Micromanaging Salespeople | Should You?

There is no such thing as micromanagement, anyone who complains about it, is simply a low accountable on the sales teams.

sales team and sales leader

Is micromanaging your salespeople bad? The reality is micromanagement does not exist. It is a miscategorization of either poor leadership or low accountability from a team member. If you have the correct system and process for your salespeople, you will only need to “manage” your poor-performing sales rep.

So, let’s discuss the common miscategorizations of micromanagement and improve sales performance.

Micromanagement Misnomers

I hear people talk about micromanagement, but it’s not rooted in reality. 

People throw it around because they want more autonomy and less oversight. 

We commonly accept micromanagement concerning an individual trying to do their job, but the company or boss has too many rules or too much control, irritating the individual. 

It’s ultimately impacting the employee’s ability to do their job. 

Now, that makes sense on a surface level. However, it doesn’t play out quite the same way. 

So, let’s discuss the two most common misnomers of micromanagement:

  1. Poor leadership management style
  2. Low accountable team member. 
Get a Team Assessment

Optimize your sales team with Kolbe and PRINT® assessments to identify team-member strengths and motivators and illuminate bad-fit placements.

Sales leader component

I consistently see lousy leadership miscategorized as micromanagement. 

Before you write this off and say that I’m simply just repositioning micromanagement, you need to listen. 

I say micromanagement doesn’t exist, and we’re mislabelling it as poor leadership (for sales managers and leaders) due to how we seek to remedy the situation. 

Let me ask you this: 

How should a sales leader defined as a micromanager become a better leader? How should they go about fixing it? 

In theory, they’re micromanagers, and your sales manager needs to back off and trust their sales team. But that’s not the reality, and it won’t be successful.

However, most poor sales managers and leaders hover, constantly checking and getting in the way because they’re worried about their goal attainment

In theory, they're micromanagers, and your sales manager needs to back off and trust their sales team. But that's not the reality, and it won't be successful.

In reality, your sales manager or leader is waiting in the weeds on the attack – in a fallback position. Your leaders and sales managers retain responsibility for meeting targets for the company’s financial success. 

And they report directly to the CEO, the absolute top of the sales force. 

This is why my distinction is essential. By simply stepping away, it’s unlikely that the goals are just going to get hit. 

Typically, the leader is in the weeds because they haven’t implemented the proper systems and practices. 

They haven’t provided the sales training needed for success. 

They haven’t provided their salespeople with coaching, tools, or resources to sell. 

They haven’t developed the appropriate feedback loops

This is why they must get so close and personal with sales reps. 

This sales leader management type usually has high turnover in employees, especially high performer turnover. 

sales hiring and sales team

Address the sales leadership problem

So, now that we have categorized micromanagement as poor leadership in your organization. 

My advice is to tell your sales leader to level up. 

To stop being called micromanagers, they need to run their teams properly and trust them because the systems are in place. 

So, how do you truly know whether or not you have the right person at the head of the sales organization? Who…

  • can develop creative measures and strategies?
  • can encourage, focus and cultivate your sales culture? 
  • can lead as the top salesperson in the company? 

Or, how do you know when it’s time to invest in some executive measures?

We recommend the first step is using a systematic evaluation template that categorically unroots imminent challenges and behavior with your sales leader.

Using assessment rubrics and templates for performance reviews ensures that you assess all the critical components of success.

Get a Team Assessment

Optimize your sales team with Kolbe and PRINT® assessments to identify team-member strengths and motivators and illuminate bad-fit placements.

The low accountable component

The second part of micromanagement is the “low accountable”.

I hear people complaining about their sales manager and boss being a micromanager, which is why they hate them.

I have been a leader and dealt with my fair share of sales team members who simply aren’t doing what they need to be. I’ve also been called a micromanager.

I need you to think about it this way;

If I’ve built all the systems and put them in place,

I’ve trained you to do your job,
and you’re doing it, and you’re hitting your numbers.

What incentive do I have to chase sales reps around making their life more difficult? I wouldn’t do that.

I have to spend all my time with salespeople who miss their KPIs or targets.

And yes, if you’re one of that salespeople, I will have an overly granular look at your phone calls, direct reports, and sales performance.

I’m going to ask you why your deals aren’t closing?

Why haven’t you followed up with your prospective clients?

Typically, I only ask those I know I have to pull up.

sales team with sales leader

Address the low accountable problem

Do not underestimate how disruptive a low accountable is to your business. Trust me; whether you know it or not, they hurt the rest of the organization and team members.

How do you expect your sales representatives to come to work to hit their goals if your employee spreads toxicity around your business? 

They are crying “micromanagement” because they are underperforming and not hitting their numbers.

God forbid this person ever actually takes some real accountability and takes control.

That is unacceptable.

sales hiring and sales team

Step 1: Frank & Candid Conversation

It is possible the most challenging part for leaders but necessary. This isn’t more feedback or coaching. This is a frank conversation to clarify expectations and set what I want to see from them.
If they can’t agree to these terms, it is time to say goodbye.

Step 2: Performance Improvement Plan

You tell them exactly what they need to achieve within a period. And it is conditional for them to maintain their employment.

Get Team Assessment

Optimize your sales team with Kolbe and PRINT® assessments to identify team-member strengths and motivators and illuminate bad-fit placements.

Does your sales rep's performance concern you?

sales leader speak with prospect and sales team

So, next time a salesperson complains about micromanagement. Take a second look at what precisely they’re calling micromanagement. 

Is it a problem with your sales manager’s management style? 

Or, do you have a low accountable salesperson on your 

If your people give up relatively quickly, that’s a clear sign of disengagement.

And if you’re spotting this inside of your sales team, and you’d like to get them reengaged, you don’t have to fire them.

But there are straightforward ways to pull them away from that and engage them again.

Let me be clear, if you were going to find the solution to your engagement problems, you would have solved them by now.

It’s likely you need support and help to solve them.

Rose Garden is solutions-focused, so if you want me and my team to reengage your team, we will do so with our Team Assessment.

Ali Mirza

About the author:

Ali Mirza is the Founder & CEO of Rose Garden, a national sales consulting organization, and featured in Forbes, Inc, Business Insider, The Huffington Post, Business Rockstars, and The Wall Street Journal.

Ali is a highly sought-after public speaker presenting at multiple national conferences on innovative ways to accomplish transformational growth on your sales team.

Rose Garden provides unparalleled support and guidance to growth-minded founders via sales strategy differentiation, world-class sales culture creation, and exclusive playbooks, processes, and scripts to position them for limitless growth.

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