DeWese--No Holding Back On Sales Slackers
So, when the previous sales manager left, Ellen Kay was primed to take action. She wrote a marketing plan, a sales plan and a mission statement for the company. The various documents were prepared in triplicate, numbered and were complete with color charts, laser printed and beautifully bound. She did all this work in her condo and in total secrecy. She was paranoid that one of the other salespeople might apply for the job or that the owners, Bill and Joan Westmoreland, would hire someone from the outside.
Ellen Kay's Master Plan
Bill and Joan Westmoreland were nearly 70 and married for more than 40 years. They have no children and wished they could sell the company. They were surprised when Ellen Kay presented them with her plan, and asked for the job and 20 percent of the company. They concluded that with a great plant manager in place, maybe Ellen Kay would be a success as sales manager and, with a stake in the company, eventually become a buyer for the company and provide them with an exit.
"After all," they'd heard that sometimes, "mediocre salespeople make the best sales managers." Ellen Kay insisted that she needed "clout" and demanded the title, executive vice president of sales and marketing. She also informed Bill and Joan that she would be too busy managing the company growth to handle any personal sales.
Ellen Kay began a series of daily inspirational sales meetings and Saturday training sessions. She installed a daily call reporting system and insisted on debriefing salespeople after every new account call. She openly second-guessed the salespeople over lost jobs.
Golden State's sales declined to $11.8 million in 1998. Two of the top salespeople left the company to join competitors. Three more salespeople left in 1999 and were replaced with rookies Ellen Kay had met at a conference called The Super Spirituality Weekend. Sales in 1999 dropped to $10.1 million and the plant manager quit rather than suffer the overbearing Ellen Kay. Bill suffered a heart attack and required triple by-pass surgery. Joan stayed at his bedside and ignored company operations. Meanwhile, Ellen Kay kept planning, insisting on weekly plans from the salespeople and conducting training sessions. She blamed the plant and inept salespeople for the precipitous decline in sales.