50 Dumb and Costly Mistakes Tele-Sales Managers Make

Here is a list of fifty dumb and costly mistakes tele-sales managers can sometimes (or often) make.

They are dumb because they can be easily avoided. They are costly because they impact the integrity and profitability of a tele-sales department.

  1. Not being an active part of the interviewing process; leaving it to HR
  2. Not conducting at least three telephone interviews with candidates to determine their ability to communicate over the phone
  3. Providing minimal sales and /or product training
  4. Thinking ‘baptism by fire’ (putting reps on the phone right away) is a clever way to determine who will ‘cut it’ and who will not.
  5. Believing that tele-sales (telemarketing, inside sales) is purely a “numbers” game.
  6. Obsessing over activity (dial counts).
  7. Failing to understand that tele-sales is a ‘results’ game too!
  8. Not providing continuous training to develop skills and/or knowledge.
  9. Not monitoring calls (and call quality) on a regular basis.
  10. Not rolling up your sleeves and actively providing feedback to your reps on a 1:1 basis
  11. Playing favorites
  12. Lack of consistency in management behavior
  13. Not having a well-defined, step-by-step ‘get well plan’ for underachievers
  14. Having a well-defined ‘get well’ but not implementing it well, consistently or at all
  15. Keeping under performers far too long because you are worried about ‘letting them go…’
  16. Changing the compensation plan throughout the year
  17. Capping commissions when some reps perform too well or land a big sale
  18. Setting absolutely ridiculous sales objectives that no one will ever achieve (but you know your boss will admire)
  19. Taking credit for achievements that others have achieved
  20. Ignoring individual achievements
  21. Not celebrating group achievements
  22. Not creating a motivating environment (contests, decorations, activities…)
  23. Thinking that having an “…open door policy” is enough to help develop, coach and motivate your reps
  24. Failing to keep your word … on anything … big or small
  25. Not being tough enough when being tough is necessary for group or self-improvement
  26. Failing to have clearly defined standards/expectations for the calling process
  27. Micro managing … everything
  28. Sneaky behavior – reading e-mails and listening to voice mails (both business and personal) 
  29. Providing critical feedback …only
  30. Not communicating regularly or effectively
  31. Focusing only on what’s NOT been done versus what’s BEEN accomplished
  32. Using ‘but’ too often (“…that was a good call, but …”; “…you had an excellent month, but…”, “…that was a great sale, but…”)
  33. Publicly embarrassing an employee
  34. Not having a sales strategy or plan
  35. Having a sales strategy or plan but not following or implementing it
  36. Preaching that “our people are #1” but not practicing the philosophy
  37. Create compensation programs that are confusing and convoluted and grotesquely interpretative
  38. Giving top reps the best leads (to increase the odds of closure)
  39. Giving new reps or low performing reps crumby leads
  40. Getting some of your reps to do YOUR job (orienting , training, coaching)
  41. Getting some of your reps to do YOUR job and not compensating and/or recognizing their assistance
  42. Overwhelming your reps with ridiculous tracking reports … that are never reviewed anyway
  43. Judging individual sales behavior based on an aberration rather than a trend
  44. Holding off on commission till the end of the quarter … or end of the year
  45. Promising marketing and sales support material
  46. Spying (monitoring e-mails and voice mails)
  47. Arbitrarily take accounts away from your reps or reorganizing territories
  48. Pointing fingers of blame
  49. Not listening despite the logic or relevance
  50. Not saying you’re sorry … acknowledging you made a mistake

No one is perfect and some of these mistakes are unavoidable due to circumstances. However, by minimizing what you can, you will create a more effective, more positive and more profitable work environment.

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