A Guide To Hiring Sales Leaders
1) Prioritize Big-Picture Experience Over Sales Specifics: Great sales leaders have a strong work ethic, intelligence, and negotiating abilities which can be cultivated through training or experience in other fields. A successful salesperson might not necessarily make a successful manager if they don’t have experience leading their team or coaching employees.
2) Hire For Your Personality: If your job is to sell, you might have a sales personality. However, it’s important to hire for the position that you want the person to fill rather than vice versa. A sales leader should have a specific role in mind and be sure to create a clear plan of action before hiring.
3) Be Transparent: When hiring a sales leader, be completely transparent about how they will be evaluated and compensated. Candidates should know exactly what you are looking for so they can focus on developing the skills necessary for success in this role. We recommend using the Five Levels of Sales Leadership below to clearly outline expectations and communication with both the manager and team.
4) Hire For Someone To Challenge You: Your sales leader should be a role model, not a follower. They should have a certain amount of flexibility in how they conduct themselves but must still challenge you on a daily basis. If they don’t deliver on a specific expectation, that’s why they were hired, not because you picked them for their personality or industry experi
ence. It’s not enough for them to just do what you ask; they need to exceed your expectations at every turn.
5) Create Equal Partnerships: The best sales leaders are equal partners with their managers. They should be able to share ideas, voice opinions, and act as your equals. You should feel comfortable questionin
g them and they should feel comfortable challenging you.
6) Hire For Aptitude: It’s important to hire for aptitude
rather than experience so that you can train someone who has the potential to succeed in this role. The only way to know if someone has aptitude is by gauging how much time they spend learning about your products or services, how much they know about the industry, and what they like or dislike about their current job.
7) Give Them Clear Guidelines: Once you’ve thoroughly vetted the candidate, give them clear guidelines about what you want to see. For example, your sales leaders should be expected to make one call to close a client every day, spend 15-20% of their time prospecting (cold calling), and create strong relationships with clients.
8) Be Mindful of Your Summary Performance Review: Your sales leader will be evaluated throughout their tenure on the job, so it’s important that they know exactly what is expected of them. You should include these expectations in your summary performance review to avoid any confusion.
9) Create a System for Success: Your sales leader should have a clear roadmap for success. They should be able to visualize what the future of the team will look like and how they fit into that picture. For example, if you want this person leading your next campaign, you should outline the path to promotion and commit to it firmly so they know what is expected of them.
10) Hire People Who Want This Job: If candidates continually say “yes” to your questions because they don’t want to disappoint you, then they do not want this job. Instead of hiring someone who isn’t fully invested in the position, hire someone who wants it just as much as you do.
In Conclusion, A good sales leader will have a clear plan of action and will have a detailed understanding of what is expected of them. They know what steps need to be taken to reach their goal and they also know how to communicate effectively with you and the entire team.