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Sales Manager: Job Title or Specialized Skill
Guest articles > Sales Manager: Job Title or Specialized Skill
by: Lee B. Salz
Many business executives focus their search for sales management candidates from within their industry. They are restricting their ability to find the right person for the role.
One of the most critical decisions a company will make is the hiring of the right sales manager. However, many business owners and executives make the all too common mistake of restricting their search to those with industry experience. There is a feeling that the sales manager must come from their industry as that is the only way they will be successful in the role. Many put that element of their criteria at the top of their decision list. "The successful applicant will have 10 years experience in the widget industry." Hogwash!
The end result of this approach is that companies hire the industry retreads. Perhaps, employers think that this person will bring along valuable competitive secrets, maybe even some clients. While that may occasionally happen, this approach negatively impacts the company. They may as well hang a sign outside that says, "No new ideas permitted" because that is what you get when you focus your search on industry people only. What often happens is that the individual gets hired because they can create the illusion of brilliance by using industry jargon to blind the interviewer. "Eureka! We've found our sales manager! She is very strategic!"
Every company thinks they are in an industry that is so unique and has so many nuances that the hire must have industry background. This is a scary approach! If that's the feeling in the company, there is a much bigger issue that they face. How will they scale? If they always limit the search to those within the industry, what do they do when they run out of candidates? The fact is that most industry information can be taught. The company needs to get over their hubris thinking that their industry is so special that it takes an industry veteran to be successful. Product knowledge is not the main driver in a successful sales person, nor is it the primary one for the successful sales manager. Consider this, CEOs bounce from Fortune 1000 company to Fortune 1000 company based on their CEO acumen, not their industry knowledge.
A more prudent approach for hiring the right sales manager is to look for a candidate who comes to the table with the specialized skill set associated with a sales manager. Yes, this is a specialized skill set and, often times, is portable into any industry. The role of the sales manager is to both be a leader and a manager which is not usually skills developed in the womb. They are cultivated and developed through training and experience as a sales manager. Some of the elements that companies should be focused on when hiring the right sales manager include:
In addition to cultural fit, these are the seven key elements that a company should use to make a decision to hire a particular sales management candidate. What the employer will get with this hiring approach is a strong, scalable organization with fresh ideas. People in your company won't be able to get away with the old mantra of "we've just always done it that way." Don't you want to drive your company to grow? Expand your horizons and reap the benefits. Taking this approach will help your company develop long-lasting, fruitful sales marriages.
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® methodology. He is the President of Sales Architects, the C.E.O. of Business Expert Webinars and author of “Soar Despite Your Dodo Sales Manager.” Lee is an online columnist for Sales and Marketing Management Magazine, a print columnist for SalesforceXP Magazine, and the host of the Internet radio show, “Secrets of Business Gurus.” Look for Lee's new book in February 2009 titled, "The Sales Marriage” where he shares the secrets to hiring the right sales people. He is a passionate, dynamic speaker and a business consultant. Lee can be reached at lsalz@SalesArchitecture.com or 763.416.4321.
Keywords: sales techniques, sales strategy, lost sales, sales management, sales consulting, sales training, strategic accounts, closing skills
Contributor: Lee B. Salz
Published here on: 09-Nov-08