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Being faced with sack on sales position


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Hi all and hope someone can help me.

 

I've been a sales rep with a company for the past 12 years and have done a reasonable job. I've met targets, called on customers regularly and have been told by many that I'm in with the bricks!

 

The past 2years have been tough as my territory has been decimated with customers going bust or just not spending and as a result of this, my figures for this year are down and my position is now on a shaky peg!

 

My manager, off record, has told me to start looking for another job as he does not want to go down the route of micro-managing me - this is the last thing either of us wants. We are good friends and he's not wanting to do this to me. The targets for next year are already being discussed and I don't fall into their plans and if I leave, they will not replace me. I've not been given a time frame on when to leave but the message is out there!

 

I don't want to get sacked as Im unaware of rights etc - I did ask about redundancy but this apparently would cost too much due to my length of time at the company.

 

Does anyone know what rights I have on this and how does this go with companies deciding to get rid of their sales people?

 

Any help or guidance would be gratefully received.

 

Thanks

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Hi all and hope someone can help me.

 

I've been a sales rep with a company for the past 12 years and have done a reasonable job. I've met targets, called on customers regularly and have been told by many that I'm in with the bricks!

 

The past 2years have been tough as my territory has been decimated with customers going bust or just not spending and as a result of this, my figures for this year are down and my position is now on a shaky peg!

 

My manager, off record, has told me to start looking for another job as he does not want to go down the route of micro-managing me - this is the last thing either of us wants. We are good friends and he's not wanting to do this to me. The targets for next year are already being discussed and I don't fall into their plans and if I leave, they will not replace me. I've not been given a time frame on when to leave but the message is out there!

 

I don't want to get sacked as Im unaware of rights etc - I did ask about redundancy but this apparently would cost too much due to my length of time at the company.

 

Does anyone know what rights I have on this and how does this go with companies deciding to get rid of their sales people?

 

Any help or guidance would be gratefully received.

 

Thanks

 

You and they need to be clear : if they are "sacking " you because "redundancy will cost them too much", then they are talking about dismissing you.

 

Dismissal must fair, and on grounds such as a failure of capability to do the job, or gross misconduct. If you are capable and have done nothing wrong, but your job has become redundant : that is redundancy, and you have rights that you wouldn't have if (fairly) dismissed.

 

If none of those apply and this is "redundancy dressed up as dismissal" you should let them know any dismissal would need to have grounds for dismissal or you would appeal it.

 

It is good that you are on good terms with your manager and you should try to preserve this - that doesn't have to equate to you loosing your rights (or missing out in redundancy pay!)

 

Are you in a union who can battle for you without you being "the baddie insisting on their rights"?

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I read this as a heads up that you are under performing - a great sales person can still sell in a falling market and you indicate that you do ok when times are good, with an established customer base, and not so good otherwise.

 

He's suggesting you get yourself sorted before they begin formal performance management proceedings, which can lead to sacking for capability reasons. Not something you want on your work record.

 

I'd follow that advice.

Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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I read this as a heads up that you are under performing - a great sales person can still sell in a falling market and you indicate that you do ok when times are good, with an established customer base, and not so good otherwise.

.

That rather depends on the market. I am in a small trade that is declining rapidly and if people aren't buying from my customers than my customers aren't buying from me.I could call on them until blue in the face but it wouldn't get any sales. Of course there are potential customers out there that I have never approached but I would imagine that the same applies to them.

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Well, you can argue the market black and blue - I know what I would be doing if I were the original poster.

Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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If this were on capability grounds would they not be replacing a dismissed member of staff?

does "if I leave they will not replace me" give any impact on if this suggests redundancy or dismissal?

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ifs buts and maybe are nothing to base a claim on however and a smart HR person will cover the tracks. I'd be taking this as the friendly word to the wise it appears to be.

Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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Pressure comes from the top down unfortunately. If the sales people are not generating business, then the company as a whole will begin to fail, and unfortunately the first response of the business owner is rarely to accept the situation on the basis that the market as a whole is in decline. First action is to encourage the sales force to sell more, the second is to look at replacing the sales force with people that are better able to sell even in a tough market.

 

As mentioned above this would be on the basis of capability - your role is to generate sales, and in the absence of sales you are becoming 'incapable' of performing your role. You should be given the necessary 'encouragement' as a first step - training? mentoring? targets for improvement within a given timescale?

 

As Emmzzi says, you can argue that the market is not good for developing business, but that will cut little ice until the day that the business as a whole fails.

 

How big is the sales force and are you performing way below the level of your colleagues? If they are producing business and you are not why do you think that might be? Are there any prospects of your particular market improving? New leads? New product development? Diversification? Can you come up with a plan to at least try to develop new customers as a proposal to improve your figures?

 

In the absence of any real prospects to improve your sales, I would have to agree that it might be time to take the gentle warning and look for a new job. You obviously have a good degree of sales experience, so are there any related markets that you could look at, or general sales jobs where the product is not so susceptible to a recession?

