Finding the right sales manager is a crucial task for any business. This key leadership role can significantly impact the success and growth of your sales team and ultimately, your company's bottom line. However, the process of hiring a sales manager requires careful planning and execution to ensure that you attract and select the best candidate for the job.
In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the essential steps of hiring a sales manager, including critical aspects, such as crafting a compelling job description and conducting effective interviews.
This guide will help to form the foundation of your recruitment strategy and influence the calibre of candidates you attract and ultimately hire.
Whether you are a seasoned recruiter or new to the hiring process, this guide will equip you with the necessary tools and knowledge to navigate the complexities of hiring a sales manager successfully. Let's dive in and discover the key strategies and best practices that will enable you to find the ideal sales manager to lead your team towards unprecedented success.
How to write a strong sales manager job description
A sales manager job description can be the defining factor in the quality of candidates who end up applying for this key leadership role within your business. By developing a job description that is clear about what you’re looking for and who you are as an organisation, you can quickly sift out the inappropriate candidates before they even look to apply.
We’ve used our expertise as executive search consultants to bring you some key tips on writing up a strong sales manager job description.
1. Clearly Define the Role and Responsibilities
Begin by clearly outlining the core responsibilities and expectations for the sales manager position. Define the scope of the role in a very clear way, including the specific sales targets, team management duties and strategic planning responsibilities. Provide a comprehensive overview of the key tasks and deliverables expected from the sales manager to attract candidates who possess the skills and experience you’re looking for.
2. Emphasise Required Skills and Qualifications
Identify the essential skills and qualifications that are necessary for success in the sales manager role. Highlight both technical skills, such as knowledge of sales strategies, CRM software, and market analysis, as well as interpersonal skills like leadership, communication, and relationship building. This combination of attributes is absolutely key at this level, and if they’re missing either of these elements, they won’t be fit for the role. This will help you attract candidates with the right expertise and competencies.
3. Showcase Performance Metrics
Incorporate measurable performance metrics into the job description to emphasise the importance of achieving sales targets and driving results. Specify the expected sales growth percentage, revenue goals, or market share increase, if applicable. This will attract candidates who are motivated by tangible achievements and have a track record of meeting or exceeding targets. It will also put you in good stead for growth and business development for the future.
4. Describe the Company Culture and Values
Include information about your company's culture, values, and work environment. Give candidates a glimpse into your organisation's values, team dynamics, and any unique selling points that make your company an attractive place to work. This helps candidates assess their fit within the company culture and ensures alignment with your organisational values.
5. Provide Opportunities for Advancement and Development
Highlight any growth opportunities and professional development programs available to the sales managers applying for the role. Mention potential career paths, training programs, mentorship opportunities, flexible working opportunities or chances to lead larger teams or projects. This demonstrates your commitment to the candidate's long-term growth and can attract ambitious individuals seeking career progression. These elements should be part of your retention strategy and will provide them with a clear picture of what you, as an organisation, can offer them.
By following these five tips, you can create a compelling and informative sales manager job description that attracts qualified candidates and sets clear expectations for the role that will also deter inexperienced or inappropriate candidates.
Remember to keep the sales manager job description concise, engaging, and reflective of your company's unique needs and culture. For more tips on writing an effective job description, read this article.
How to interview a sales manager
Once you’ve shortlisted for interview, it’s on to the interview stage. Again, due to the executive nature of this role and the very specific qualities you’re looking for when hiring a sales manager, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what questions you should be asking to get the most out of them.
Here are five tips we’d recommend you follow when interviewing for a sales manager position.
1. Prepare Structured Interview Questions
Develop a set of structured interview questions that assess the candidate's relevant skills, experience, and competencies. Include questions that probe their sales management approach, leadership style, ability to handle challenges, and track record of achieving sales targets. From this, you can develop a framework or point system for how the candidate answers, in relation to what you’re looking for and the most important skills you’re looking for.
This allows you to fairly compare candidates and get a good idea of how strong each one is in comparison to the things your company values most from this type of candidate.
2. Assess Sales Leadership and Strategy
Probe the candidate's sales leadership abilities by asking about their experience in leading and motivating sales teams, setting sales strategies, and driving revenue growth.
Ask for experienced based questions and use this to gauge their approach to goal setting, coaching and mentoring, performance management, and fostering a collaborative sales culture. Look for candidates who can inspire and guide their team to achieve exceptional results.
3. Gauge Relationship Building and Communication Skills
Sales managers must excel at building and nurturing relationships with clients, stakeholders, and their sales team. Assess the candidate's interpersonal and communication skills through behavioural questions that explore their ability to connect with diverse individuals, negotiate effectively, resolve conflicts, and communicate expectations clearly.
Look for candidates who can build strong relationships based on trust and effectively convey their vision and expectations. This section can also closely link in to your values as a business, so be sure to assess against those too.
4. Evaluate Analytical and Problem-Solving Abilities
Sales managers often face complex challenges and need to make data-driven decisions. Inquire about the candidate's problem-solving skills, ability to analyse sales data, identify trends, and make strategic recommendations.
Assess their ability to adapt to changing market conditions, devise innovative sales approaches, and overcome obstacles. Look for candidates who can think critically, use data to drive decision-making, and implement effective sales strategies from this.
5. Conduct Role-Play or Scenario-Based Exercises
Present candidates with sales-related scenarios and observe how they handle objections, negotiate deals, or motivate a struggling team member.
This allows you to assess their sales acumen, ability to think on their feet, and how they handle real-world situations. Role-plays provide valuable insights into a candidate's sales instincts, problem-solving abilities, and their overall fit for the role.
Hiring a sales manager using an executive search consultant
Hiring a sales manager is an extremely important endeavour, and one that could have a real impact on the performance and culture of your organisation. As such, it’s really not something you can leave up to chance.
To gain some assurance that you’re hiring the very best candidate for this crucial role, consider utilising the expertise and skill of a tried and tested executive search consultant.
Here at SPS International, we have accumulated years of experience in placing top tier candidates in highly competitive roles. If you’d like to find out more about how we can support you in sourcing and hiring your next top performing sales manager, get in touch with a member of our team today.