Remember, as an executive, just because you hire a sales manager does not mean that you don’t have to manage, mentor, and coach yourself. Sales managers need to grow as well. Think of it as a process that must continue until you retire. Otherwise, the company blows up.
If you want to grow your business, you have to get someone very competent. You cannot use the word lightly, either. Though, the aforementioned statement is not cutting edge.
However, it is imperative that you get somebody who can grow with the company and fit in well within the culture. You have to like this person as an individual because you’re going to be married for a long time. That, or you’re going to be hiring again.
Moreover, as an executive, prior to hiring the individual, you must have a clear vision that looks one year into the future with this new person. Take a second and think.
Does the person have the capabilities to meet your needs, and can they see your vision?
Here are some tips to help you first answer the question at hand, as well as the strategies to implement to ensure your sales management hire is a success.
Bite Your Tongue, But You’re Going To Have To Do It
As an executive, you are going to have to forfeit power to this individual. Some hate to hear it and fear this as I would too as a business owner, but it must be done. Be comfortable with their decision-making power, but don’t put yourself entirely out of your comfort zone while doing so.
If You Don’t Set Firm Expectations, You’re Done.
Whether you’re a CEO, a sales executive, or others, you must set firm goals as to what you expect from this new employee from day one. This does not mean putting pressure on the individual (I am pretty against that), but it does mean being candid.
After the expectations are set, you now allow a good relationship to start. It cannot be the other way around. The business model will fail.
Know That If They Don’t Set Firm Expectations, They’re Done
If it’s a turnaround hire, a sales manager must establish authority with his or her subordinates, demand hard work from them, respect them, gain their respect, all while having complete transparency with their subordinates.
The concepts sound so easy, though only to the ones who have never lived it. Knowing what you know, ensure that the exact expectations you have of your new sales manager are passed down to your sales team. Set the corporate culture.
Implement Quarterly Performance Reviews
When clients ask us for quarterly review sheets, they do so for a reason. Every company should begin to implement some form of the grading process. Without it, as an executive or business owner, you risk losing control of any and all.
Give Them Some Marketing To Work With
No sales manager is going to make you, the company, themselves, and their sales representatives any significant cash flow without incoming leads. Marketing has gotten more demanding and more challenging, and it takes more work than ever. This person cannot do it all. Make the bed as cushy as possible for your new guest.
Ken Sundheim runs KAS Placement, a sales and marketing staffing agency specializing in helping both U.S. and International mid to large-size firms form sales teams, from hiring the executive-level sales manager to helping recent college graduates transition to a business development role. In his free time, Ken is a public speaker and likes to read non-fiction.