Hiring superstar sales people can be tough. But, hiring a superstar sales manager can be even tougher during a crisis. What do you screen for? Are all sales managers made equal? Below are the top three areas to screen for when hiring a top tier sales manager to guide your organization through COVID-19.
1) Sales operations
What is sales operations? Sales operations is a set of business activities and processes that help a sales organization run effectively, efficiently and in support of business strategies and objectives. In simple terms sales operations is the sales process. What is the sales process? It's the systems and procedures that ensure the sales organization is running like a well oiled machine. It is your CRM, forecasting, team enablement plans, revenue targets and general everyday functioning of the sales team. A superstar sales manager understands and knows how to implement sales processes that work, are agile and can be scaled as the organization grows.
A superstar sales manager understands how to scale within an organization in a way that doesn't blow the engines off the plane. Sales does not operate as a silo within a larger organization. In the case of software, a sales team can't be scaled up exponentially without taking into account the size of the development team that builds the product. Scaling is a factor of available resources.
What are the available resources on the sales side? Are there enough middle line managers? Are there people who can train and onboard new recruits? Can a single sales manager handle tracking and enablement for an expanding team? Regarding other departments, can the development team handle the additional work brought on by new clients? Can the finance team handle the additional work brought on by more people within the organization? Can the business itself sustain the number of sales people knowing that 50% of them will fail within their first 9 months?
Great sales managers understand the impact of scaling a sales team and understand how to mitigate against those risks.
3) Organizational Philosophy
What are the overall business goals of the organization and how do sales targets fit into those goals. Great sales managers know that sales interests must be aligned with the interests of the organization. What are the values of the organization? What kind of culture is management trying to build? How do those values get applied to the sales organization internally and externally?
A great sales manager doesn't operate as a lone wolf. They understand that targets are only hit when the organization functions as one efficient body of business. What is practiced internally is reflected externally and great sales managers understand that them and their team are the ambassadors for the organization and it's larger goals.