Double don’t bother. This is a trainwreck in the making. This option seems like a winner but isn’t.

There are two ways this option typically plays out. The first has the salesperson also manage the team. I’ve never seen this option work, but I have heard an occasional owner say it’s working for them. I’m not sure I believe them because they’re not measuring the soft cost, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.

This option seems like a free ride. The salesperson keeps their sales quota, and you get a free sales manager. How does that work? Is the salesperson so underworked that they have dozens of hours a week available to also manage the team? Here’s what usually happens when businesses try this dual role.

  • The salesperson sales drop because they have additional responsibilities
  • The salesperson hates sales management because sales management is very different than a sales role. The salesperson eventually stops doing all of the sales management activity. Many times companies don’t compensate the salesperson for the sales management activity, thereby creating no incentive to do it. Surprisingly, many CEOs are stunned when the salesperson stops doing the sales management work.
  • The salesperson Peter Principles. It’s pretty common. Great salespeople tend to be lousy sales managers. It’s the safe bet. The skills are different, and most salespeople don’t have both sets of skills. The “fun” part begins after everyone realizes they are failing as sales manager. The business owner may try to put the toothpaste back into the tube by undoing the dual role. However, even though the salesperson disliked the management role, it still feels like a demotion to go back to a sales role. There’s at least a 50% chance the salesperson will quit or act out enough to be fired if you try to put the toothpaste back into the tube.
  • The loss of sales from the move doesn’t cost justify the gains from mediocre sales management.

The other option involves removing the salesperson from the sales role and moving them purely into sales management. Many of the factors above play into this option as well, but the most common outcome is that the salesperson doesn’t like sales management and doesn’t have the skills to succeed. Now you have effectively fired them from their sales role and promoted them to a sales management role in which they failed. Good luck fixing this. Now you really are firing them from the management role. It’s demotivational and demoralizing at best for the salesperson.

Option 6: Fractional sales leader