Should I stay or should I go now?

(With apologies to The Clash for hijacking the name of their song)

As a consultant, sales coach and recruiter I’m often asked for advice from sales folks – both salespeople and sales managers who lead a team of people – about whether I think they should ‘hang in there’ at their current employer when things aren’t great or if they should try and seek greener pastures where a better sales environment might exist. Even in today’s uncertain economic conditions.  

There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to that question. It all depends on your level of disatisfaction with your current situation and what the exact reasons are for wanting to look further afield.

If it is your boss that you simply can’t work for a day longer then perhaps you need to think twice before throwing in the towel. Do you have anything to do with the way he or she is managing you? it’s time to be brutally honest with yourself here. Perhaps your unhappiness is because you don’t like being called out for not reaching your sales targets. Perhaps your unhappiness is because your manager is simply disrespectful and, for want of a better word,  a total ‘jackass’ who couldn’t manage his or her way out of a paper bag.  (For example, a sales manager who starts a sales meeting witht the words “Hey, am I in the mood for firing someone today!”) Remember, many sales managers are promoted to a management role because of their sales achievements, not their management prowess.

Perhaps the reason is because you’ve totally lost faith in the company. For example your ops team can’t deliver on your sales promise. My advice would be in that case to pack your bags.  Once you’ve lost your belief in what you are selling, unless senior management is aware of the problems and taking some drastic action to address them, there is no point in staying on. One way or another, it is going to affect your sales self-confidence, your sales performance and/or personal drive.  We all know that we have to believe in what we are selling in order to do well and feel comfortable with who we are. Being an authentic salesperson or sales manager is essential.

Are there sales or sales management opportunities out there right now? For sure. However do your homework carefully. My personal view is that generally speaking, companies are not as well structured in their sales environment as they ought to be. Many companies don’t have written sales strategies, many sales managers don’t coach or know how to get the best out of their sales team.  You need to know what type of sales environment will suit your strengths and personal preferences. If you know you need strong management support to keep you on the straight and narrow, then don’t join a company where the manager only floats in once every two weeks.

There’s no excuse for not being a sales professional. The internet is an encyclopedia of sales advice available to anyone and everyone who has a computer or even a phone.  Take every free sales or management assessment you can find to get to know yourself better. Take one or two more in-depth sales assessments where you have to pay for the results – that is of course, if you can afford to do so.

Just do what is right for you. Be accountable for the situation you find yourself in and as I read somewhere once “if you can’t change your circumstances, then change the way you think about your circumstances”.

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