Sales is the lifeblood of your business. If you aren’t effectively converting the leads your marketing team is drawing in, you’re wasting both time and money. Getting this piece of the puzzle right requires a great sales manager. But filling this important role takes more than just promoting your best salesperson. You need someone who is skilled at leading, nurturing and bringing out the best in others. That said, here are three tips that will help you find and hire a sales manager who is a master at their trade.
Look for the right traits.
There are many different facets to the sales manager role, and succeeding in it requires a variety of fundamental traits. The final list of qualifications you recruit for will ultimately depend on the culture of your company and the type of sales you are trying to make, but here’s a list of the basics to look for:
- Management Experience – Sales experience is obviously important, but expertise in managing others is really the key.
- Recruitment Ability – You want someone who is adept at putting together an A-team of players.
- Forecasting – What works for your sales team today may fall flat tomorrow. You need a sales manager who is capable of forecasting and anticipating future needs and helping his or her team adapt accordingly.
- Coachability – A great sales manager recognizes that there’s always room for improvement. If a candidate thinks he or she has all the answers, you’re probably best to steer clear.
- Solid Decision-Making Ability – As a manager, this individual will be tasked with making important decisions, both for the sales team as well as the company as a whole. The ability to do so consistently is essential.
For the right person, training in a few of these areas may be feasible, but finding someone who already exhibits as many noteworthy characteristics as possible is always your best bet.
A resume will only tell you so much about the candidates you’re considering. To get a clearer picture of who your prospective sales managers are and why they’d make a good addition to your team, you need to dig deeper. A few recommended ways to verify qualifications include the following:
Get something quantifiable.
Lists of skills and experience may look nice, but they won’t help you truly evaluate what each candidate brings to the table. To accomplish this, you need real, quantifiable proof. That means metrics, such as specific increase in revenue dollars, number of new sales won, percentage of growth achieved, etc. Don’t fall for fluffy language. The proof is in the pudding.
Check reviews, references and endorsements.
Who is behind the positive reviews and endorsements of your candidates? If it’s mostly friends or subordinates, you’ll need to dig a bit more. Look for more valuable information from people who they’ve worked for rather than just alongside. Getting the right references will give you a more accurate picture of what you can expect.
Take a peek at social media.
A person’s social media profile can reveal a lot about them. Most successful sales managers utilize social networking as a tool for professional gain. Start by looking up your candidates on LinkedIn. Do they have any noteworthy endorsements? Then, take a look at other public profiles. Are they conducting themselves in a professional manner? If not, you’ll get a better idea of their decision-making skills (or lack thereof.)
Ask the right questions.
Last, but not least, make sure you’re asking the right questions. The answers you receive should help you better hone in on which individual would make the best fit for your company. In addition to the basics, like “tell me about yourself,” or “what is your experience,” incorporate some more probing inquiries into your interview, such as:
- What makes you a great sales manager?
- What skills and qualifications do you think are essential for success with this company?
- How would you source great salespeople to add to the team?
- How do you motivate your sales reps?
- What training methods do you feel are most effective?
- How would you explain what this company does to someone who is unfamiliar?
Of course, these are just a few ideas to get you started. We encourage you to do a little brainstorming to come up with a more comprehensive list of questions that will help you better ascertain whether or not a particular candidate would be a good fit. Remember – at the end of the day, the more effort you put into recruiting a great sales manager, the better the outcome will be for your business.
Need help sourcing top candidates? Contact us today to learn how we can make the process of hiring an awesome sales manager easy and painless.