When sales complains about management, and management complains about sales…

sales vs managers
Who’s wrong? Probably neither. Dysfunction in a sales office is often just a symptom of bad communication. Sometimes, the fix is as simple as putting yourself in your manager’s (or sales team’s) shoes. In this post, I examine a couple of the most common complaints from both sides of the desk. Learning about the issues faced by your team (or supervisor) just might inspire you to bury the hatchet and move your whole office forward.

Common complaints from management about sales

“They always slack off after they hit their targets.” 

This issue often arises when a salesperson has an extremely productive week or two at the beginning of the month, and it’s easy to understand both sides of the argument. From the salesperson’s perspective, they’ve done the job, and don’t feel obligated to go above and beyond. From management’s perspective, the relaxation implies a lack of initiative and a bad attitude. One compromise is for management to provide additional incentives to maintain a high activity level after hitting targets.

“They accuse me of micromanaging whenever I want to change something.”

As we’ll see in the “sales complaints” section, micromanagement can be a very real problem for salespeople. But it can also be used as a defensive “card” to playin response to unwanted (but appropriate) management decisions. A simple way around this impasse is to explain changes as thoroughly as possible. If salespeople understand why a change is necessary (and managers understand why they consider it intrusive), adversarial situations are much less likely to develop.

Common complaints from sales about management

“My territory is too small.”

This is among the most common complaints heard by managers when they increase the workload of a sales team. The issue, of course, is that re-dividing territories is costly in terms of time and customer loyalty, and granting one request to change territory can lead to others. A better solution is for management to use data targeting to create a more fair list of prospects for each salesperson.

“I can’t work with all this micromanagement.” 

When done wrong, micromanagement can be a real drag on sales performance that burns time and annoys your staff. When done right, it’s generally called “coaching” instead. What’s the difference? Believe it or not, a big part of it is tone. Being assertive but not confrontational with your orders and suggestions can make your sales team more receptive to active management.

Salespeople are often free-spirited types, which tends to lead to some clashes with management (by definition, not a very free-spirited job). These strategies can help your office to avoid a lot of friction, but if you’re looking for a sales team that naturally works well with your personality, check out Oppty.ai. We evaluate candidates and companies based on personality and culture traits, then match them mathematically to give you the best-fitting team possible.