A Different Kind of Outsourcing – Interim Management
Have you ever experienced one or more of the following scenarios?
- Your sales manager has just resigned and suddenly you’re left trying to figure out how to manage all of these reps (and many deals!) on top of your normal responsibilities.
- Your firm has grown to a size where the account executives need a more dedicated manager for strategizing and mentoring, but you don’t think this will be a full-time role for several months.
- You’ve just taken a new (and risky) assignment as chief operating officer for a slumping firm that has also fired most of the senior management team. Your number one objective: increase revenues—fast!
All of these situations, and many others like them, can leave you in dire straits when sales are on the line. Unless you are constantly interviewing and networking for “A” players, whether you have open roles or not, it is likely that your search for a sales manager will take two to four months. Your first reaction might be “Get somebody! Anybody! And fast!!” But this could be a very costly mistake.
Given that most firms do not have a ready bank of top-notch talent to call upon to manage a sales group, hiring an interim sales manager can be the best short-term solution. An interim manager who has strong industry and sales management experience can quickly assess:
- Quality of the sales team
- Quality of the pipeline
- Sales process issues that are obstacles to success
- Compensation plans and related incentives—or disincentives—to sales success
An interim manager can then serve as the strategy coach to help sales people “major on the majors”: focus on and close the deals that are winnable and not waste time on the unqualified distractions. The interim manager will serve as trainer and mentor, tailoring training and guidance to both individuals and the group as a whole. If and when senior management decides it’s time to find the full-time manager, the interim manager can help define the role and screen candidates.
Some firms resist this option because of both real and perceived issues. One real issue is that the interim manager is not, and does not become, a product/service expert. Another issue is that s/he is not on-site 8 hours per day, every day. In both cases the perception is that reps (and the firm) will not be able to achieve its goals. However, the interim role is typically geared toward achieving major strategic and tactical objectives and, together with today’s modern communication technology, the right balance of product knowledge and communication can usually be struck.
Properly executed, interim sales management bridges those inevitable personnel gaps and produces “wins” for management and salespeople alike. The Collaborative has a successful history of offering interim sales management. We welcome the opportunity to discuss with you.