3 Steps to Hiring a Better Sales Manager

August 11, 2014 Matthew Cook

3 steps to hiring a better sales managerYour sales manager is one of the most important people in your organization - responsible for leading, nurturing and guiding your sales team, the qualities your sales manager has will directly affect the performance of the rest of your sales team, and subsequently the performance of your company as a whole. Hiring a sales manager then is one of the most important decisions your company can make - and an essential one to get right. Below are 3 simple steps that will help you when hiring a sales manager:

Step 1: Understand the Sales Manager's Role

A sales manager is often either a sales person who has excelled in their job and been promoted or someone with managerial experience who has moved from another department. Both these routes can have their negative aspects - one lacks managerial experience while the other can lack sales experience, but either can produce a great sales manager. The key is that whatever their previous experience the sales manager must be able to release other sales personnel to do their role effectively. This means a sales manager must be able to step in and help a sales person improve where needed, but also know when to step back and allow people to work; they must be able to see the big picture of where the company is headed but not lose sight of the small details that will help improve performance. These contradictions are what makes it hard to find a great sales manager - but what also makes it worthwhile.

Step 2: Find Someone who Understands Your Company

As we have seen hiring a sales manager is key because this is a role that needs skill, intelligence and experience. All this counts for nothing though if when hiring a sales manager you pick someone whose ideals, motivations and business philosophies do not match those of your business. This is even more important if you have an existing sales team and are bringing in a new manager to oversee them, this team will have an identity and way of working which could be disrupted by bringing in a new leader. While change is not necessarily bad, quick changes can unsettle star performers and choose them to look elsewhere. A sales manager must not only understand your sales team and fit in well with them but must understand the greater strategic aims of your company so that they can help steer it in the right directions.

Step 3: Have an Effective Hiring Process

When you start the process of hiring a sales manager you'll need to start advertising the role. You want the best candidate possible so you need to design your hiring process to help discover the individual who is best for the job. Advertise in places where your ideal candidate is likely to see it - you're likely to get higher quality applicants by advertising in an industry-specific magazine than just the local newspaper for example. Once you've had some great applicants you enter the interview process - here your aim is to ask questions that reveal whether the candidate has your desired qualities or not, which can be harder than it seems. For example if you are hiring a sales manager and want them to work well in a team an example of a poor interview question would be "Do you work well in a team?" Nearly everyone asked this will simply say yes - regardless of their actual ability. Instead focus on questions that force the candidate to justify their answer: "Describe one situation where you worked well in a team to solve a business problem".

Hiring a sales manager can give a significant boost to your company, follow these three steps - specify the role, find people who fit into your company culturally and check them with a stringent hiring process - and you're likely to find yourself with a couple of high quality candidates to choose from.

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