time to productivity for a seller is 6 months after being hired. Assume three months to find a quality seller. If a ramped seller delivers $10,000 revenue per month, that’s $90,000 lost, per seller.
  3. They’re expensive because of recruitment costs and manager time spent sourcing, interviewing, negotiating and training new, unproven reps. The recruitment costs for a new seller with an OTE of $150,000 is $45,000. Now losing your seller has cost you $135,000 per seller, minimum.

A Solution – unleash the power of Positive Intelligence (PQ) to reduce drag and harness drive

Understanding Positive Intelligence (PQ)

Positive Intelligence (PQ) is a research-derived platform for individuals to learn how to respond to life’s challenges and problems more effectively and more easily. It unlocks people from getting stuck in negative patterns of thinking by building three core mental muscles. This shift in perspective can have profound effects on productivity, creativity, and overall job satisfaction. Gartner’s report shows that sellers are highly motivated.

CEOs and Sales Leaders can demonstrate their commitment to reducing drag by investing in the mental fitness of their sellers, not just focusing on improving execution. As a former CRO and CMO, I find the speed to impact of the PQ platform from Positive Intelligence is unrivaled.

Pinterest had 50 sales leaders go through the PQ Foundations 7-week program.

  • 94% report managing stress better
  • 88% say they handle personal relationship conflicts better
  • 82% say they use their mental and emotional energy more effectively

This was the most influential training I’ve ever taken in a professional setting. This truly gave me the tools to better understand myself so I can better understand others.

In about 20 minutes per day for seven weeks, PQ Foundations develops the key mental muscles for Positive Intelligence. These three muscles, saboteur interception, self-command, and sage power, give sellers clarity, focus and energy to experience significantly less seller drag.

How Can PQ Impact Seller Drag?

Reducing seller drag is not merely about pushing harder or offering more incentives. It’s about fundamentally changing how sellers view their work and their role within the organization. Here’s where PQ comes into play. PQ Powered Sales applies the three mental muscles to the unique requirements of sellers to be more persuasive, more resilient and build stronger relationships internally and externally. The result is less Seller Drag and significantly more success for sellers and the companies they support.

Novo Nordisk’s Diabetes and Obesity Products & Devices Portfolio (Wegovy is their drug in the news these days) invested in Positive Intelligence (PQ) for a group of sellers.

My team is more productive, and sales results demonstrate the impact – 5 members of my team are in the top 10 sales spots for 2021.


Sales results are one thing but when the people you lead say things like this program has changed my life, that brings me immense joy.

Elizabeth Eisner

District Sales Business Manager

The Impact

Addressing seller burnout with career pathways and a clear investment in people through Positive Intelligence leads to significant results.

PQ impacts revenues

  • 14% increase in sales revenue per sales executive
  • 22% increase in deal size within 18 months
  • 5% decrease in sales cycle length

*Independently verified by ROI institute


PQ impacts people

  • 91% manage Stress better
  • 90% use energy more effectively
  • 84% better at conflict management

*Survey feedback from 1,000,000 participants


I’m working half as hard and generating twice the results. It’s amazing what’s possible when you use these powerful tools.

Brad Fisher

Executive Director, Featherstone Holdiners

The Path Forward

Since early 2023, I’ve been a PQ coach working with CEOs, COOs, Heads of Sales and Heads of Marketing. Through my clients, I’ve observed the impact of strengthing these mental muscles and applying them to both leadership and sales. The possibilities to not only combat seller drag, but improve people’s lives and businesses are compelling and swift.

By fostering a PQ mindset, we can re-energize our sellers, reduce sources of drag, and create exciting growth opportunities.

The cost of seller burnout is devastating So, as sales leaders, are we ready to embrace PQ and tackle seller drag head-on? The benefits—increased quota attainment, reduced burnout, and a more motivated sales team—are well worth the effort.