sales manager move onYou reach out to the head of sales operations.  That SM’s numbers have been erratic and you want more data.  He shares with you trends over the last 18 months.  Turnover is high, win rate is low. And when this SM makes his numbers, the big deal saves him.  You wonder if it is time to move on. 


However, removing a sales manager causes sales disruption.  You think ‘bad breath is better than no breath at all.’  Having an open sales manager forces you fill in for the team.  Now you interview for his replacement, run the team and do your ‘day’ job. 


In this post, you can download our Sales Manager Stay or Go Guide.  The guide will:


  • Help you evaluate your current team
  • Point out the key indicators of systemic, poor performance
  • Give you the top 7 signs your Sales Manager needs to go
  • Provide solutions how to start fixing the problem
  • Prepare to fill the position quickly


Removing a Sales Manager is no easy task.  Not only do you have to part ways legally, lost sales usually happen. 


Below are three of the seven signs indicating your Sales Manager needs to go.  You can get all seven by downloading them here.



1. Big Deals save the day:

Everyone needs big deals to make the number.  They make life easier.  But a couple rules apply:


  • Those sales usually come from a select group of sales people.  These ‘rainmakers’ are needed in every company.  But poor Sales Managers rely on them solely to make their number.
  • Perform an analysis of Sales Manager team quota performance broken out by sales rep.  This will tell you which SMs are being carried by a superstar.
  • SM forecast is not very accurate.  Forecasting big deals is tough at the end of the quarter.  SMs who can’t be accurate in forecasting don’t have a command on their business.


2. Lack of Field Interaction:

Poor Sales Managers spend time reading on industry trends and customer behavior.  Why? Because they are not in the field with their reps.


  • They need to get caught up on what is happening.
  • They need to provide coaching to their reps.
  • They need to make the number from their desks.
  • Reading about customers is easier then interacting with them.  The problem is this never works.


    ***A simple rule:  your SMs should spend 75% of their time with their reps.     


3. Turnover is higher than company average:

Are your sales rep leaving but your SMs are not?  Just like sales reps, too low Sales Manager turnover is a leading indicator.


  • It can be a sign of your team missing the number.
  • Your SM driving out good sales people who haven’t been developed.
  • Great SMs develop their team and make the number.  Don’t miss this important point.


Still not convinced that a Sales Manager needs to go after noticing these signs?  Do some further analysis as demonstrated below:


One of our customer’s Sales VPs was not convinced to remove his SM.  The signs were all present.  However, he brought the person into the company and wanted to stick with him.  The sales operations leader analyzed all the sales managers to help. He looked at the value of the SM based on Gross Margin Contribution.  This extra data along with the 7 signs provided enough information.  The Sales VP transitioned the Team 12 SM out of the company.


sales managers ranked


Now get tactical with your Sales Managers.  Your executive team is observing from a distance.  They want to know if you can evaluate your talent.  They want to know if you can recognize a poor SM.  They want to know if you can make a move on someone.  Be informed by accomplishing these critical actions:


  • Review the key indicators quarterly at a minimum: Quota performance, turnover, win rate etc.
  • Research the quantitative data further:  Look for how valuable the SM is to the company.
  • Link the information together to decide on your next actions:  Sequence these actions.  Have them build upon one another.
  • Find the SM replacement to not lose revenue momentum:  Get a virtual bench interview today.
  • Get involved with the team through the change management:  Change is tough. Don’t let it stop a new SM’s progress.


Know when the time to let your Sales Manager go arrives.  Notice the signs and move quickly.   Your number depends on it.  Get all seven signs here.