I usually do the Monday Morning Manager to start the week but I was still recovering from our daughters wedding! What a great time it was too!
So here’s the situation. You’ve been a sales manager for about six months and you just got off the phone with your best salesperson, who informed you that she was leaving the company. She had been in the sales position for a little under a year. She was hired before you came on as the sales manager.
The phone call was tense because this lady had come highly recommended so you were surprised that she was calling it quits. What she told you was not totally surprising. Still, though, you hated to see her leave. This is what you learned from the rep.
- During the year she was with the company her territory changed three times. She wound up losing her key account during the last reshuffle.
- The commission plan had changed after the first of the year, which meant that most reps were somewhat capped on what they could make.
- She commented that when she started, the salespeople did not have to do call reports but now the company wanted them weekly.
- The company had cut back on their entertainment budget, which did affect customer loyalty to some degree.
- The territory change required that she do more traveling. which made it difficult on her due to family commitments.
The company was doing well financially so the changes they made seemed unnecessary. So, is there a lesson to be learned from this scenario? (Obviously, this situation was created to fit a rather unusual scenario but there is still a pearl to be plucked.)
The worst thing you can do to a salesperson is to hire them with one set of rules and then change them after they have been with the company for a while. Yes, there are time when companies are forced to change depending on industry issues, financial issues, product problems and a host of other factors. Sometimes these changes will affect the salespeople. No one can do much about some or most of these.
When you hire a salesperson you, as the manager, have to be completely honest and up front about the company, the conditions of employment, commissions, territory size and other job related factors. There cannot be one bit of mystery or confusion about anything the salesperson will have to do as part of the job. Every question an interviewing rep asks has to be answered truthfully. If you don’t know the answer then state that.
I believe that most salespeople are loyal to the companies they work for until the time comes when the company makes changes for no apparent logical reasons. If you’re a sales manager working for a company like this you should take a hard look at your loyalty, because my suspicion is that the company may not be all that loyal to you.
The Final Thought: Sometimes the enemy of good is better. Dr John Simpson