4 Common Mistakes that get Sales Managers Fired

Sales managers and VPs who lose their jobs often wonder if there were any warning signs that they could have recognized before they were let go.  In any sales management position, it is crucial that you learn from other managers and are educated about these irrevocable errors to avoid making them. As history tells us, if we don’t learn from our past mistakes (or the mistakes of others) we are bound to repeat them.  Therefore, you should be mindful of these 4 common mistakes that have the potential to turn catastrophic and cost you your sales management job.

Inaccurate or lack of diagnosis of sales-related problems

If you try to fix certain aspects of your sales and marketing strategies or teams and your intuition proves wrong, you could wind up creating a problem that didn’t exist. Similarly, if you fail to diagnose a problem that does exist, it could have grave consequences for your sales management capabilities and your teams.  The key is to avoid over- or under-diagnosing problems by actively looking for points of concern and possible areas for improvement.

Lack of marketing strategy for your industry

In order to develop and execute the appropriate sales and marketing strategies for your teams, you need to have direct engagement in and extensive knowledge of your industry.  This means making sure that your sales and marketing plan of action is specifically tailored to your company’s product or service as well as the audience you are targeting.  New marketing challenges will crop up regularly, so it is essential that you are adaptable, agile and intuitive, staying a step ahead of the game.

Making too many drastic changes in the wrong order

Even if there are problems with your sales management strategy, be wary of making drastic changes, especially in a short amount of time.  Furthermore, making changes in the wrong manner or order has the potential to turn into a disaster. Remember it is solely you who is held accountable for any and all sales and marketing related aspects of your company.  As the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. Therefore it is you who will be thrown into the fire if things go awry.

Disconnect between your sales and marketing teams

The importance of strong communication with your sales and marketing teams can’t be emphasized enough. This entails having personal contact, especially regular individual and team meetings.  If you are not in constant communication with your sales and marketing teams you won’t be able to identify what problems they are experiencing.  CEOs can easily tell if your sales and marketing teams are disconnected or misaligned.  When or if your higher-ups confront these problems, they could collectively point to you as the source of the problems.  Alienation from your teams will also hinder your ability to be a sales coach, one of the most critical aspects of being in a sales leadership position.


After termination, sales managers and VPs are often left shocked and wondering what mistakes they made or what they could have done differently to save their jobs.  Therefore it is critical to avoid these irreversible mistakes that have the potential to cost you your job in a sales VP or management position.

What do you think are the most egregious mistakes that cost sales managers and VPs their jobs?