NetApp, The Day-to-Day of a DM

By Mark Leslie, Patrick Arippol
2007 | Case No. E263

Set in mid-2002, this case illustrates “a day in the life” of a district sales manager of a Silicon Valley company, as the technology market faced a downturn. The case enables a polarized class discussion about the tradeoffs that a new district manager might make relative to hiring / firing and setting quotas, after inheriting a mixed bag of talent in an underperforming district. It also seeks to provide with additional texture about the types of challenges and activities that such an individual would face (different from those faced by a sales representative). The case enables students to engage in discussions about four key dilemmas faced by the district manager: (a) Which representatives should he retain in his district, and which should he fire?, (b) How should he negotiate quotas/goals with his superior (regional manager), and with his representatives?, (c) Should he train an employee who will likely fall short of the company’s growth goals, or replace him in hopes of hiring on a better performer?, and (d) What should Jim do about an employee who appears to insist in putting the customer’s interests ahead of the company’s?

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