Tag Archives: “morale killer”

Motivating The Troops

30 Jul

I was invited to sit in the back of the room for a new-year sales kickoff meeting. Unbeknownst to me, the sales team had finished the prior year ranked 16th of 16 teams. The local VP had been relieved of his duties about 3 months prior so the area VP was in town to talk with the team. By the end of the area VP’s 30 minute kickoff speech I was shaking my head in amazement regarding the number of bad Sales Manager 101 cliches he managed to use.

He started the meeting by telling the group that he enjoyed being a jerk and that this particular group brought out the worst in him. Although he called himself something worse than a jerk, a word that rhymes with donkey. He ranted about how bad the team was, how embarrassed he was that they were on his team and that things would be different in the coming fiscal year. Then he had them all watch Alec Baldwin’s (in)famous speech in Glengarry Glen Ross.



When a region does that poorly in sales, I wonder where the fault lies. Is it with all of the reps who did so poorly? Can it be the entire office’s fault? Maybe the sales trainers did not do their job properly? Perhaps it was the marketing group because they delivered bad leads? Did some microeconomic event strike this region while leaving everyone else unscathed? Or maybe the fault lies with the area VP who passed down quotas that weren’t based on in-depth market study and analysis?

I also wondered how things were going to improve. The entire sales team of over 20 people except for 1 rep remained. Quotas were unchanged. Training was pushed out till the next quarter. A new regional VP had yet to be hired. How quickly after they came on board would they be able to positively affect the efforts of a 30-person sales team? Would the area VP be delivering the same speech in 6 months?

Clearly, his sales management style can be summed with the Dilbert-esque comment:


(photo credit: SJT Enterprises)


Morale Killer or Career Limiting Move? Part Two

1 Jun

Reader comments for my original post of “Morale Killer or Career Limiting Move” were the highest to date. The post must have struck a nerve with others, as it did for me. Ironically, I did not even write it!

I intentionally did not share who I thought was the problem in this email exchange because I was very interested in the reader comments. The early comments centered the blame squarely on the VP for sending the first email but the later comments shifted the blame to the rep.

My opinion – The rep did the bigger damage. Whether the company has traditionally held sales meetings over the weekend is not the issue, IMHO. And yes, the VP could have “sold” the meeting. But if the rep was upset and wanted to change the dates, he should have called the VP and expressed his concerns and alternatives The rep could have shared the rest of the team’s feelings and worked out a new date that the VP could announce. But by replying-all to senior management, he forced management to close ranks and support the VP. Even if the rest of management thought the VP was wrong, they had no choice but to support him and save face. The rest of the sales team should be angry with the rep that slammed the door shut on them getting out of a weekend sales meeting.

I went back to my source for these emails to get a bit more information. It turns out that this company never had a weekend sales meeting before. The VP is new from the beginning of the year and hand-picked by the CEO. Half the sales team has 3-6 years of tenure with the company and the rep that replied-all is one of the reps with the longest tenure.

Does this additional information change your opinion? It does not change mine.