Congratulations! You’re a successful business owner that is growing your company, and you need to stop serving as the acting sales manager. Hiring a sales manager will be either the best or worst decision you make, depending on who you hire.
There are key traits and competencies that make up a great sales manager. Here are few do’s and don’ts to consider when hiring your first one.
DO hire a sales manager that likes systems and processes. In order to scale any business, there must be systems and processes that can be duplicated. In sales management, there are systems and processes for hiring, onboarding employees and clients, coaching, running effective sales meetings, account management, reporting and more.
DON’T hire a sales manager that is process-adverse. These people need to travel back in time to the Wild West, because that is exactly what their sales department will look like without metrics, systems and processes.
DO look for a sales manager that is comfortable holding people accountable. Make sure they possess the emotional intelligence skill of assertiveness and can ask, nicely, for what they need. Sales leadership is about clearly communicating and holding salespeople accountable to your expectations.
The assertive and accountable sales manager is able to hold the difficult conversation with a salesperson that isn’t keeping CRM data current, which affects the company’s ability to forecast sales, production and inventory of people or product.
The assertive sales manager is comfortable holding people accountable for sales-activity metrics, and for learning and practicing skills needed to become masterful at sales.
DON’T hire a non-assertive sales manager, which would set up your company for failure. The sales manager scoring low in assertiveness defaults to one of two behaviors: sarcasm or indirect communication, both of which are produced by their passive-aggressive behavior.
When a sales manager is unable to hold the candid conversation, they make snarky remarks such as, “Glad you could make it to the meeting.” Or, “Dan, so none of your prospects is answering the phone this month?” This type of conversation starts the old trigger response/regret loop between the manager and salesperson. Nothing of value happens and it won’t change sales behavior.
The non-assertive sales manager also can default to aggressive behavior. He explodes one day because he hasn’t been stating what he needs. The sales team doesn’t respond to this type of behavior because the sales manager looks and sounds like a loose cannon.
Who wants to follow or be like that type of sales leader?
A great sales manager can and will scale your business. Hire a sales manager that is comfortable with, and capable of, installing systems and processes. Interview for assertiveness and hire a sales manager that’s comfortable with truth-telling conversations. Those attributes lead to outstanding sales results.