Sales Managers – Are You in the Poo-Scoopin Business?

Got a call from HR the other day to “inquire” about some actions related to my team.  Proverbs 14: 4 says, “where no oxen are, the manger is clean, but much revenue comes by the strength of the ox.”  Thankfully, there were no casualties from this event, however, leading alpha-oxen sometimes comes with a pile of excrement…it’s simply part of the job.  The stronger the oxen, the more dung in the manger.

Confession time – scoopin poo is something I enjoy.  It means my flock is doing their thing…they’re seeing customers, they’re engaging their peers to execute on multi-headed selling strategies, and they’re passionately engaged in the daily battles necessary to claw for every inch.  If you aren’t in the poo-scoopin business, it is just a matter of time before your business comes to a screeching halt.

Years ago, I managed a rep who challenged my boss in a public meeting.  It didn’t end well.  There was arguing, yelling, and yes…eventually tears.  After calling a time-out, I pulled my rep aside and asked him what happened.  His reply was interesting as he said no one cares more about his business than him – and if anyone challenges him, he will fight to the death.  I believed him – how inspiring!  I asked my boss  for a mulligan – as my argument was, if we had a team full of passion like this, we would be unstoppable.

I have found over the years that managing people there is a universal truth – you can’t make someone care.  It’s impossible to fake and it stands out like a sore thumb.  Unlike most sales leaders, exiting someone from my business isn’t really hard for me.  The criterion for an exit is almost always the same – they simply don’t care.  They aren’t having conversations internally or externally, their expense accounts are non-existent, they aren’t talking to me…there’s no dung in the stable.

If one of your oxen is weak, remove him from your stable immediately.  This business is hard.  Really hard.  It’s not for everyone.  It’s a privilege to sell software as no profession matches the quality of life with pay received.  Clean mangers translate to a weak business – finding the strongest oxen may require some extra cleaning of the stalls…but well worth the effort!

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