You might think experience in your industry would be at the top of the list when you are seeking an effective sales manager, a real super star, but it isn’t. Sometimes experience brings along “no new ideas permitted.” What you might end up with are industry retreads.
“Every company thinks they are in an industry that is so unique and has so many nuances that the hire must have industry background,” said Lee B. Salz author of “Soar Despite Your Dodo Sales Manager. “But most industry information can be taught. The company needs to get over its hubris thinking that its industry is so special that it takes an industry veteran to be successful. What often happens is that the individual gets hired because they can create the illusion of brilliance by using industry jargon to blind the interviewer.”
So what should you look for in an effective sales manager?
Look for a candidate with the specialized skill-set of a sales manager. The role of the sales manager is to be a leader and a manager, cultivated and developed through training and experience. Some of the elements that companies should be focused on when hiring the right sales manager include:
Can the Sales Manager recruit the best sales people? Can he or she develop a profile of the ideal salesperson and a process for evaluating candidates? Does the Sales Manager have the know-how, ability and tools to benchmark the specific sales position in his or her company and recruit candidates that fit that benchmark, as well as the culture of the organization?
Can the Sales Manager train to minimize the amount of time that the new salesperson is in a non-revenue generating capacity? Do they have a plan to make new hires productive in the least amount of time? Do they have a skill development plan for their team?
Does the Sales Manager grasp the business side of sales? Does he or she understand pipeline metrics and forecasting? So they have a plan for compensation and motivation?
Does the Sales Manager exhibit leadership qualities? The first three items fall into a management category. However, strong sales managers are also leaders. Do they inspire? “A good sales manager creates an environment where others are inspired to follow them and their teachings,” notes Lee B. Salz. “Leadership skills and sales force retention work hand-in-hand. Strong leaders keep their strong players on the team for the long haul.”
In addition to cultural fit, these are the four key elements that a company should look for when hiring a sales manager. What the employer will gain is a strong, scalable organization with fresh ideas.
Management Development System offers an assessment solution designed to assist organizations in the selection of a Sales Manager. We also offer tools to help the Sales Manager benchmark and recruit salespeople.
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