My Al Pacino-Style Rant Against Ignorant Sales Leaders

Jamie Shanks
Jamie Shanks

Sales LeadersIf you ask sales leaders what matters most, they’ll likely tell you that it’s the numbers.

Hitting targets, exceeding quota and overachieving budget are all examples of fancy terms that we’ve concocted.

We bring people into sales departments fresh out of college to teach them the basics and hope they’ll perform well with some hard work and a pinch of luck. But what happens when people start hitting it out of the park? Read on.

I spoke to a B2B sales guy today. For privacy reasons, which will become obvious shortly, I can’t use his name. Let’s call him Jim.

Jim was a sales guy at a fairly well-known, mid-sized software company selling cloud solutions. What he told me today was shocking! He was responsible for developing leads that were given to him and converting them to appointments which he’d hand off to account executives. Now, here’s where it gets interesting: Jim is a social seller.

Jim was using social media channels like LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ to generate a bulk of his leads and then qualified them to tangible and hard appointments. He was so successful that he was named the top lead developer in his company and was given a company award.

Enter Al Pacino with the congratulatory hoo-ah!

Al Pacino Rant

So can anyone tell me why Jim got fired?

You read that correctly. Jim got canned. He was booted out. And here’s the reason: he didn’t hit his daily dial quota. The company mandates that every lead developer hit 50 dials/day at the minimum. Because Jim didn’t hit this target, he was fired.

Now please allow me to fly off the handle like Al Pacino.

Social Selling Breakup

No, I’m Just Getting Warmed Up

Al Pacino Rant 2

People can try to shut this message down but it still needs to be heard.

What a great example to teach the young people in sales.

  • “We want you to be creative, but not at the cost of making us look like fools!”
  • “Who cares that you outperformed all your peers; you didn’t do it my way!”
  • “Numbers matter, but only if you hit them exactly how I show you!”

So much for the creativity and individuality we claim to want our employees to exhibit.

Shame on Us!

Shame on us collectively as a sales community for condoning this and thinking this is acceptable. This is not just about Jim, because I’ve heard many similar stories like this.

Be Ignorant…On Your Own Time!

Ignorance is a wonderful thing for some but not when it starts affecting other people. To all the sales leaders who are still dialing like it’s 1991, it’s time to evolve!

People are now moving online, just like you, to complement their research.

If you’re going to avoid and ignore the new way of doing things, then please don’t drag down an entire group of people with your destructive behavior.

The Millennial Revolution is Here

Call it dumb luck or a demographic change.

The fact of the matter remains that millennials will comprise the majority of the sales force within the coming decade. What kind of message do we want to send them?

The Bottom Line

Social selling is here to stay. Firing people for doing things the “unorthodox” will only backfire on you. Today, people are turning to social media. Some of your sales reps are in tune with this reality even if you’re not.

Why? Because buyers are now starting their buying journeys online. If you’re not there to meet them in a way that’s meaningful and lasting, the chances of hitting targets and quotas will become a pipe dream (pun intended). I think my colleague Jamie was right when he said that sales leaders will start getting picked off one by one for ignoring/avoiding social selling.

After all, it’s all about the numbers, right?

Book some time in my calendar and I’ll walk you through how social selling will impact your business.

Amar Sheth


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