Hiring Sales Leaders: Skillset To Look For To Find The Ideal Candidate

Aug 29, 2022
Collin Stewart

The competency of your sales leaders has a direct impact on your company’s revenue, which is why it’s imperative to hire the right person for the role.

A common sales hiring mistake companies make is to promote their best sales representatives (SDRs) to a leadership role without considering other key attributes. Let’s take a closer look at the top skills you should look for when hiring sales leaders and how those traits may differ from successful SDRs.

Traits of successful sales leaders

Sales leaders are responsible for managing their teams, planning and executing sales strategies, and making data-driven decisions that will ultimately grow the company’s revenue. There are a lot of moving parts in the revenue organization, and a great sales leader needs to balance them all. 

Here are seven key skills you should look for when hiring sales leaders.

1. Coaching

Sales leaders will also be responsible for coaching and supporting the sales development representatives under their supervision. Managers need to support new employees from the sales hiring process through onboarding and ongoing coaching.

The best sales leaders know that coaching is non-negotiable. As a leader, it’s their responsibility to manage their team’s talent and ensure that every member of the sales department is continuously growing and improving.

This could involve setting custom development plans, conducting regular check-ins with sales development representatives, or overseeing a mentorship program between new hires and more experienced salespeople.

2. Leadership

Leading a team of sales development representatives requires more than just coaching. Sales leaders must also track their team’s performance, conduct regular reviews, make hiring and firing decisions, and maintain motivation.

The ability to lead a team is a separate skill from being a good salesperson. This is the core reason why successful sales development representatives don’t always make strong sales leaders. To avoid this mistake, make leadership assessment a core part of your sales hiring process.

3. Analytics

Sales leaders need to make strategic decisions based on data. Part of their job is to track and analyze sales data to make informed decisions about the company’s revenue. 

They will responsible for not only setting revenue goals but also planning how to meet those objectives. For this reason, sales leaders need to have an in-depth understanding of their target market, ideal customer profile (ICP), and pipeline management. Research skills will help them analyze this data and plan accordingly. 

4. Communication 

Communication is an essential part of any manager’s job. Sales leaders need to communicate clearly with sales development representatives, customers, and other leaders throughout the organization. 

Above all, sales leaders need to clearly communicate the company’s revenue goals, objectives, and strategies to the sales team. Misunderstandings can result in an unmotivated or underperforming team.

5. Systems Development

Sales leaders are responsible for developing systems and processes for the rest of the sales team to follow. A sales playbook can be instrumental in growing your company’s revenue, and a great sales leader can help identify and document those core processes.

Managers may also be responsible for choosing a tech stack, creating templates and scripts, and providing any other resources sales reps need to succeed. Organizational skills are a key part of succeeding in any sales leadership role.

6. Talent Management

Sales hiring is a core responsibility for any team manager. Sales leaders need to effectively identify, hire, and onboard new sales development representatives, as well as manage their existing team’s talent

Sales leaders should be able to make critical decisions about whether or not an SDR needs to be promoted, moved to another department, or let go from the organization. This level of responsibility can be difficult for some people, which is why it’s critical to ensure your sales leaders are comfortable making those hard decisions.

7. Planning and Problem-Solving

Sales leaders need to think ahead in order to forecast revenue, plan sales goals, and strategize effective ways to meet those goals. They’ll also need to hold the sales team accountable for those goals over the long term.

Lastly, consider asking sales leader candidates about how they adapt their strategy to challenges. Things don’t always go according to plan, and sales leaders must think on their feet and remain flexible to meet revenue goals. Consider adding a problem-solving assessment to your sales hiring strategy to evaluate this ability.

Final Thoughts on Hiring Sales Leaders

Sales leaders have a wide range of responsibilities, from revenue forecasting to managing and coaching their teams. The best candidates will demonstrate these core skills during the sales hiring process.

If you need help hiring sales leaders for your organization, our coaches can help. Click here to book a free discovery call and learn how we can help you hire, train, and onboard the best sales talent for your company. 

In this cheatsheet, we’re sharing top insights to help you build, scale, and optimize your sales development function. From nailing your outbound sales message to motivating your team, choosing your tech stack, and more.

Free Download!

The Ultimate Sales Coaching Guide

Keep Learning

What is B2C Sales?

What is B2C Sales?

Learn what makes business-to-consumer sales (B2C sales) distinct from B2B, how to maximize your B2C sales process, and make the most of industry trends.

read more
Cold Calling Best Practices

Cold Calling Best Practices

Curious about cold calling best practices? In this post, we’re sharing our favorite cold calling methods, on-call best practices, and must-haves for effective cold calling.

read more