Why Not Use An Interim Sales Manager?

I just returned from a stress free vacation in northern Minnesota and as I was driving back I began thinking about the topic for today’s post. I thought back to a talk I gave several weeks ago about sales management and the traits needed to be successful in that role. About five miles after that thought and the topic for the post materialized.

Why don’t more companies use Interim Sales Managers instead of the full time variety? If you’re a company owner reading this you’re thinking, why would I want a “part time” manager when I can promote or hire a full time manager? I won’t belittle this choice because it is logical and there are ample examples that promoting or hiring a full time sales manager works.

Here are several thoughts that shed a different light on the situation:

  1. From a purely financial perspective an interim manager is less expensive since there are no benefits to pay.
  2. Let’s say that you’ve grown enough to warrant promoting one of your reps to sales manager. Prior to doing that bring in an interim manager to assess which of the reps would make the best manager. The interim manager can also objectively evaluate all the reps, which might be more difficult for the just-promoted salesperson.
  3. Consultants who practice Interim Sales Management generally have a career of sales and sales management behind them so the experience is there. That wealth of experience is not always present with a new hire.
  4. If an Interim Sales Manager (ISM) does not work out, the contract can be terminated with far less downside than if a full time manager is fired.
  5. An ISM can mentor the full time manager when that person eventually is hired.
  6. Disregarding benefits an ISM may be less expensive than a full time manager.
  7. Smaller companies may not need a full time manager, ergo an ISM can enter the company at different times for specific projects.
  8. ISM’s more than likely have an incredible network of both salespeople and sales managers. They can make the hiring of new salespeople less financially and time draining.

Am I suggesting that full time managers may be a thing of the past? Absolutely not. I don’t see that time coming-ever. Company owners have to know, though, that in this unique business environment there are going to be a plethora of sales managers who are either retired or nearing retirement. These folks can be an incredible resource!

I have been doing this type of consulting for the last several years so I know the model works. It is also intensely rewarding to observe positive change within an organization.

The Final Thought: Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them.” Orison Swett Marden


2 thoughts on “Why Not Use An Interim Sales Manager?

  1. Pingback: Sales Management Blogwatch - August 23, 2008 - The Best of the Sales Management Blogs - Ask The Manager

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