3 years ago
January 5, 2015

5 Keys to Hiring a Great Sales Manager

Here are five keys to hiring a great sales manager who will be a match for your organization.

Rhys Metler

Hiring a great sales manager requires a very different approach than hiring a great sales person. Sales managers may have strong selling skills that can be useful in a management role, but a great sales manager must bring more to the table. Your hiring decision will be based on the candidate’s fit, management abilities, and past experience. Here are five keys to hiring a great sales manager who will be a match for your organization.

1. Focus on Quality of Hire First and Foremost

While cost per hire is an important part of measuring the success your sales management hiring, focusing on cost per hire alone can be a mistake. Cutting costs in the process for hiring a great sales manager may sound like a good idea, but it will not generate more revenue for your organization. A better approach is to measure your hiring and payroll costs against the expected revenue your sales manager will generate. Focus on the ROI.

2. Be As Thorough as Possible in Interviewing Before Making a Hire

The interview process for identifying a great sales manager is time consuming and can be challenging for even the most experienced sales executives, yet the time invested has huge payoffs when the right candidate is found. Find out the real abilities of your sales manager candidates by:

  • Requesting that candidates complete real-world tasks like creating a business plan or modeling a new compensation plan to help meet specific sales targets.
  • Asking about previous sales and management experience and how these prepared the candidate for the specific role available.
  • Applying skills testing and screening modules that are designed for management level candidates.

3. Find a Leader Who Can Assume Responsibilities from Day One

Many great sales people and sales supervisors have the potential to one day become great sales managers. However, when you have an open sales manager position and are hiring right now, you need someone who can step into the role without a great deal of coaching or development. Focus on identifying leaders who are ready to be great sales managers today by:

  • Framing interview questions to uncover the candidate’s thoughts on leadership, such as, “What do you think it takes to be a leader?”
  • Asking candidates how they coach for training, improvement, and development using scenario-based as well as concept-based questions
  • Requesting at least three references who are available to discuss the candidate’s past leadership activities and future potential.

4. Be Competitive with Salary and Benefits

Sales manager compensation varies widely between organizations. Part of the reason behind this is because there is no standard job description for a sales manager; sales managers can have high authority or lower authority reflecting more junior experience. In either case, to attract a great sales manager for the role you have available, tailor compensation so that:

  • Compensation is partially based on the sales team’s revenue growth.
  • Bonuses in cash or other compensation such as experiences are possible for meeting targets.
  • The total value of compensation and benefits are competitive with your organization’s peers.

5. Use All of the Resources At Your Disposal

When hiring for a great sales manager, you want to make sure that your search reaches the candidates with the most potential. To do this, your organization should utilize all hiring channels, from job postings on common career portals and employee referrals to professional recruiting services. An experienced sales recruiter can help you find a great sales manager who can help your organization reach its goals cost effectively. Find out more about hiring sales managers with the help of sales recruiters by contacting a qualified recruiting firm near you.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.