Success doesn't happen overnight and especially B2B sales can feel like a rough place to be successful. Cold calls, complex products, annoying leads, high quotas to reach, and rejection will surely sound familiar to you.
That's why, for the new year, we've collected some motivational quotes from personalities who know what it means to fight for success.
Discover compelling stories, motivating input and inspiring personalities—for more motivation and drive for your success in B2B sales!
We wish you a lot of fun and success!
Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
The first quote serves as a little reminder: No matter how talented you are or where your talents lie, diligence and ambition always pay off. That's not to say that talent isn't worth anything. But Tim Notke's point is that there will always be a point or situation where talent alone is not enough to be successful.
Do you still remember your school days? There were people who just got good grades no matter what happened. Where are these people now? The necessary bite is usually developed by those who have had the most obstacles put in their way.
If you're offered a seat on a rocket ship, don't ask what seat! Just get on.
CTO at Facebook
How do you make decisions? Do you trust your gut feeling or does your head have a say, too? And who defines the "right" decision anyway? When we are at an important crossroad in the road in our lives, we often don’t know which path is the right one.
This quote from Sheryl Sandberg is about seizing the opportunity and just going for it. Especially in B2B sales, you'll often have to jump in at the deep end—just think about cold calling, doing a product demo, or getting started on social media to position yourself as an expert. Why not try jumping in head-first! When we leave our comfort zone, the most exciting adventures often await us.
Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.
You can't always win, close every deal, convince every customer. The impossible—speaking in purely mathematical terms—still infuriates us, especially in B2B sales. When a bad day follows a bad day, you often don't even feel like trying again. But as Muhammad Ali says: Losing can be your greatest strength!
Draw your strength from the fact that you know what it is like to be at the bottom and to see no light at the end of the tunnel. You will fight all the more for your success.
They'll tell you you're too loud, that you need to wait your turn and ask the right people for permission. Do It Anyway."
US American Politician
You are different than the rest? You have different ideas, a different approach? Good! The standard narrative of "we've always done it this way" doesn't usually bring progress, but rather stagnation.
As the youngest member of the U.S. Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, knows what it means to take a different path. With limited financial resources, she defeated her opponent in the election campaign. What can you learn from this? Even in B2B sales, it pays off to try new things, think "out of the box" and swim against the stream.
Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.
Author and NLP Coach
Sometimes it already helps to write down your goals and wishes in order to put them into action. Or how often do you think "Oh, it would be nice if..." or "If I do this, then...". Get away from thinking straight to doing and write down how you can achieve your goals—whether with pen and paper or digitally. Or how about creating your own vision board?
Tony Robbins is one of the most successful NLP trainers in the world and motivates people every day to be the best version of themselves. That's why he knows how important visualization can be to turn dreams into reality. Ask yourself: What do I want to achieve and how do I achieve it?
Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.
Talk Show Host
As the first African American woman to own her own production company and the first black female billionaire, Oprah Winfrey knows exactly who supported her in her career—or who stood in her way. The same applies to your career and business goals. Surround yourself with people who continually push you and try to get the best out of you!
Make sure you work in a team that challenges and encourages you. Without the motivation and cohesion of a team, many tasks are more difficult or sometimes impossible to accomplish. Especially in B2B sales, teamwork is everything!
I never lose. I either win or learn.
Activist, Politician, first black President of South Africa
Losing is no fun, I think we agree on that. Nevertheless, you can do something about your mindset with regard to losing. In B2B sales, you are confronted with the negative almost every day: a prospect doesn't buy, everyone is extremely unfriendly during cold calls, or your high quota intimidates you.
Draw strength from this, like Nelson Mandela, who, against all odds, used his sense of justice in society as a source of power. Despite many setbacks, he never gave up, but saw every bad event as intermediate stages to success.
Growth and comfort do not coexist.
Virginia Marie „Ginni“ Rometty
Computer Scientist, 2012-2020 CEO at IBM
Often, we only move inside our comfort zone—at work or in our private lives. Once we reach a point that feels comfortable, we don't really care about moving on. But who says you have to make a decision once and then stick to it forever?
