time to fire your Sales Manager


It’s a tough question that every sales leader faces.  Losing a sales manager can disrupt your sales organization.  As a sales leader, you need to focus on getting to your number.  That means surrounding yourself with a team that can get you there.  Keeping a mediocre sales manager because you don’t have a replacement hurts you.  It can impact you missing your number or worse cause morale issues.  Senior management is looking to you as a leader.


Ask yourself this; “If I was paying this manager out of my own pocket, would I keep them?”  If you waiver or second-guess that decision, you know the answer.


Typically most sales leaders assess their managers through the following:


  • Attainment against quota
  • Forecast accuracy
  • Employee turnover
  • Attitude
  • They do all the right things


These are important, but there are other factors that you need to look at.  Download the Sales Manager Assessment Tool to learn what else to look at.


The tool will provide 3 Key benefits to help you:


  • Outline the 7 warning signals you need to know
  • Assess and score against best practices
  • Provide guidance on areas you see gaps and how to improve


Here is 1 example of a warning sign:

Lack of Sales Rep Promotions: People development is critical to long-term success.  Lack of coaching, feedback and mentoring leads to complacency.  Not having one rep eligible for promotion within 6 months should be a concern.  It’s vital that managers and leaders are looking to move individuals through an organization.  Complacency leads to lackluster performance and teams not being aggressive.  Promoting from within is the number one source for building the virtual bench.  If your managers are lagging in this area, RED FLAG.


Ask yourself the following:

  • Are reps complaining they get passed over for promotions?
  • Do you constantly hear, “Rep A isn’t ready,” but they continue to overachieve
  • What has the turnover been on the team?
  • Is the manager fostering an environment of WE or ME?


To see the other warning signs, download the Sales Manager Assessment Tool.


Don’t fall for KBS

Many sales leaders get caught up in the KBS- Kiss Butt Syndrome.  The manager that constantly agrees with everything you say or do.  Make sure you see through the “niceness” and focus on performance metrics.   Politics are always part of today’s corporate culture.  It’s important to understand the internal dynamics within the sales organization.  Make sure that you judge your team putting politics aside.


Utilizing a PIP

Use the Sales Manager Assessment Tool to get a readout on your management team.  Then get tactical and focus on filling any gaps.  Many sales managers can be coached and trained to perform.  Once you have identified the gaps, develop a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP).

The key components of a (PIP) include:


  • Identify the performance or management issue
  • Discuss the gap or shortcoming
  • Develop an action plan on improvement
  • Define how improvement will be measured
  • Set the timeframe for improvement
  • Discuss with the employee


Performance Improvement Plans are a powerful change tool.  When used correctly they can help an employee turn things around.  Consult your HR team to ensure you are using appropriately.


The ball’s in your court

Sales management performance is key to hitting your number.  Utilize the Sales Manager Assessment Tool to see how your management team stacks up.  Then take the appropriate action to manage up or out of the organization.



Josh Horstmann

Brings a deep level of experience and insight in helping organizations develop and execute their corporate, sales and marketing strategies.

Josh specializes in helping clients solve demanding sales and marketing challenges through aligning functional strategies within an organization. He has worked with clients in manufacturing, ecommerce, software, financial services and technology sectors.


Recently he helped transform an international services company ‘go to market’ strategy, which included assessing talent, re-organizing the sales force, increasing team productivity, reducing the cost of sale and aligning the marketing and sales strategies.


Josh continues to provide thought leadership to his clients advising them on how to build inside sales teams, develop compensation programs, share best practices on social selling, transform sales organizations, drive demand generation programs and acquire and cultivate talent. Along with this he helps organizations align functional strategies.


Read full bio >