The best sales managers don’t magically materialize from the best sales reps. Developing – and demonstrating – the expertise to lead sales teams requires both concentrated, strategic career development and a bit of natural gifting. Parker Blake has placed dozens of successful sales managers, and here’s what we’ve learned.
Don’t get out the cookie cutter to find a new sales manager.
Even if your last sales exec was phenomenal, don’t look for his exact clone. New ideas, fresh insights, and flexibility could be the key to a new approach. Don’t spend too much time focusing on industry experience, especially if there are industries that provide an easy bridge to yours. Knowledge can be learned, but sales management expertise is harder to develop.
Look for a relationship builder.
The most successful sales executives are leaders and relationship builders – people who can inspire and motivate their salespeople continually.
Find a leader who has followers.
Many see themselves as leaders, but a genuine leader can cite examples of loyalty from his staff.
Look for a steady hand on the steering wheel.
While you want your director of sales to inspire and motivate, you also need someone who can maintain the team’s equilibrium during challenging times. Finding that combination of qualities isn’t easy, but the long-term results are worth it.
Consider these skills when you look for outstanding sales executives
- They evaluate sales team members effectively. Can they create a profile of their ultimate producer, including concrete metrics, soft skills, and personality characteristics? A great sales executive is a perceptive recruiter of sales talent, a team leader, and a motivator.
- They have developed teams before. How will they execute professional development for the team, considering the group as a whole and each member individually?
- They can create and adjust a sales process that their sales team can easily follow.
- They can analyze and interpret sales metrics. More importantly, they can also turn that analysis into action that leads to sales growth.
- They show that they can develop an effective compensation plan for the sales team. Not too much carrot, and not too much stick. They understand how to reward – or withhold reward – for specific behaviors and results.
Are you looking for help to find a great sales executive? Parker Blake’s staffing team has the expertise and connections to find your next rock star sales manager. Or if you’re a sales executive looking for a new opportunity, check out the sales management positions we’re currently filling.
Parker Blake is an Atlanta-based executive staffing firm, working nationwide to provide boutique staffing services to a limited number of clients, enabling us to give extraordinary attention to each client. In addition to executive and professional search, we also offer interim staffing, recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), and consulting services. To learn more about Parker Blake or to contact an executive recruiter, contact us or call 770.331.8547.