What Virgina Rometty makes clear with her statement is the fact that we need to try something every now and then to move forward in life. You only grow beyond yourself when you dare to do something new! And where does this premise apply more than in B2B sales?
It doesn't matter where you are coming from. All that matters is where you are going.
Author and Motivational Coach
Don't look back. Looking into the past usually only slows down your progress. Sure, you should consciously reflect on your past to learn from your mistakes, but your past should never prevent you from doing exactly what you're passionate about.
Brian Tracy is a best-selling author of several sales books and knows the ups and downs that accompany many salespeople on a daily basis. From his experience, he knows how inhibiting thoughts à la "I couldn't do that before" or "That was never my area of expertise" can be. Stop thinking like that and look ahead!
You have to drop your sales mentality and start working with your prospects as if they've already hired you.
Sales Manager and Author
Do your calls with customers differ from those with your prospects? Do you think a prospect deserves worse service just because he or she hasn't signed yet? Jill Konrath is a passionate salesperson and has often witnessed impatient sales calls and reluctant motivation when talking to non-customers.
The keyword is: solution selling. From Jill's quote, you can take away that everyone deserves the best possible service from you, regardless of their current customer status. This automatically leads to more trust, authenticity and—you guessed it—more deals.
We are stronger when we listen and smarter when we share.
Rania von Jordanien
Who says that as a salesperson you always have to talk? Listening and sharing knowledge are sometimes just as important, if not more important, than simply talking to and influencing your target audience and prospects. The real power in sales is to listen and identify what problems your counterpart has. Then you can figure out how to solve these problems.
Rania of Jordan, in her powerful position, is committed to education, especially for children. For this, it is essential to listen to what needs others might have. Give it a try! Share your inside knowledge on LinkedIn, for example, and you'll find that you benefit from it, too. Listen more to your customers & prospects and become a better salesperson.
What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.
Author and Entrepreneur
Sales has a lot to do with your comfort zone. Do I really need to cold call this company? Do I really need to start with social selling? After all, social media is not my thing at all. Surely, you know these kind of thoughts—some days you'll find it easy to keep going, while other days you won't.
What Timothy Ferriss is saying, however, is that it's often the very things we fear that make us stronger. It's when you jump in the deep end that you become stronger and learn more than you ever have before.
In a perfect dream, things would be set exactly the way you would want them. But I think it's more interesting that in real life, things aren't exactly the way you planned.
Professional Tennis Player
It's true: Many would like to always know what's coming next. Some people are even so-called control freaks and can't leave anything to chance. But especially in B2B sales, you have to be spontaneous and let some situations come to you. The best deals usually can't be planned 100%, but depend on many factors.
Naomi Osaka had to fight hard for her way into the top league of tennis players and knows that the rocky road is much more strenuous, but nevertheless more exciting.
People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.
Hilary Hinton "Zig" Ziglar
Sales Manager and Author
As a salesperson, you are probably familiar with Zig Ziglar. He has written countless books about sales and has therefore said many wise things. Among others the above mentioned quote. On the one hand it is incredibly funny, on the other hand it shows quite well that it needs a good portion of motivation every day to do an outstanding job.
Most of the time, you can divide sales people into with great motivation for what they do and those who don't care much about customers and don’t even empathize with them. A salesperson with motivation feels the customer's challenges and is driven to always give their best.
At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.
Even in B2B sales, a huge success can be followed by a many setbacks. And often you will think: "I can't do this" or "This is too much for me". But is it really?
With this sentence Frida Kahlo meant that we are capable of much more than we often think. We can take a lot when we have to; we are tough and resilient. This means that when things aren't going your way, remember that things will get better and you'll make it!
Check your ego at the door. The ego can be the great success inhibitor. It can kill opportunities, and it can kill success.
Who doesn't know him? The typical B2B sales rep who thinks he's the best? He can sell everything and close deals within seconds. Yes, there are examples like that, unfortunately. Nevertheless, we will not recommend you to become arrogant.
Even if you are successful and have achieved everything, it is worth being humble and grateful. Dwayne Johnson suggests with this quote that arrogance is absolutely out of place for success. If you become obnoxious because of your ego, no one will want to work with you in the long run.
