What to Consider When Hiring a Head of Sales

by | Sep 19, 2012 | Sales Strategy, Sales Tips | 0 comments

Last month Forbes published an excellent article by guest blogger, Dev Ittycheria, entitled 12 factors to consider when hiring a head of sales. We felt it was good enough to share.

In his article, Ittycheria makes a strong case for the importance of a good leader and walks the reader step by step through twelve key attributes of a great sales manager. Make a great hire,” he writes, “and the company’s ability to scale increases dramatically, accelerating growth and creating value for everyone involved. Make a bad hire and not only does the company go sideways and burn a lot of cash, but the CEO ends up at risk of losing his or her job.”

What are Those 12 Factors that Make Up a Good Sales Leader?

The 12 things that Ittycheria says are the essence of a good sales leader are as follows:

  1. Ability to Recruit – because a great sales team is only as good as the sum of all its parts.
  2. Process Orientation – because sales is as much science as it is art.
  3. Knowing How to Develop Salespeople – because a good manager understands the importance of ongoing training
  4. Ability to Forecast – because the ability to forecast means knowing the market, knowing what’s in the pipeline and understanding what it will take to close.
  5. Anticipating Future Needs – because if all you focus on is this quarter’s goals, the next quarter will suffer.
  6. Ego – because the best sales managers focus on their team more than they do themselves.
  7. Coachability – because no matter how good you are, there is always more to learn.
  8. Creating a Culture of Discipline – because discipline is what it takes to get things done.
  9. Integrity – no need for explanation!
  10. Motivated for the Right Reasons – because those who only care about the money are more likely to take shortcuts and leave when the going gets tough.
  11. Domain Expertise – this one is tricky because while domain expertise is important, it is not nearly as important as all the other points when it comes down to hiring. If all the other points are falling into place, domain expertise can be learned.
  12. Quality of Decisions – because decision-making is at the heart of any leadership position.

What About Business Development?

With one exception, these same attributes are also critical to heading up a business development team. The exception being “ability to forecast.”   In its place, we’d add “focus.” A focused, involved business development manager is integral to keeping up the constant outbound volume necessary to gather market intelligence, initiate relationships and move leads from cold to warm and ultimately to opportunity.

Too often, when one sales manager is tasked with overseeing business development and enterprise sales, that focus on the front end of the pipeline goes by the wayside (i.e. anticipating future needs) and with it the consistent cadence needed for predictable, repeatable sales growth.

Divide and Conquer

One solution: hire superman (or woman). Another?  Divide and conquer. Hire one leader for your business development team and another for your enterprise sales team. Then task the two to work together to keep the sales machine moving forward.

Better yet, outsource business development entirely. It is cost effective, exceedingly efficient and often more productive than trying to do it internally.  Applying NuGrowth’s model, for example, for roughly the cost of a VP of sales, you can get the focused new business development rep, specialized sales management and systems – all housed within a well-honed organization focused on these principles. Not only that, but because the virtual, or outsourced, sales organization is focused 100% on sales, they have the means, the experience and the expertise to begin a productive sales effort more quickly than most.

If your pipeline is drying up and your sales aren’t reaching expectations, outsourcing your business development to the team at NuGrowth might be your Solution.  NuGrowth will work as an extension of your team to help you put in place repeatable and scalable processes for acquiring new clients.

If you are interested in working with a partner you can trust to grow business, please give us a call at 800-966-3051.