The single biggest mistake sales managers make

Attention Sales Managers:

No One Person Can Save Your Organization!

Like all people, sales managers are often susceptible to the lure of universal solutions. One of the most common of these false solutions is the “God’s Gift” syndrome. If you are a sales manager, this is the type of thing that you want to avoid. If you’re a sales associate, you’ve probably had to work under a manager who has made this mistake in the past.

Here’s how it tends to play out:

A desperate high level sales manager hears about a very successful sales person in another organization who has performed phenomenally over the past few years but who is looking to move to a new company. Your manager then courts this person and attempts to convince him or her to move to your organization. When this hot shot seller agrees, your manager introduces him or her as the solution to all of the company’s problems. In the eyes of the manager, this new employee is “God’s Gift” to your organization. They may even assign this new person as a mid-level manager, thinking that he or she will be able to radically transform the company’s performance.

Why Doesn’t This Method Work?

In reality however, simply bringing a new person on board is hardly ever a fix all-solution. In fact, this new seller may have come from a very different industry or from an organization which works very differently from your own. For any number of reasons, they may not very well be able to translate their former success into this new environment. The high level managers in this situation have just placed all of their hope in a single person who-as it turns out-can’t even deliver what is needed of them.

Advice For Sales Managers

The “God’s Gift” syndrome is by no means an isolated phenomenon. Rather, it is part of a larger trend in which managers tend to make the mistake of governing by numbers. They see only the surface statistics without really getting at what is underneath. A manager who takes this type of position will be drawn to sellers who deliver the numbers and will mistakenly assume that these numbers represent some universal measure of success. This assumption however, is not true. A sales associate who is able to deliver excellent numbers in one market may be totally inept in another. Our advice to sales managers is that you should always try to look beyond the numbers. Instead of taking them at face value, try to look for the underlying conditions which made them possible.

Someone who follows this advice will be less likely to give individuals positions of power merely because they have delivered good numbers in the past. Rather, they will critically examine the situation in which these numbers were produced and decide carefully whether these individuals are likely to be able to produce this type of success once they are moved into a different environment.

So here’s the question… Have you experienced the “God’s Gift” syndrome? If so did this person save the company? How long did they last? Was the company better off after he or she was hired?

Tell us your “God’s Gift” syndrome story!

This post was inspired by the podcast titled “Dealing with a new sales manager!”   Warning! It was kind of a rant but very therapeutic if you know what I mean!!!!

Good Selling
Mike & Joe
SalesRoundup Podcast

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14 comments for “The single biggest mistake sales managers make

  1. August 11, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    This happened to me when I was a sales manager and the CEO brought in a VP of Sales who was going to save us. Unfortunately, Mr. Big was from a background of inside sales with a high pressure mentality: “Dialing for Dollars”. It was a pure numbers game for him; if you made enough dials and dumped your pitch on enough victims, you would prevail. We were, however, a clearly differentiated product with an impressive ROI and delivered astonishing value to customers who we met face-to-face. Mr. Big’s attempts to change the culture resulted in 6 bad quarters before he resigned and landed back in a high pressure call center centric company….where he belonged. There is a time and place for everyone and I agree that one size doesn’t fit all.

  2. Keegan
    September 6, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Here’s just some food for thought. When your company is hiring somebody to “save the company” its a worse situation for the new person being hired. For one they are just being setup for failure since most likely the expectations are too high for the results that can be obtained. The other thing to remember is when this person fails they are more than likely going to be out of a job.

  3. June 30, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    sometimes Sales Management takes a lot of effort and skill.;;,

  4. July 28, 2010 at 11:22 am

    Sales Management is very essential in making your business succeed, every part of a business should be managed carefully.-`’

  5. October 25, 2010 at 3:10 am

    sales management requires a great skill in time managament and multi-tasking because sales management is not an easy task..~

  6. December 22, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    every sales manager and store owner should have a training in sales management :`~

  7. June 2, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Thanks for the info on that. I wrote it off as just another cost, but I am about to examine it all over again.

  8. August 1, 2011 at 12:33 am

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  9. November 16, 2011 at 12:12 am

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  11. amanda
    July 9, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    looking to read more this is fascinating.

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