Trunk Club: Hiring, Motivating, and Managing a Sales Team

Trunk Club: Hiring, Motivating, and Managing a Sales Team

Jim Lattin, Kirk Bowman, Justin Kiessig
2014|Case No.E461| Length 26 pgs.

The Trunk Club: Hiring, Motivating, and Managing A Sales Team case begins with a description of the company’s business model and the path that led the main protagonist, Brian Spaly, to the CEO post. Five sections compose the main body of the case. The first section outlines a series of challenges faced by Spaly during his first ninety days running the business, most notably a situation in which Spaly’s top salesperson threatens to leave with the company’s top five sales reps to start a competing venture if she is not promoted to the vacant COO role. The second section describes how Spaly began staffing the sales organization, and outlines the challenges of recruitment and early hiring decisions. The third section details the “upward mobility” plan enacted by Spaly and his colleague Michael Barkin. The two had to develop promotion criteria and a culture to motivate their sales reps, as well as a compensation structure. The fourth section talks about sales organization management, principally making promotion decisions in practice, and deciding who to fire. The fifth section draws into question whether Spaly should be acting as both CEO and VP of Sales, or hire a professional VP of Sales on to run the growing sales organization.

Learning Objective

This case is taught in a course called Building and Managing Professional Sales Organizations. The objectives are to familiarize students with the difficult decisions faced by the CEO of a customer-centric men’s fashion subscription service in: a) hiring; b) motivating; and c) managing a large team of sales professionals. The case follows the company from a very early growth stage (first hires) to an organization of over 60 salespeople. The case also wrestles with whether the CEO should be trying to pull double-duty as both CEO and VP of Sales.

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