Sales Management: Three Sure Ways to Get Fired Next Year

December 8, 2011 at 7:00 AM

Sales Management Turnover in 2011 will exceed 28% across all sales organizations.  52% of VP of Sales are dissatisfied with their current Sales Management team responding that most are ‘B’ or ‘C’ players.  Over 63% of Sales Managers are dissatisfied with their current jobs and are looking for new ones. 

‘Houston, we have a problem’

If you want to be one of the sales managers that get fired next year, there are 3 sure ways to accomplish that task.  This list does not include missing your quota.  That is a non-negotiable of your job.  Why should a company even have a sales manager if you can’t hit the number?

The list is a combination of actions you wouldn’t do that will help make the quota.  They are all centered on how you are spending your time. Accomplishing these three things will have you updating your resume next Holiday season:

  1. Inaccurate Forecasting.  You consistently miss your forecast with only 75% accuracy.  Your sales reps don’t use the company sales process because you don’t reinforce it on every deal. The sales reps don't place their opportunities in stages. They consistently provide you “a gut feel” about their monthly number.  And you don’t help strategize with them, instead yelling something like “just go out and make it rain” or “don’t tell me how rough the water is, just bring the ship in.”
  2. Desk Jockey.  You show up in the office (or your home office) every day “riding the pines”.  You haven’t seen a customer for a month and focus your time and attention on pricing deals for your reps. You consistently are reading sales force effectiveness books because you don’t really know what is happening with your customers.  You use your expense account as a form of income because you aren’t earning any bonus due to your poor team’s performance.  And you are always interviewing sales people with industry experience looking for the quick fix.
  3. No new capability acquisition. (aka:  playing it safe)  Why rock the boat with a new idea?  Why learn about the new way to cold call?  Why try different ways to solve a customer’s problem?  You got the Sales Manager job because you were the best sales rep on the team.  Building relationships is the best way to keep the business. So don’t challenge the customer or jeopardize the account with some crazy idea that would solve the customer’s problems.  As long as your customer retention number is in the high 80% range, you can ‘survive’ until this poor economy turns around and you will be back on easy street.

Unfortunately, we see Sales Managers every day really ‘nail’ these three actions.  We see them trying to do the least possible actions thinking the ‘good’ times will be back.  Sales Management needs to improve.  And they need to improve quickly. 

I had a sales manager who displayed these three actions every week.  When I interacted with her or her sales reps (more than 3 reps who distribute these actions on a team make a trend), I always caught her in the office.  She consistently missed her forecast blaming her reps and she was late and left early when we rolled out a new training process.  She was lousy at spending her time wisely.

She was fired.  I fired her.  And my sales from that team improved over 35% in 3 weeks.

Are you afraid of making a mistake?  Are you frightened of changing your daily actions in fear of losing a rep or missing some short term revenue?  Are you trying to hold on thinking the old ways of the past will keep you in the job?

If you are, update your resume.  You are about to get fired.

Do you want some help? Start with the chart below.  Do more of the things on the left side and reduce the actions on the right:

Sales Management

Need some further guidance?  Leave a comment or attend our next webinar and obtain a new capability.  It might be the start of a good Holiday next year.

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Topics: Sales Management, Sales Manager, Sales Manager Resources

Posted by Dan Perry

Dan Perry
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