Sourcing the best sales manager is a critical component to growing your sales organization. While it may seem like your best option is cherry picking your top performing rep, there is so much more that goes into choosing a good sales manager.
Selecting the best sales manager goes past sales numbers, and beyond a resume. Use the following guide to define what your manager should do, what you should look for in candidates, and where to find them.
Role of Sales Managers
The first part of sourcing top sales manager talent is defining exactly what a sales manager should do. It may seem obvious, but sales manager’s duties are often confused with other departments, like sales enablement.
Your sales managers should:
- Maximize sales rep performance
- Set behavior and quota expectations
- Manage good and poor performance
- Help reps overcome prospect challenges
- Provide regular sales coaching
After you’ve defined the sales manager role for your organization, consider the following prerequisites so you can narrow down top level candidates.
Qualities of a Good Sales Manager
Every sales organization has a unique culture. Is yours laid back, hyper competitive, collaborative, or something else? Understanding your culture helps you define what type of a sales manager would excel as a leader within your business.
Beyond the Resume
Don’t get caught up in solely focusing on the resume. So much of what makes a great sales manager has to do with their attitude and their personality. What is your gut feeling on their demeanor and their humility? How do they interact with others?
Always ask for a metric driven track record. For internal candidates, you have the luxury of having access to an accurate history of their work and accomplishments. For external candidates, you’ll have to rely on what they tell you, references, and assume a slight exaggeration of nearly everything.
The best sales managers are engaged, communicative, and inspiring leaders. Gauge whether your sales manager candidate is someone who will inspire your reps, or leave them annoyed and unmotivated. Finding the person who everyone wants to be around, but also motivates impressive performance is your golden ticket.
The best sales managers are in constant communication with their team. Whether it is troubleshooting tough client problems, or providing meaningful coaching feedback, your sales manager needs these skills. Make sure they’re easy to talk to, responsive, and most of all, great active listeners.
Never assume a sales rep wants to transition into a sales manager role. It’s a different ball game, and a different commission structure. If you’ve identified sales reps who might make the best sales managers, be sure to check their interest level in because some reps are happy in their current role. You want a manager who is excited about the opportunity, and motivated to make a difference.
Where To Find Good Sales Managers
The best candidates often come from internal referrals. Offer a significant incentive program for employees that refer candidates who make it through the hiring process. You can even build in a timeline to make sure the new candidate stays for a certain length of time before you pay out. While it may seem expensive, it’s likely still much more cost-efficient than paying a recruiter.
If your organization is large enough, leverage your internal recruiter to fill the roll. If you are outsourcing your talent acquisition, work with your external recruiter to outline the requirements, and characteristics of the sales manager you’re looking for.
You shouldn’t always assume you have the right talent to promote from sales rep to sales manager, but it’s worth evaluating. Take an inventory of your reps and who might be the right fit for an upgraded role. Don’t forget to make sure they’re actually interested in transitioning roles before you assume they want the job.
Many recruiters and organizations are turning to social media as a source of new talent, and you should be too. Post job opportunities with key hashtags to narrow in on a specific audience, and partner with social media job posting accounts to increase your reach even further. If there are specific candidates you’re looking to connect with, send them a private message describing the opportunity.
Even with countless digital advancements in-person networking remains relevant. Join role or industry specific networking groups and attend events that would attract sales managers so you can introduce yourself to candidates of interest. In-person meetups help you get an instant personality read, especially when the other person isn’t aware they’re at a potential job interview.
Sourcing the best sales managers goes way beyond promoting your top sales rep. Take into consideration sales manager responsibilities and ideal characteristics before moving just anyone into an influential role within your sales organization.