• Kevin Snow

Hiring a sales manger? Here are three questions you should ask before making an offer.


For a growing company, hiring a sales manager can be one of the most important hires you make. Make a great hire and sales increase allowing the company to accelerate growth and creates value for everyone. Make a bad hire and and not only will sales decrease but you will also see a revolving door appear for your sales team, with the best salespeople leaving first.

Not all great salespeople are cut out to be effective sales managers. Sales is one of the few positions where the management role differs completely from the individual contributor role and thus has drastically different skill sets.

As the interviewer it is your job to flush out which candidate is the right person for the job. But you can't ask the same questions that you would ask sales people. Here are three questions that will help you accomplish your task more effectively.

1. What do you believe to be the main motivator for salespeople?

This is really a trick question. Your ideal candidate will understand that all salespeople are motivated differently. While one salesperson will be motivated by money to exceed quota, another salesperson may be motivated by the opportunity for family travel as a contest prize, or to contribute in some other creative way to the success of the team. The candidate that can answer this question with a more insightful answer than "Money", understands the importance of understanding the personality of his team members.

2. What's the ideal relationship between sales and marketing, and how do you develop that?

The successful candidate will understand that the relationship between sales and marketing needs to be more than marketing attending the sales kick off events. A successful partnership starts with a shared understanding of what constitutes a lead or a prospect along with all the other terms used to describe the client as they move through the sales process. Both groups also need to understand what success looks like and how it is measured. Marketing needs to be help accountable for quality leads and sales needs to held accountable for following up on those leads; and both sides need to provide open and honest feed back to help refine and improve overall results.

3. How would you train and onboard new salespeople?

Your ideal candidate needs to understand that as the Sales Manager, he or she has the most ability of any member of management to influence the sales success of the company. To take full of advantage of this potential you want to hear your candidate talk about hands on training and coaching they will do with their new reps. This includes conducting ride alongs as well as taking the time to introduce the new salesperson to key people in the company; assigning a mentor to the new salesperson, and helping them set goals and following up on the progression of these goals.

Your new sales manager needs to be someone that can inspire their team to work harder and motivate them to sell more. This means more leadership and less management. If you ask questions like the three above you can get a clearer idea of your candidate's ability to effectively lead your sales team and find the person that help your company continue to grow.

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