Written by Frédéric Lucas. This was originally posted by our OMG Partner affiliate in Canada, Prima Ressource and has been translated from French with minor adaptation.

When business leaders implement a sales force transformation program, they inevitably meet resistance within their organization.

A certain resistance to change on the part of company executives is common. On the other hand, if it is followed by closed business and increased accountability, this resistance should disappear within a few weeks.

What is problematic is when resistance to change comes from managers and sales directors of the company. Some of them might even want to derail the transformation program or discredit the consultant in


Such resistance from sales leaders is the most telling sign that the program implementation will be a failure. Business leaders must monitor their sales managers, to identify this sabotage as quickly as possible.

How Do You Know if Your Sales Manager is Sabotaging Your Sales Transformation?

Here are five giveaways:

1. The manager dwells on very specific negative details

If the sales manager dwells on negatives, constantly taking small details such as comments and questions out of context, it is a probably because the manager is resistant to change. The manager should see the project as a whole. After all, in any large-scale process, one can always find fault with some details, especially when we
take the elements out of context.

2. The manager considers the program with their own subjectivity

A sales manager who looks at the sales transformation program subjectively does not believe in its merits. Because this manager looks more favorably on their own way of doing things, they will be against the new guidelines. Our sales force transformation programs use OMG sales assessment tools which are based on empirical data. The starting point of a transformation program is a scientific analysis of the sales organization in which subjectivity has no place.

3. The manager acts in bad faith

First of all, if the sales manager adopts a negative attitude to change, they are more likely to dig for what does not change. Indeed, it is very difficult to evaluate a program positively when faced with such bad faith. For example, copying people selectively on some email exchanges, expressing general nostalgia over the old way of proceeding and making no effort to implement the new procedures are clear signs of bad faith.

ever_get_the_feeling_your_sales_manager_is_holding_you_back4. The manager is a master of excuses

If the sales manager is always looking for excuses to explain why the transformation program is not working, it is obvious that they resist its implementation.

The excuses take the form of phrases such as:

• “This small detail does not apply to our industry.”
• “You can not get that information from our potential customers.”
• “Our business is not like any other.”

This is the opposite of proactive managers, who take the steps necessary to operate the transformation program, and in turn experience the most success.

5. The manager does not require salespeople to adopt the changes

If the sales manager resists adopting the required changes, one can easily guess they will not require them of the sales team. This is a very effective way to sabotage the program (and your ROI).

For the transformation process to work, it is essential that the sales manager keeps sales accountable to actions taken toward the new guidelines.

To overcome managers’ resistance, CEOs must require a high level of accountability.

To implement a successful transformation of the sales force program, change must start from the top. Business leaders must first ensure that their managers accept and implement the new procedures.

To overcome managers’ resistance, business leaders must absolutely hold them accountable for their actions and not tolerate any excuses. They must make clear that the program is not optional, that it is mandatory to follow all of its parts.

Certainly, the implementation of such a program requires a sustained effort over several weeks. On the other hand, the resistance of the sales managers and the sales team is not a permanent state. This is a temporary situation, which fades over time. When the turbulent period of transition ends, the resistance gives way to a positive attitude focused on results and successes materialize.

Have you ever experienced a manager sabotaging sales transformation? Let us know about it in the comments.

To learn more about sales team transformation, download a sample of the comprehensive sales force evaluation tool we use:


Read more about how to prevent sales manager sabotage: