Many entrepreneurial organizations that rely on a sales team have fallen prey to a phenomenon that I’ve observed over the years – specifically, the sales saboteur. This person is a sales professional who, for a variety of reasons, believes that he/she doesn’t need to comply with policies and procedures within the company. They actually behave as if everyone in the company works for them. They are extremely disruptive to the administrative/logistical side of the business, as all of their requests (at least in their mind) should be handled prior to any other business activity within the organization.
Frequently, this attitude of superiority becomes damaging to the morale of everyone else in the company and, unbelievably, for the owner of the company. You see, the owner tolerates this behavior because this salesperson is “the best I’ve got”. Ironically, this sales saboteur may not be a very good nor a competent salesperson. I have frequently observed that this salesperson has become ranked “the best” because, over the years, he/she has inherited accounts from other salesperson who have resigned.
I see this phenomenon occurring most often in businesses where their customers buy from them repeatedly. As a result of the attrition/inheritance phenomenon that I just mentioned, the sales saboteur develops a book of business that is very substantial. Consequently, the numbers that he/she brings in are better than other salespeople. They don’t have the benefit of the attrition/inheritance phenomenon. And, if management threatens to modify account assignments or territory alignment in any way, the saboteur will go into full-on berserk mode.
Now, I want you to take a hard look to answer this question. If you agree on what I’ve described above and if you feel that one or more of your salespeople are indeed saboteurs or terrorists, in light of their terrorizing your company, answer this question. Are they selling better than other salespeople, or are your customers buying better? That attrition/inheritance phenomenon allows the saboteur to get the book of business and start making demands. They want exceptions for delivery, for pricing, for terms and conditions, for support… you name it. And it’s all because, over the years, they have inherited a book of business.
Don’t let a saboteur terrorize your company into suboptimal performance. As always, I wish you…
Good Luck and Good Selling!!!