Having an amazing sales force is one of the most important aspects of an LBM company. With the amount of competition out there, it’s crucial to set yourself apart as the leading supplier in your markets. And one of the best ways to achieve this is by having a sales team that is second-to-none. Great sales representatives are a part of creating a crack sales team, but even more important is having a proven leader—a great sales manager.
Hiring a top-notch sales manager isn’t straightforward; an effective candidate doesn’t simply display any one set of skills and talents. To be a true rock star in this position, the person must be someone who encompasses a wide variety of skills and qualifications. If you’re using a recruiter for the position, discuss this with them to ensure they understand the position and what is required to fill it.
Here are eight key requirements to look for in an effective sales manager:
1. Are they open to feedback? As a sales manager, they are going to have to be open to both positive and negative feedback about how their team is doing and what needs to be done to correct any shortcomings.
2. Are they able to recognize the effort put forward by their team? A good sales manager will be willing and able to appreciate the work their team is doing.
3. Are they willing to implement new systems? Sales is an ever-changing industry, and there are always new and innovative technologies being developed to help streamline the process. Finding someone who isn’t resistant to change and who is willing to work with these new systems as they become available is important.
4. Are they detail oriented? Sales is a process—it’s not just always about the results. It’s paramount to find someone who is willing to conform (and hold their team) to the process that you have established.
5. Are they good at communicating goals and expectations? Simply put: Your new sales manager needs to be comfortable with leading their team. Do they have a history of leadership? Are they able to convey what’s expected and support those team members in need of constructive feedback? Are they willing to hold underperforming reps accountable?
6. Are they willing to admit when they make a mistake? This is incredibly important. If the person is not willing to admit when an error has been made (both to you and to their team), they will most likely not be willing to grow themselves or their team.
7. Are they organized? Leading a sales team is a lot of work, with a lot of moving parts to juggle. An effective manager is able to remain organized and focused on leading.
8. Are they willing to make hard decisions? This is the final requirement. Unfortunately, as a team leader there may come a time when someone needs to be cut from that team. Your new sales manager must be willing to give their team time to grow, but they also must be willing to let go of under-performers if the need arises.
Hiring a new sales manager can be an exciting and rewarding experience. It is important, though, that you make sure that you are hiring the best possible candidate. This will ensure that you (as well as your new employee) are both satisfied with the work and results the sales team produces.
Once you’ve selected and hired a manager for your sales team, it’s just as important that you let them lead it. There must be accountability, of course, but you need to be willing to step back a little and let them take the reins without too much micromanagement.
Rikka Brandon is the founder and Chief Executive Recruiter of Building Gurus, a boutique executive search and consulting firm that works exclusively with building product manufacturers and distributors to find, hire, and retain top building products talent.