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Five Keys to Hiring the Right Sales Manager
By Lee Salz, President, Sales Architects

Whether you promote from within or hire from outside, consider these five points to make sure you find the right person for the role.

There are few decisions more critical for a company than the hiring of the leadership of their sales organization. Yet, few know how to do it well. Many err and "promote" their best seller to a sales management position. Why this is called a promotion is beyond me. The job of the sales manager is vastly different than that of a sales person, so why is this considered employment elevation? Often times, sales managers earn less than the top sales people. Promotion?

Some sales people make the transition successfully, but many struggle with the change. Sometimes, it is a mismatch of the person to the role. However, more frequently, the struggle is caused by the lack of recognition by the company that this is not a promotion, but rather a move into a completely new job. How do you handle an employee in a new job? You train, mentor, and monitor their performance! Look, most people don't come out of the womb with the skills required to be an effective manager. Thus, it is a key responsibility of the company to recognize that when moving their top sales person into that role they need to own the development of that individual. A congratulatory handshake and smile just won't get it done.

Many companies look for their sales management candidates from outside their organization. This approach also has its challenges. Whether you promote from within or hire from outside, consider these five points to make sure you find the right person for the role.
Selling versus Managing.

If you consider the broad spectrum of responsibilities from selling business directly to managing a team, what percentage of the time do you expect this person to be focused on personal selling versus managing? As mentioned above, the skill set required for those two responsibilities is vastly different. It is also difficult to find professionals that have equal strength in both skill sets. Often times, there will be a trade-off. If there is a sacrifice to be made, it makes the best sense to select someone who has their primary strength in the more predominant part of the responsibility.

If the decision is made that the position has equal responsibility for selling and managing or the dominant responsibility is selling, it may make sense for an internal hire. This allows the company to develop a new manager. However, the plan falls down if the company is not committed to a development plan.

Creating versus Executing.

Another consideration is what your expectations of the sales manager are relative to developing the company's sales architecture

Lee B. Salz is a sales management guru who helps companies hire the right sales people, on-board them, and focus their sales activity using his sales architecture

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