When you’re looking to hire a sales leader, it’s important to do your research and hire the right person. The ramifications of a bad hire compound quickly, especially for sales managers. Sales leaders directly impact the individuals under their purview, and the whole team will be negatively influenced by a poor hire.
These questions can help you identify the strongest candidate for your next sales manager:
What is your direct sales experience?
An individual’s direct sales and sales leadership experiences will have an impact on their ability to ramp quickly and efficiently. Specifically:
- Average Contract Value: Does the individual have experience in the appropriate range from an ACV perspective?
- Sales Velocity: Does the candidate’s experiences resemble your current situation? How many deals did they have to close in order to hit their number?
- Quota attainment: Is their experience centered around new business, renewal business, upsell or a hybrid? How does this correlate to the role responsibility you’re currently hiring for?
What is your experience building and maintaining a sales team?
Do you need to hire a sales manager that can build a team from scratch, add to an existing team or maintain an existing team? All three require unique skill sets and leadership attributes. Hire someone with experience in the type of team building you need for your company. Ask candidates for specific examples in how they helped grow a team in their previous positions.
Describe a time when you’ve had to make a tough personnel decision.
Leaders have to make tough decisions regarding who is a good fit – or not a good fit – for their team. A good manager will have a track record of making tough personnel decisions, which will include terminating sales reps for various reasons. Ask the candidate to provide details like metrics and PIP structure (personalized improvement plan) that were used when managing out a sales rep.
Describe a time when you helped an underperforming sales rep improve.
Coaching is an essential quality of a great leader and one that is tough to master. Good leaders will have experience managing underperforming sales professionals ‘up’ – to increase productivity. Ask the candidate for specific examples of both successes and failures in helping sales reps who were struggling. What a leader learns from their failures can be just as important, if not more so, than their successes.
Why do you want to be a sales leader?
You should hire a sales manager that has a strong, well-thought-out reason for wanting the new role. Many individual contributors think leadership is the next stop in their career path, but they don’t fully understand what that means – or what it will take to be successful. A top sales leader candidate will have a convincing and genuine answer for why they want this specific role, and why leadership in general interests them.
Who you hire as a sales manager will have an impact on the entire sales team – both morale and success. Taking your time to find the right candidate, with solid leadership experience as well as an eagerness to grow and improve, can pay dividends in the long run.
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