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The Sales Manager Who Wouldn’t



I had been coaching the general manager of a company who asked me to meet with the very experienced sales manager to see if there was anything I could do or suggest to make a strong player even stronger. The company was in need of new business development, and other than the sales manager, the sales force was either not sales experienced or industry experienced. Most of the existing client relationships had been developed by the owner, who was no longer active in the business.


The problem turned out to be that the sales manager was not really the “strong player” the general manager believed her to be. Although she was a good salesperson, she was no longer developing sales herself, but just managing the sales staff. Neither the general manager nor the sales manager realized that a seven million dollar company couldn’t afford to have a sales manager that is not selling. Make no mistake about how difficult it is to sell and manage. The manager must take care of their own accounts, as well as, deal with the situations that the sales people need help with on a daily basis. It is truly two jobs.





I explained the above to the sales manager, but she continued to only manage and not sell. The general manager asked me to intervene by directly interviewing the sales force. I found that the sales manager was babysitting every little thing the sales force was doing because she was afraid someone would make a mistake and the general manager would fire her. Sadly, the recommendation was to replace her.The sales manager was replaced with a selling sales manager. This guy got the “two job” message and was doing beautifully after his first year on the job.


Initial savings: $175,000.

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