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What to Look for When Hiring Sales Leaders

Thursday, January 27th, 2022


Every organization appreciates that the success of their operations significantly depend on sales. So, it’s safe to say that “Sales are to business like oxygen is to humans.” In that case, your enterprise will suffocate if you do not have a capable sales team. That implies that an excellent product or service will not help your organization realize its true potential if your sales professionals do not have the necessary support.

When hiring a sales leader, you need to identify an individual that can steer your sales team towards propelling your organization to greater heights. Before delving into the qualities you should consider when interviewing applicants for such a position, here is some insight into the roles and responsibilities of sales leaders:

  • Ability to create a healthy working environment to motivate team members.
  • Aligning your marketing and sales team messaging and company objectives.
  • Encouraging team members to consider your entity’s goals as they perform their daily obligations.
  • Training team members and overseeing the recruitment process.
  • Giving team members feedback regarding their performance.
  • Designing and assigning appropriate tasks to each team member and performing reinforcements and follow-throughs of various tasks.
  • Inspiring improvements in service delivery and resolving customer-related issues or complaints.
  • Monitoring a sales team’s performance by tracking such sales funnel activities like conversions and customer engagements.
  • Analyzing and reporting on team performance to guide business decisions and forecast events.


What to Consider When Hiring Sales Leaders


1. Ability to Make Sales Fun
Probably, the most crucial characteristic to look for when hiring a sales leader is their ability to make sales fun. A capable sales leader cares about their profession and the happiness of their team members. As such, they will seek to cultivate a positive, fun atmosphere that will ultimately help your organization close more sales. That suggests that the sales leader you intend to hire should be passionate about what they do to inspire your sales team to love what they do and do it the best way they can.


2. An Understanding of The Difference Between Leadership and Micromanagement
Asking tailored questions when hiring a sales manager is advisable because it helps you identify their leadership style. Remember that the ideal candidate should create and share a vision with your team and support them while providing such individuals the necessary tools and equipment.
In that case, the sales leader you hire should serve as a coach and mentor, and they should also know when to step back to avoid micromanaging your sales team. Indeed, sales can be a numbers game, but it focuses more on people at its core. So, you should avoid opting for a sales manager whose priorities are metrics and deadlines since their driving force is performance. The reason is that there is a high probability that such individuals will start micromanaging your sales team at some point. When that happens, such a sales leader will be spending more time on the jobs your team should handle, which means that they may fall behind on their responsibilities. The risk of alienating and frustrating your team will also be high in this case, and with time, your salespeople may begin handing in their notices when they feel they cannot take it anymore.


3. A Sense of Ambition While Remaining Realistic
How will you improve the operations of the sales department to increase revenue? That is one of the questions you should consider posing to various applicants when interviewing candidates for the sales leader position. That way, you will gain insight into the ambitious plans of each applicant and whether they are realistic or not. Having high aspirations and stretching oneself may be necessary, but a reliable sales leader is a person who can distinguish between ambition and impossibility. Note that hiring a sales leader who has unrealistic expectations will only lead to employee burnout, which will affect your sales team and, ultimately, your enterprise.


4. An Appreciation of The Value of Constant, Positive Feedback
A potential sales leader understands that;

  • Providing regular feedback is critical.
  • Focusing on strengths rather than the negatives makes feedback more effective.

So, before hiring a sales leader, you need to ensure that they have people skills. Otherwise, you may end up with an individual that remains in their office, thereby hindering the much-needed interaction with your sales team to foster the expansion of your operations. Interpersonal skills allow a sales manager to prioritize regular feedback rather than annual appraisals. That, in turn, develops trusting relationships with team members. The ideal candidate should also pay attention to positive feedback because it can improve the performance of your sales team. Hiring such an individual will help your salespersons perform in line with their strengths and develop them simultaneously.


5. Listening and Communication Skills
Authentic and transparent communication has a direct impact on the success of your sales department. As such, an applicant who relies on “sales speak” instead of plain speech may have difficulties connecting with your sales team. Remember that the sales leader you hire will be leading a team that needs to feel comfortable approaching them for input, feedback, and training and development requirements. Additionally, a prospective sales manager should display the willingness to stop talking and start listening because effective communication is always two-way. The implication here is that the sales leader you opt for should welcome ideas, concerns, and suggestions from team members for your company to thrive.


6. Emotional IQ
Although emotional intelligence is an essential attribute for salespeople, it is a critical aspect for sales managers. The reason is that handling disputes, dealing with potentially heated situations, and overcoming objections are part and parcel of the sales cycle. A candidate who displays emotional intelligence will know when to motivate, support, console, encourage and reign in on your sales team to optimize performance.


Conclusion
Hiring a sales leader can positively impact your sales team and bottom line when you identify the right individual to fill such a position. The reason is that there is a strong relationship between top-performing salespersons and capable sales leaders. For that reason, beyond assessing the qualifications of applicants when hiring a sales manager, you should factor in their people skills. Also, asking leading questions when conducting interviews will help you identify the ideal hire.


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