Don’t be the Cheesy Sales Manager from AOL

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AOL has been in the news a lot lately, mostly due to CEO Tim Armstrong pulling a Donald Trump on an employee while on a conference call with 1,000 other employees. Bad stuff folks, but the dysfunction apparently does not end there…

KD linked me to an article titled, AOL’s Very Sad, Very Scared Internal Memos. In it, there is an email from Patch director of U.S. sales Jim Lipuma. As I read it, I flashed back to every cheesy, bad, inspirational email that I have seen from sales and recruiting directors over the years. Check excerpts below, and then I’ll have my thoughts after the jump. From Valley Wag, from Lipuma to the AOL Patch sales team:

After an announcement that big changes were coming to Patch, but no specific layoffs communicated

…the only thing that really has changed, is your mindset and that is purely controllable by you… I know this team to be a “make it happen” group. Over the last 5 sales days, we have amassed our worst results of the year. Again, I am sensitive to what must be going on inside of each of you. … You have today and you own today and nobody can change that. What you choose to do with it is squarely up to you. … We need to come together, right now, and behave as we always have…like winners. Be confident, be passionate, share our story…

(And then)

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this was sent on Friday, after everyone emerged from the rubble:

We are salespeople. We are the “left-half” of the revenue/cost equation. We control our fate, each and every day and the fate of many others, …We need every person engaged every day. Approach your day (and the market), with passion, sincerity and urgency. Tell our story and do it with pride. Focus on success and let nothing get in your way. Believe in what we do and where we’re headed… This is the moment that we need to embrace our responsibility. No messing around…make it happen. We had $36K day yesterday, when we need to be having $100K+ days. … We’re in the game and swinging. This is not the time for bunt singles. This is the time to drive the ball and swing big. Do it for yourself, your families and the 1,200 people who call themselves “Patchers.”

I am convinced that we are put on this planet to give our all and make a difference in every aspect of our life. Your professional side is calling for you to step up and give everything you have…

Wow, that sucks. Why do sales directors think that their job is to act like an Office Space version of Tony Robbins? Struggling salespeople do not need crappy sports metaphors and pleas to “be winners.” They need:

  • A good product they believe in
  • A supportive leadership team (or at least one that gets out of their way)
  • A logical and clear comp plan
  • Back office customer support

If those things are missing, you end up getting the “worst results of the year” and a “$36K day yesterday, when we need to be having $100K+ days.” Look, no sales pro at Patch right now is busting their butt because the national director sent out an email saying, “Do it for yourself, your families and the 1,200 people who call themselves “Patchers”.” You know what they’re doing? Trying to not take pictures at all-hands conference calls and polishing up their LinkedIn profiles.

FOT Background Check

RJ Morris
R. J. Morris is a talent acquisition/staffing director based out of STL with McCarthy Building Companies, a multi-billion dollar national firm. Like many others in the FOT clan, he's a sports nut who can endlessly draw the parallels between athletes, sports and the talent management game. I know, I know, as if we needed more of that.  He has 7 years of practitioner experience leading talent acquisition efforts in corporate HR and another 7 years in leadership roles on the agency side, so he gets both sides of the desk.  Talk to R.J. via emailLinkedInTwitter...

2 Comments

  1. He did everything but mention the knife set.

    Reply
  2. R. J. Morris says:

    Great reference, David. Still mandatory viewing for salespeople.

    Reply

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