Many companies with small sales forces have an owner-managed sales team. On paper, it’s a great idea. You avoid the significant cost of a full-time sales leader while capitalizing on the talent of the owner. Most business owners have good sales skills and the talent to lead the team. So what’s the problem?
Actually, there are two common problems with this method. The first is the availability of the owner’s time. Every business owner goes to bed, leaving ten important things undone. Adding an 11th item isn’t a great idea. Even if the owner is a hard-working machine and can find some time to lead the sales team, is that the highest and best use of their time? No. CEOs need to be CEOing, not playing sales manager. By spending time working in the sales department, more important areas of the business are sacrificed.
The second problem is desire. Never in the history of business has an owner awakened in the morning and said, “Today is going to be one of the best days of my life because I get to manage the sales team.” If you are honest with yourself, sales management isn’t at the top of your “things I enjoy” list. Sales management is hard and requires consistent attention, work, and frustration. Who in their right mind would want to do this every day?
We encourage business owners to own up to these unspoken truths and find someone else to lead the team.