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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Disney

The 7 Signs of a BAD Sales Manager

In my opinion and experience, bad Sales Managers are one of the biggest, if not THE biggest cause of the majority of problems within the sales industry.

Most of the problems that people or businesses have with sales reps come from their Sales Managers. I'm going to share now the 7 signs of a BAD Sales Manager and the ripple effects those signs can have within a business and the wider sales industry.

Number 1 - They Hire The WRONG Sales People

The first sign of a bad sales manager is that they're hiring the wrong people into sales roles.

They're often the type of person when interviewing who throws the over-used "sell me this pen" question. Then when the interviewee starts spewing made up features and benefits of the imaginary pen, they accept that answer as good!

They don't actually know how to interview salespeople or what to look for in good salespeople. If the interviewee can "talk the talk" they're often guaranteed to get the role.

They don't check references, they don't challenge any of the claims within the CV, they just ask the same questions, not actually listening to the answer, and then make a choice on whether they like the person or not.

Then, a few months later, they blame the SALESPERSON for not achieving their KPI's or targets and have the sack them. A waste of time, money and often has a negative impact on the rest of the team as well.

Number 2 - The Lead From BEHIND Their Desk

One of the worst signs of a bad Sales Manager is that they spend most of their time "managing" from behind their desk. They spend a lot of their day doing supposed "admin", often just scrolling through LinkedIn or sending meaningless emails.

They'll surface every few hours to pace around the office, ask what's coming in, shout at a few people then return to the safety and comfort of their desk. They won't have done any selling in years and purely focus on numbers.

Number 3 - They NEVER Train Their Sales Reps

They'll either use the excuse that they're scared if they train their reps they will leave, or that they don't have the budget for it. Either way, they never train their team, they may possibly give them a 1-day induction when they start but that will consist mainly of product training.

There is also a second batch of BAD Sales Managers who DO train their sales team. They invest in trainers and provide it for their team but they then do NOTHING after the training. They simply use the training as a tick box exercise, just so they can say that they DID provide training.

Number 4 - They Always Put PRESSURE On Their Sales Reps

Whether it's setting huge targets, constantly micro-managing, or barking orders all day long, they put an immense amount of (often unnecessary) pressure, on the team. If the VP of Sales, Sales Director or CEO puts pressure on the Sales Manager, they'll come right back into the office and put all of that pressure on the sales team.

Have you closed that account yet? Why not? Why didn't you do this? What didn't you do that? They're also the type of manager who will say on a regular basis "If you don't hit your target this month I don't know if you'll have a job next month", always threatening the team with their jobs unless they hit their numbers.

Number 5 - They Don't COACH Their Sales Reps

Bad Sales Managers will be very quick to TELL their sales teams what to do but will very rarely (if ever) SHOW them what to do. They never jump on the phones and make sales calls WITH their reps, they never sit and construct emails with their reps, they never jump on LinkedIn and social sell with their reps.

They certainly never listen to sales calls to see what opportunities might exist or where salespeople missed opportunities, they read their emails or check their social activity.

Number 6 - They Are EMOTIONALLY Unstable

They're often angry, stressed, in a state of panic, but then sometimes they're happy and bouncing off the walls. Most of the sales team live on the edge wondering what mood the sales manager will be in each day. Will they come in a good mood? Will they come in a bad mood?

When it's good, boy is it good! They make you feel amazing, they excitable, positive, and full of optimism. When it's bad, however, oh my! Everyone is failing, nothing is acceptable, everyone's jobs are at risk and everyone is getting shouted at.

Number 7 - They Hold Their Sales People BACK

The last sign is that they hold their sales reps back from progression. The fear that someone within their team will become better or more popular than they are and that they will then take their job. They put them down, make them feel less important and not valuable, and never support their growth or progression.

And there it is, the 7 signs of BAD Sales Manager!

My advice? If you want to be a GOOD Sales Manager do the opposite of these 7 things!

1) Hire the RIGHT people into your sales roles. Have a much more rigorous hiring process.

2) Lead ALONGSIDE your sales reps. Make calls with them, sell with them.

3) Invest in TRAINING for your team. Help make them the best they can be.

4) Don't put pressure on, take it AWAY. Empower your team and support them.

5) Become a great COACH to your reps. Show them and coach them to succeed.

6) Be RELIABLE and dependable to your team. They shouldn't see you stressed.

7) Push your salespeople FORWARD. If they succeed, you succeed.

Have you had a bad Sales Manager during your career? What made them bad?

Have you had a good Sales Manager during your career? What made them great?

Let me know in the comments! Hopefully, this will help inspire better leadership within the sales industry :)

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog! If you enjoyed this post please click LIKE and click SHARE to share it with your network. If you enjoyed it please do take time to read some of my other recent posts:

About the author: 

Daniel Disney is one of the world's leading Sales, Social Selling, and LinkedIn experts and is the author of the #1 Amazon Best Selling book, "The Million-Pound LinkedIn Message".

Daniel is currently delivering his hugely popular Social Selling Masterclass virtually for businesses and salespeople around the world. This LIVE virtual workshop will help show you and your sales team how to turn LinkedIn into a lead generating and sales-generating machine. For more information please email

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