If you were born with the weakness to fall you were born with the strength to rise
aus “Milk and Honey” von Rupi Kaur
Life has its ups and downs—just like sales. One day everything goes smoothly, the next day you just can’t seem to succeed. But let us tell you: that's perfectly normal. No one has a job that runs smoothly every single day.
And that's exactly what Rupi Kaur expresses in her book "Milk and Honey". After going downhill there will always be a uphill. If you get 10 rejections when cold-calling, there will eventually be a closed deal.
If you are not taking care of your customer, your competitor will.
Business Coach and Entrepreneur
The competition never sleeps. Unfortunately, that's true. If you don't care enough about your customers or your target audience, as Bob Hooey puts it, your competitors will win them over eventually. And sometimes this happens even faster than you think!
Especially when the exchange with the customer—be it by mail, LinkedIn or in a call—comes to a hold, it may well be that they feel left alone and look for another solution that gives them more or perhaps a more suitable solution. One idea could be to get in touch with customers every now and then and ask them for their feedback, for example with a survey.
Technique and ability alone do not get you to the top; it is the willpower that is the most important. This willpower you cannot buy with money or be given by others...it rises from your heart.
Japanese Mountaineer and First Woman on the Mount Everest
Or, to put the quote from Junko Tabei in "old-fashioned" terms: "Where there's a will, there's a way". Neither your skills or talents, nor recommendations will get you where you want to be in the long run.
It's about wanting something fully and committing to a cause. For B2B sales, you can take away that your willpower will be the biggest driver for your success. It pays off to think long-term.
You don’t hire for skills, you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills.
A well-known motto from sales comes from Simon Sinek. And it provides a lot of inspiration, especially for career changers in sales: Even if you don't yet have the necessary skills for a certain job, don't be discouraged.
Especially companies that value their sales department a lot will know what a serious difference a person's attitude towards sales can make. And Simon recommends hiring those who have the right mindset rather than those with the best skillset.
Whether B2B or B2C, I believe passionately that good marketing essentials are the same. We all are emotional beings looking for relevance, context and connection.
Beth Comstock hits the nail on the head with this statement. Even if you work in B2B sales and only target companies, don't forget that behind a company there are always people with feelings and emotions.
Although Beth is referring to B2B marketing in her statement, you can take away the same learning for sales. Pick up your conversation partners on a personal level and don't stick too much to the corporate level.
Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.
It is often said that only people who chase money, power, and prestige work in sales. Some people won’t understand that money is only a by-product for you and many other salespeople. As Tony Hsieh says, it's the other way around: Success and money only come to you when you follow your vision.
If you only do B2B sales for the money, you will find that other salespeople with more passion for the craft and honest interest in their customers, will be more successful.
I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
„What do feelings have to do with sales?”, you might think. But there is a certain feeling behind every job and especially in sales it is important to give the buyers exactly the right feeling to make them buy in the end. The consultant doesn't buy your smart headphones because he finds them beautiful, but because they make him feel modern, clever, and popular.
As a writer and activist, Maya Angelou accurately captured people's emotions and also knew the power of words. She saw the basis of every success in people's feelings.
One of the criticisms I've faced over the years is that I'm not aggressive enough or assertive enough, or maybe somehow, because I'm empathetic, it means I'm weak. I totally rebel against that. I refuse to believe that you cannot be both compassionate and strong.
Prime Minister of New Zealand
When it comes to leadership and leadership skills, Jacinda Ardern demonstrates a different leadership style than other state leaders. But who says that "different" is necessarily wrong? In B2B sales, you will certainly encounter the prejudice that sales is only something for loud, extroverted people.
But regardless of whether you have a team under you or superiors above you: Who says that introverted traits can't be just as convincing? Often, it's the quieter colleagues who close big deals and receive a high bonus—but maybe they don't talk about it so loudly.
Conclusion: What Inspires and Drives You?
We hope we were able to provide you with some motivational quotes and fresh input. Some of them were very positive, others more subtle. What motivates you personally? Do you have a sales role model? Which person out there always gets you to get more out of yourself with what they say? Feel free to let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.