When wrong people lead


When wrong people lead a company or a department, what do you think happens?

I write this post after a six-month contract with a client who had internal management programs. This isn’t a post about blaming a company rather it is to help your company create a decent place to work so that sales and marketing managers will join your company and stay long enough to make an impact.

We have a marketing communications problem. There are too many people who are in the wrong place in their professional lives. This is affecting your daily life, your business, your finances and not in a good way!

Promoting Loyalty OVER Expertise

Here is a story, I’m sure you can relate to or perhaps even experienced.

Bill (fictional name) has a computer engineering degree. About five years ago Tech Company Z, a software company hired Bill to be their Software Product Trainer. The Software Product Trainer is an onboarding touchpoint for new customers to adopt the software faster and use it properly.

Bill learns the software quickly and in less than one year, the company promotes Bill to be their Sales and Marketing Manager! Right now you should be scratching your head thinking, “huh?!”

This role oversees many facets of the company, such as:

  • Lead generation
  • Sales strategy & implementation
  • Integrated marketing and communications planning
  • Product pricing
  • Software demonstrations
  • Market development
  • Up-selling and cross-selling training

I think you get it. Outside of the customer support and product development, Bill has taken over the rest of the company. But that’s isn’t the problem, Bill was simply not prepared for this large role.

People leading with no expertise

Some companies believe that it is better to hire people with potential and sales and marketing will just come naturally. While other companies believe it is better to hire sales and marketing experts and they will learn the product. Whatever path you choose, what is successful is when there are proper training, guidance, mentorship and evaluation.

For these reasons, a pairing of one junior and one senior sale and marketing manager is generally equivalent to two senior managers and comes at less than 75% of the total cost. If your goal is maximum productivity for minimal expense, this junior/senior pair should be the fundamental molecule of your organization.

wrong people lead and delay fixing

It’s great when a company promotes internally. You see this with startups and small companies when they hire recent graduates and give them a chance to build their expertise.

What’s the problem with this, you’re wondering? Lots of time wasted and that’s money left on the table for the company! But wait, these employees are learning on the job! Unfortunately, what is really happening is missed sales opportunities, slow response to growing problems and the inability to be proactive. These issues affect the company’s bottom line, especially when they have the inability to read the competition correctly.

In my work now as a marketing consultant, I often see companies in a hurry to build a business, completely overlook or underestimate the resources needed to find the right people. Instead, they rush to hire in order to not stunt the growth and opportunity, failing to realize that hiring poorly could ultimately do just that.

What about you? Have you ever been with a company where the wrong person was the head of a department? I would love to hear from you, please comment below.

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