When Should You Terminate Your Sales Leader?

There comes a time when you may be questioning whether the sales leader you have is the right one.

Typically, by the time you ask yourself these questions – It’s usually too late. The key is recognize the symptoms as early as possible so perhaps you can do something about it and minimize any negative impact.


How are they missing their targets?

The team isn’t hitting targets. No good leader would fire a sales leader as soon as they miss targets, but how they miss targets is important. Were they close? Did the leader make adjustments throughout the month, quarter? Did they make adjustments or did you have to make recommendations? Did they have weekly milestones they were off track on and did nothing about? Do they know and understand why they missed targets? What is their plan to course correct? If you change nothing, you won’t magically get amazing results. Execs cannot be sucked into babysitting the sales team and being expected to grow.


Maybe termination isn’t the best option.

Good culture fit, but bad skills fit. In this situation, termination isn’t always the best course because often they have the loyalty of the team, but not the skills to hit targets. Perhaps shifting them into a new role or bringing in a more senior leader is more appropriate when your Sales Leader is a culture fit, has core values alignment and is willing to do what is needed to help the organization succeed. In that case, if they are simply out of their depth and don’t have the tools to take the company further, it is incumbent upon you as the leader to do something.


Or maybe it is.

Poor culture fit. If they are emotionally wasteful, they create a toxic environment, this is one of those unfortunate but necessary times when it’s best to remove them. These people create a political minefield inside the company, often creating turmoil between team members and other teams within the company. Even if they are hitting their targets, it’s a countdown to when they miss targets. Also, imagine if they weren’t such a drain, where else could the team be?

Now, just because they are intense and make people uncomfortable, that doesn’t make them toxic. That simply means the rest of the organization needs to step up. You have a high performer that is a pacesetter for everyone else. Most organizations would kill to get their hands on someone who makes everyone else look bad.


There are many reasons to terminate a sales leader, but the 2 most apparent reasons would be if they can’t hit the targets and don’t know how to. And the second is if they are making the rest of the team worse.

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