Advice: "My sales manager is good friends with our marketing agency. But the leads they give us suck. What should I do?"

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Dear Quota Team,

I work at an insurance tech company. Overall, it's a pretty good job, but there's one big problem I noticed almost right away. We outsource all our marketing to an agency that gives the sales team all our leads, and frankly, the leads suck. I've worked in this industry for 5+ years and at two other companies and never had this problem before.

I've brought this up to my sales manager on a few different occasions. At first, I would mention it jokingly in passing. But I just had my year-end review with him and I told him straight up that the lead quality is a problem. He brushed it off and put the blame on me, saying I need to work harder and 'try to change my approach'.

I've since talked to some of my colleagues about it, and they agree the leads aren't the best quality, but most people are still hitting their quota and are afraid to speak up.

But here’s where it gets interesting: I recently found out that the CEO of the marketing agency that we use is really good friends with our sales manager. I have a feeling that he's oblivious, or even worse, ignoring the poor job the agency is doing because it's his friend's company. I suspect there might be some conflict of interest at play here.

Part of me wants to confront him directly about it, but I'm worried about getting on his bad side. The other part of me wants to go directly to our CEO and bring this up, since I feel like it's something he should know. What should I do?

Suspicious in New York  


Dear Suspicious,

You’re probably not going to like this answer, but you should focus on what you can control, not on how your manager is choosing to run things.

Of course, it can be extremely frustrating to work for a company that is not only making obvious mistakes, but making them because of nepotism or some other personal relationship coming before the best interests of the company.

That being said, you’re not the manager, and by going above your boss’s head, you’re risking losing your job. Who knows, maybe the CEO is aware of the arrangement and is quite happy with it.

Still, you should focus on closing deals, since that’s really what you’re there to do. And if you don’t think you can succeed given the state of things, then it’s your right and responsibility to find a job that’s a better fit. The new year is right around the corner, so don’t hesitate to make changes that will improve your life. Good luck!

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