Saturday Morning Sales

Kevin Latchford


Q&A Week 21 - November 17, 2018

For the past few years, since I began using this weekly blog to share stories about sales and sales management, I have been receiving numerous questions from readers including my own clients. Over the next several months I am going to use my weekly ramblings to post one reader question with my answer. Please note – my answers are based on my personal and professional experiences and in no way reflect my company or specific clients.


Q: I am the owner of a small company with 35 employees. I have 3 sales reps that report directly to me. I’ve been working with my management team to put a growth plan in place and now it may be time to have a vice president of sales. I don’t believe any of the 3 people I currently have would be good in sales management, especially because I want someone to help us with our growth plan. At the same time I don’t want to push my sales reps out the door. How do I add a key management team member without losing my sales people?


A: Are you familiar with EOS, the Entrepreneurs Operating System, or the EOS-related book Traction? If not, please check it out, it may be a real game changer for you since you want to grow your company. Through EOS and as carefully outlined in Traction, you must be more focused and concerned about having the right leadership team in place, even if it means losing a team member or two. You’ve already admitted that none of your sales people are leadership material. That’s not to say they’re not valuable sales team members, but clearly you do not believe they can help you lead the company through an aggressive growth plan. This means you must hire from outside of the company. It is also a decision that you must own, as the owner of the company, and be supported by your other leadership team members. If they support you, and you are ready to own this decision, then proceed. I would not initially invite your existing sales people into the process. I would proceed with interviewing the right growth-oriented sales manager that you and your other leadership team members agree would be a good fit. This person must be a good fit for you not necessarily for your existing sales people. The sales manager must believe in your vision for growth and you must believe they can help you accomplish the growth you seek. You need to be transparent with the candidate in that they are being brought in to grow the company with or without the existing sales people. Therefore, the existing team is unaware of this interview process in that moment, but will be brought up to speed before the manager is asked to accept the offer. Once you’ve reached the offer stage, then you bring the sales people into the loop on this process, explaining carefully that they’ve done nothing wrong, but that you want to bring to them a new coach with new energy. You are bringing in a leader to help them not hinder their progress. Introduce the potential new sales manager to the team and allow them to interview each other. But, realize you and your leadership team are making this call, not the sales people. This is a courtesy provided both of them to see where each other is coming from. This will allow the new sales manager, should he or she accept the position, to have a full understanding of what they’re walking in to. And, if your existing sales people are not ready or want this change, the new sales manager will have time to plan accordingly for the addition of their own people. Growth is too important to let everyday sales people hold you back. You must have the right leadership in place to accomplish your goals. The right sales leader will ensure the right sales butts are in the right sales seats on your growth-oriented sales bus.

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