5 Traits of a Bad Sales Manager

I once had a sales manager straight out of Horrible Bosses. This guy was such a shallow, egotistical dick that he was itching to fire the HR manager just because she was fat (mind you, she wasn’t even that fat, he was just a jerk). He operated in my-way-or-the-highway mode on everything and alienated most of our sales team along the way.

Bad sales managers like that guy can not only drain your morale, they can also drain your paycheck. Studies show that sales teams with bad managers make on average 20 percent or more less than sales teams with good managers. If you’ve followed our steps to improving your meeting with your sales manager and still find him or her showing more than a few of the traits below, maybe it’s time to formulate an escape plan.

Does Your Sales Manager Know How To Lead?

A bad sales manager will only pop in to check on progress and isn’t there to guide you along the way. I was on a sales call once and the sales manager was so disengaged that he sat there on his laptop the whole time working on a presentation for a different prospect. Needless to say, we didn’t get the deal.

A good sales manager should treat you like an investment. They should come along with you on sales calls, help you out with strategy, and be there to answer any questions and give advice — not just be a receptacle for stats.

Sales Manager Steals All the Credit?

This is my pet peeve because I hear about it happening all the time. Under no circumstances is it excusable for your boss to steal your thunder. Screw that — you worked long and hard and should reap the fruits of your labor. If your boss takes credit for landing that big account bring it up to him or her before the resentment festers and see if it was intentional. If it wasn’t, cool. But remember to document your work as a failsafe. If you have no time to document, let Spiro’s personal assistant app do the CRM data entry for you!

Good managers know how to share the thunder without stealing it. Because they’re good coaches and have invested in you, they can be genuinely proud of their returns. It’s not uncommon to see good bosses using good employees as evangelists for a new idea or approach — that’s how they make themselves shine, and how you know you’re working for a good manager.

Sales Manager Plays Favorites?

Ugh, what is this, high school?! Nothing is more petty and demoralizing than playing favorites and pitting employees against one another. A sales manager at a startup software company I knew gave one guy he hated the worst desert territory — Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada — just as a snub. He didn’t like the guy so he screwed him.

A good sales manager won’t play favorites. Employees should be rewarded for their success and given the right support and coaching for shortcomings. What may look like differential treatment is actually the manager tweaking things so that every member of the team plays to their strengths.

Is Your Sales Manager Never Around?

These people are like groundhogs — they’re out of sight most of the time and pop their heads above ground just to check the weather. A sales manager’s job is to help you. If he or she isn’t around to do it, what’s the point? You might as well not have a boss or just answer to a giant spreadsheet.

Good sales managers are with you all along the way. They’re aware of what’s happening with their team beyond the numbers. They understand the customers, the atmosphere, and the challenges and help everyone reach goal by engaging with the team on every level.

Is Just a Jerk

Going back to the sales manager that wanted to fire the HR manager because he thought she was overweight — that guy was just a jerk. He was bad for morale. There’s really no way to change or work with these types of people so just steer clear. You could always listen to this guy blow steam then sit down and shutup, but that sounds pretty depressing.

If you’re working for a bad sales manager you should get the hell out of dodge. With so many companies looking to fill sales positions, your chances of finding the right fit for you are good. Be sure to interview the company in the same way that they’re interviewing you. Talk to sales managers to see what their managerial style is and how much they’re willing to coach you. Also get the inside scoop from employees and see if they tell you it’s more Horrible Bosses or sales Nirvana.

In sales you can be made or broken by a manager — life is short so you might as well make it a good one!

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