What makes an exceptional sales leader?
As an organization who consistently recruits top sales leadership talent, we get asked this question all the time. Depending on who you speak with, the answer may differ with the exception of these three qualities:
This blog post will uncover our reasons why these three qualities are so critical in hiring culture-building sales leaders who fuel growth. As a bonus, we’ll also share some of our prized recruiting tips collected over decades to help screen for these qualities.
Why Sales Leadership is so Important
Just about any organization who is hungry for growth stands to benefit from an experienced sales leader — especially in the technology industry. In addition to driving revenue, quality sales executives also build amazing culture. Not only does this help ignite growth, but it also ensures employee retainment. With a nearly 97 percent return rate for existing customers who leverage our sales leadership recruiting services, we’ve discovered the secret to our success is placing sales trailblazers with all three of the qualities below.
Quality #1: Relationship-Builder
Perhaps the most important quality of our list is the ability to develop and nurture authentic relationships. Whether this is with customers, clients, or partners, having the raw talent to effortlessly build meaningful connections with people is vital for sales leadership success. It’s what separates a pushy sales person from a trusted advisor.
How to Screen for Relationship-Building
Discovering if a candidate truly possesses the relationship-building qualities needed to lead a result-producing sales team is often hard to discern with resumes and social profiles alone. To pass this quality test, we encourage clients to really use the reference process as more than a check-the-box exercise. Have the leadership candidate provide references that show a 360-degree perspective by asking for a past manager, a past sales rep, and a past client.
Quality #2: Adaptable
The only consistent thing for most tech companies (especially those in the startup phase) is change. Hiring a sales leader that is highly adaptable is an absolute must. A true, legendary sales leader is someone who views change as an ally vs. a burden. In addition, having an adaptable leader that can remain calm during stressful times is key to overcoming obstacles.
How to Screen for Adaptability
With the planetary COVID-19 pandemic, change has worked its way to just about every business, some getting much higher doses of change than others. One of the best screening questions for adaptability is to ask the candidate how they handled change during COVID. You’ll want to look for specific examples of how they remained calm under pressure and worked to develop strategic plans to come out stronger. Look for concrete examples of motivation, leadership, and empathy.
Quality #3: Data-Driven
It’s estimated that businesses who make more data-driven decisions grow more than 30 percent annually on average. Having a sales leader who can leverage data to make powerful decisions is increasingly becoming a must-have for today’s top sales performers. With terabytes of data literally everywhere, it’s imperative to have a sales guru who can collect, interrupt, and make smart decisions with data to succeed in 2020 & beyond..
How to Screen for Data-Driven Candidates
Look for specific numbers vs. buzzwords in their resume or LinkedIn profile. For example, consider the statements, “I streamlined efficiencies” vs. “I used data to improve operational efficiency by 30%.” It’s clear that the statement with the numbers is much more believable and practical. Be sure to ask candidates how they leveraged data to bring profitable business decisions, and demand specific examples with real numbers.
Hiring your next sales leader is a big step in investing in the success of your business. If you can genuinely find a candidate or two with the qualities above, you’ll be in a great place to hire your next top-performing sales MVP.
Need Help Hiring Sales Leaders with all of The Qualities Above?
Concerned over how you’re going to find the perfect sales leader for your growing team? Take the stress away by letting the sales recruiting experts at ImpactSearch help. With decades of experience recruiting the technology industry’s highest-performing sales leaders, we are confident we can find the perfect fit for your needs.