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If you are working in the independent retail sector it is indeed a terrible place at the moment.

I know from bitter personal experience how hard it is to sell and what pressures are put on you from both the company and the retailers to achieve that sale

 

If they do try and performance manage you out, you need to concentrate on what they want you to do. If it is increase call base to x then do whatever you can, if it is distribution , again do whatever you can. You say you have been around a few years, maybe chat with colleagues and get some tips from them

 

Not sure if that is of any help

Any opinion I give is from personal experience .

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...We are good friends and he's not wanting to do this to me...

 

 

 

I'm sure he does not want to but will need as it is business at the end of the day.

 

The signs are there that they want to get rid of you (don't take it personally).

 

It does appear that your position is being made redundant and would be easier to get you to leave than pay redundancy + notice period (which I guess is 12 weeks). More so if you are entitled to an enhanced redundancy package.

 

Sadly, some employers sack employees on spurious reasons instead of paying redundancy.

 

I would suggest two things:

 

 

  1. Start to keep a record of all conversations, emails etc.
  2. Start looking for another job.

Unless the sector that you are working in picks up or you are relocated to another area, it looks like you are on your way out.

 

Oh, by the way, there is nothing such as an "off the record" conversation (unless he has specifically stated that this was a protected conversation at the beginning)

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The telling thing about the situation is that the company said they would not replace in the position. this really means redundancy dressed as disciplinary but it doesnt help you because it will be arguing the merits after the event. To be honest, it is not just down to the sales person, it is the product that is critical when a falling market makes people limit what they are buying. If your competitors are selling then your entire company is not performing for whatever reason so look at what is selling in your market and then decide if you are in the best position you can be in or whether you should be preparing for another role. Your manager has thier own targets and is not going to keep you in post if it means they are out instead.

If your competitors are likewise struggling then the the business has matured as far as it is going to and look for another production sector that you could use your skills in.

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Hi all and many, many thanks for all your responses - there is some good advice on here and I do appreciate all comments.

 

Fortunately my manager is very approachable and would probably suggest I need a "proper" chat with him to see where we are going with this.

 

I've already put the feelers out to various agencies, so fingers crossed!

 

By all means, if there any other sales guys out there who have been in this situation or have experienced it, I would welcome any feedback you can give.

 

Thanks all and will keep you posted on what happens.

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You need to think carefully. You could be in line for 12 years redundancy pay though you may have to fight to get it.

When you say next year's targets are being discussed are you saying that you don't figure in them or your territory does not figure in them or your territory is being amalgamated into surrounding territories. If the latter, that would indicate redundancy . Are the new targets being up graded from last year which would indicate that they could afford to pay your redundancy even though they may not want to.

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I take a more bullish stance on this than some of the other very knowledgeable and experienced posters. If you have been working there for 12 years, the compensation due on a redundancy would be quite significant. This puts you in a strong position and I do not think you should be throwing your rights away without good reason.

 

Legally it is important to distinguish between dismissal for capability and redundancy. This is a question of fact and not something the employer can decide by itself. A careful HR person can try to cover their tracks and tip the scales, but ultimately this will not change a dismissal for redundancy reasons into a dismissal for capability reasons.

 

If you were dismissed for capability reasons, then there would not necessarily be any compensation due. However, in order to avoid this being treated as unfair dismissal giving rise to very substantial compensation, the company would need to prove that there was a genuine capability issue and would have to follow a proper, formal procedure. The procedure would involve giving you a fair chance to improve your performance before any dismissal can be made.

 

We do not know enough about your individual circumstances to know whether a dismissal on capability grounds could ever be justified. However, if you have been meeting your targets for 12 years I suspect it would be very difficult for the company to convince an Employment Tribunal that a capability dismissal was justified. The company would need evidence to support this (such as evidence you are not performing as well as other salespeople). and would need to give you a decent period of time to address any shortcomings.

 

If the primary reason for the dismissal is not capability, but it is in fact a reduction of work, then this is a redundancy and the company should be making a redundancy payment. The fact that redundancy is a bit expensive is not a good enough excuse - legal minimum redundancy payments are there for a reason. If you are confident that the situation has nothing to do with your performance then I do not think you should feel forced to search for another job without receiving the redundancy payment you are entitled to. If it suits both parties you could, of course, agree to take another job in exchange for a severance payment (which might be below a full redundancy payment).

 

The other thing to remember is that you will need a reference. They are not obliged to give a reference, so it is best to keep the company sweet if possible.

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They are not obliged to give a reference, so it is best to keep the company sweet if possible.

 

If you left the company, then they probably will give you a reference since you have "not rocked the boat".

 

As the other guys have pointed out, it appears to be that your position has been made redundant and if you left you will miss out on substantial redundancy payment.

 

If you play this correctly, you could walk with some money and a reference.

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