Sales Managers - Worthwhile or Worthless?

Aug 3, 2016

  1. GXR2
    Offline

    GXR2 Super Genius

    Posts:
    153
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sales managers ... What do you think of this agency position? Here are some comments I've read and been told by other agents over the years:

    ... These are usually ex-producers or owners who can't hack it in the real world anymore as a tough producer or agent owner.

    ...They're just a barnacle on the backside of the agency sucking a fat paycheck and percentage of an agents commission without really doing anything of value for the agency or agent.

    ... Their main purpose is to act as a buffer between the next level up (director of sales or agency owner) but really don't add value to an agent.

    ... They're babysitters. Fielding client escalations and complaints, attending company meetings, smiling, and kissing their boss's ass, so their boss doesn't find out they really don't do anything.

    ... They hire and fire agents, and give stupid, worthless sales coaching advice as ... "just Sale! Sale! Sale!" or "Go pound the pavement!". That's about it.

    ... All know how to reprimand, but few know how to successfully coach and inspire.

    ... They're like the manager in the movie Office Space ... Walk around with a coffee mug and do nothing but say.. "Hey.. Whatcha doing?" .. "How's it going?" All day long.

    You may work under a sales manager, or at some point as an agency owner decide to hire one.

    What qualities make for a good sales manager?

    Agents have a client retention goal, do you think a sales manager should have a human capital retention goal?

    What should an agent do if their agency sales manager fails to perform, or their actions or inactions actually makes the agent's job harder?

    What has been your experience with your agency sales manager?
     
    GXR2, Aug 3, 2016
    #1
  2. insurance1822
    Offline

    insurance1822 Guru

    Posts:
    1,635
    Likes Received:
    22
    State:
    Alabama
    Are you talking about a company rep position? OR an individual within a large agency who's responsible for essentially running the agency (or the sales division etc.)

    Company reps are entirely useless.

    Agency managers are for people like me who don't want to do sh*t so they pay an office manager garbage money to essentially run the agency on the daily. So agency managers basically do the bulk of the work of the agency owner & the owner just checks in more or less.
     
  3. GXR2
    Offline

    GXR2 Super Genius

    Posts:
    153
    Likes Received:
    0
    Not the office manager. A sales manager manages the producers. Usually hired when an agency has grown with a few offices. He/She/They manage a territory or region of producers. Typically in a large agency a sales manager doesn't run the whole sales division that's the job for the director of sales, and even higher up the VP of sales. A typical sales manager's job is to hire tallent, oversee, coach, mentor, improve performance of producers. Good ones will even set up and coordinate business building efforts for their producers to execute. Often in larger agencies. Some carrier reps act as regional managers for their company.
     
    GXR2, Aug 3, 2016
    #3
  4. whatyouwantfinally
    Offline

    whatyouwantfinally Expert

    Posts:
    96
    Likes Received:
    1
    State:
    Alabama
    There are obviously incompetent sales managers in all industries, but the reason you hear those things so often is because even the best ones don't bring all that much value to good producers. It's just the nature of their job. Top producers don't need much (if any) help; the manager's job is to find/teach more of them and replace the ones who will inevitably outgrow the place and leave. The long game for the agency isn't usually the same as for an individual top producer.

    The tension exists because one thing that hurts efforts to get new people to buy in mentally and learn a system is the appearance of preferential treatment. So, vets are subjected to things that are meant to indoctrinate/train new people, which is typically a waste of their time. Money is the best motivator; pep talks are for people who haven't made any yet.

    If I were paying a sales manager I'd be most concerned with these factors:

    Can you teach my system of acquiring business effectively to the right type of people? Can you identify those people? Know when to hold em/fold em, meaning how well can you judge when it's worth working more with someone vs when it's time to let them go. Should be popular with the new reps, tolerated by the good ones.
     
  5. 1963
    Offline

    1963 Super Genius

    Posts:
    108
    Likes Received:
    5
    State:
    Alabama
    I've been on both sides of this fence, and my experience was a good lesson on the value of the agent, with a lesson on what makes a good sales manager. At the end of the day, agency success will always come down to competent agents. No company, sales manager, nor district office EVER succeeded with sorry agents. The debate about the sales agent's worth stems from one thing - because of the lack of a precise job description, sales managers are critiqued based on PERCEIVED job tasks. Agent to agent descriptions vary in opinion. But for sure, if there is no value added as measured by sales dollars, the description that will best describe that sales manager will be FORMER!
     
    1963, Aug 5, 2016
    #5
  6. todd02
    Offline

    todd02 Guru

    Posts:
    568
    Likes Received:
    0
    State:
    Alabama
    Let's not confuse a real sales manager vs a small book of business Agent just labeling someone a "Sales Manager". I hired a VP of sales to manage my, for now, small 5 mill book. She does my hiring, firing, coaching and training and daily monitoring. That's worth every penny as long as it's executed correctly. Not enough time in the day to grow with out the RIGHT team.
     
    todd02, Aug 6, 2016
    #6
  7. AboutThatLife
    Offline

    AboutThatLife Guru

    Posts:
    546
    Likes Received:
    19
    When you say garbage money, you mean his compensation is shitty?
     
  8. The Colonel
    Offline

    The Colonel Super Genius

    Posts:
    100
    Likes Received:
    0
    State:
    New York
  9. CJ Tibbs
    Offline

    CJ Tibbs Expert

    Posts:
    23
    Likes Received:
    0
    Mine is incompetent but he also produces. Don't know...but i think he's wearing too many hats (either that or its because he's related to the boss that he has his job).
     
    CJ Tibbs, Aug 15, 2016
    #9
  10. djs
    Offline

    djs Super Moderator Moderator

    Posts:
    6,679
    Likes Received:
    72
    State:
    California
    Bottom line: If you have multiple producers, someone has to be the 'manager'. It can be you or someone you designate.

    If you have seasoned professional producers then you probably can be your own sales manager. If you need to hire, monitor, train, coach, encourage, discipline, whatever a team of producers, and your book is large enough to support a team of producers, you need a sales manager because YOU won't have time to do it all.

    Sales managers are usually seen by salesmen as worthless slime. Its the nature of the job. Doesn't matter the industry. Just keep in mind, sales managers don't work for the sales team, they work for you and the manager needs to be pushing the sales team for you.

    Dan
     
    djs, Aug 15, 2016
    #10
Loading...
Similar Threads
  1. motard78
    Replies:
    22
    Views:
    1,779
  2. DSInsurance
    Replies:
    6
    Views:
    683
  3. dflag888
    Replies:
    4
    Views:
    487
  4. todd02
    Replies:
    9
    Views:
    1,162
  5. 1manshow
    Replies:
    4
    Views:
    3,150