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Do you love your Sales Manager?

April 20, 2010

Cindy Donaldson, Director of Marketing & Personal Lines Sales - Founders Insurance Group

As many of you know, I manage the personal lines sales team here at Founders Insurance Group. Yes, it is challenging, at times frustrating but overall it’s a job I can sink my teeth into and enjoy. When I took on this additional position – I also oversee all the marketing, advertising, branding and PR for the agency – people looked at me like I had 3 heads. “Are you nuts? ” – heard that one more than once along with a litany of other crazed remarks.

So I ask – are sales managers like tax collectors? Are they a despised group of individuals in the business world?

Here is what I do know:

Service team leaders typically don’t like sales managers. Sales people tend to drive service people nuts. Knowing this, as I’ve been on both sides of the fence, I addressed it immediately with my team. Thou Shall Play Nice in the Sandbox with the Team. No exceptions. We all get along just fine – most of the time J

Marketing Directors don’t like sales managers because they claim that the sales people just don’t get their vision, can’t sell their brand. Well – I have those bases covered. I’m both. Ok, I do argue with myself sometimes, but I get over it pretty quickly. Life is too short.

Owners have a love hate relationship with sales managers. When sales are where they need to be we are loved, when they are in the toilet – well, enough said. Me, well I’m liked. I have until the end of the year for me to feel the love – but I’ll get there. (fingers crossed)

Salespeople do they love us or hate us? The million dollar question.

  • I think most sales people in the beginning of their careers really don’t care much for their managers. Why? We ride them, and ride them pretty hard. We have to micromanage most greenhorns so they understand the process of selling, so they can become self disciplined and ultimately hit their goals. On top of that – they aren’t making a ton of money as a newbie. They haven’t paid their proverbial dues to the Sales Gods.
  • In the middle of their careers – salespeople are indifferent to their managers because if they are good at what they do, they are left alone by the boss. As it should be – never micromanage a good salesperson – ever.
  • Towards the twilight years, salespeople tend to become complacent – they’ve paid their dues. My opinion – let them enjoy their success, adjust goals and compensation to reflect this part in their career and focus on the next generation.

So, does my sales team hate me like the tax-man or love me like a sales goddess? (I’m sitting laughing at my desk right now). I’ll have to say I’m in the middle somewhere. I’m not an easy boss. I’m not empathetic, really don’t like whiners and excuses drive me nuts. On the flip side, I will not make my employees do anything I wouldn’t do myself, I’m not afraid of chipping in when they need my help and am a strong believer in a team effort. I haven’t forgotten what it is like to be in their shoes – and hopefully they know that. They do call me a slave driver though – I’m not sure that is an endearing compliment, is it? Ultimately when (not if) they are successful and at the top of their game – they will thank me for all my evilness – and maybe take me out to lunch, versus the other way around!

Here’s to all of us sales managers out there – love us or hate us, we have a job to do!

Now as one of my mentors use to say – Get out there and sell something!


Cindy Donaldson

Director of Marketing and Personal Lines Sales

Founders Insurance Group.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Chris G permalink
    April 30, 2010 12:01 am

    As an “owner” I feel compelled to comment on your entry. Good sales managers are also resilient. Able to keep pushing the edges while always moving forward. You are a sales manager with those qualities. Keep up the good work and keep moving forward!

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