Coach/player challenges.

Hi There B2B warriors. I'm the VP of sales at a media company. Core product is digital and print advertising. I manage a team of 5 but I also carry a quota of $800k. I'm finding it hard to fulfill both roles and am wondering if there are other coach/player sales leaders out there making this model work and ... how.

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    • 1
      Profile picture of John Richardson
      ( 890 POINTS )
      1 month, 3 weeks ago

      The coach/player model in sales is like a houseboat. It’s not a good house and its not a good boat. I’ve seen this model work if your quota is based on closing business with existing clients but if you’re hunting for new logos you’re spreading yourself too thin and your reps are suffering from lack of attention. I’m sure this isn’t what you wanted to hear but this is a no win situation. You may want to have a conversation with leadership to share your concerns and point out its impacting on their business.

    • 1
      Profile picture of Colin Campbell
      ( 13.4k POINTS )
      1 month, 2 weeks ago

      Hey @craigbond – boy oh boy. I have been there, my friend.

      The truth is that this is an inherently challenging way to work. It’s a little easier when you do the same kind of job as everybody you manage, but the workload is still essentially double (even if you don’t carry a full quota) and that’s because of the cost of context switching.

      I found this article from McKinsey a little helpful in giving me some perspective.


      From my experience, I know it can sometimes feel like “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”.

      If you pay attention to your reps and give them the coaching and support they need, then you’re foregoing your own quota (and commissions) and if you pay attention to your own quota, you’re not being the manager you’d like to be.

      I never found a secret sauce to unlocking the player/coach role and making it feel easy. But being open and honest about my conflicting priorities with my team did make it easier for them to understand how to work with me and use my time to greatest effect. It made them less likely to ask me for simple things, and more likely to work with one another.

      What have you already tried?

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