My Sales Manager Is a Failure

Last Updated Aug 18, 2010 3:29 PM EDT

Dear Evil HR Lady,
I have a manager who for 6 quarters has not delivered on his sales targets. He gets away with it by shifting blame on team members and other factors. After missing his first 3 quarters, he blamed it on team and almost got an entirely new team on board. He's still not delivering on his sales targets, but now he blames it on wrong account selection. This individual has wreaked havoc on other good sales people by managing them out of the company. How might one expose this behavior to senior execs in the company?
If your manager has failed to meet his targets for 6 quarters and the other sales managers have met their sales goals then the executive team not only knows about it, they are making a case to terminate this manager, he's given them compelling evidence that it's not his fault or they do not care.

You won't know if your manager is on a performance improvement plan unless he either tells you or he gets walked out the door for failure. This is how it should be. Talk about undermining a manager's authority if the big boss walked in and said, "John, here, is on a performance improvement plan! If he fails, he'll be gone in 90 days!"

If he's giving them compelling evidence, it will be difficult for you to present countering evidence. After all, he may be a weenie, but I don't buy the argument that he's driving good sales people out of the company. Why? Because if the salespeople were that good then he would be meeting his targets. Granted, there are undoubtedly managers who prevent their sales people from actually selling, but it's more likely that he's not doing a good job and neither are they. I'm sure the sales force could do a better job with a better manager, but a good sales person can sell even with a bad boss. For the executive types to believe he's driving out the good sales people, there needs to be evidence of good sales. Since there isn't, this argument won't fly.

If they do not care there's little you can say to make them care. I'm not saying that they are happy about low sales. I'm saying that this is not important enough for them to handle the situation.

This may seem absolutely ridiculous--of course the senior team should care about sales. But, they are also frequently stressed out about other things and could be choosing to ignore this right now.

At the end of the day, what you should do is either work hard to bring the sales numbers up or look for a job. Make yourself stand out by your success. Toot your own horn, don't worry about extinguishing your boss's. This isn't a whistleblower situation where management doesn't know what is going on. This is a situation that is either being dealt with or purposely ignored. So, focus on your responsibilities and let the rest go.
Photo by Rick, Flick cc 2.0

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