Before Your Company Hires a Sales Leader...

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 @ 09:01 AM

mistakeEveryone has a plan.

Some plans are better than others because they contain all or most of the necessary steps and sequence them in an appropriate order.  Most plans have gaps where steps should be and the sequence doesn't lend itself to success.

One area where we see this occur repeatedly is when companies are about to hire a Sales VP or Director AND they want to evaluate their sales force too.  For some reason, many choose to delay the evaluation until after the VP is in place when in reality, the evaluation should be used to help them select the new sales VP.

Sales VP's aren't like stretchy clothing where one size fits all.  You must be able to choose a VP based on the needs of the organization.  Some of those needs are well known but others, not so much.  Take the quality of the sales managers that would report up to the VP, as well as the salespeople who report to those managers.  Do the sales managers need to be developed?  If so, what kind of help will they need?  Do any or all of the sales managers need to be replaced?  If so, what kind of experiences and skill sets are required?  What about the salespeople?  What caliber are they, where are the skill gaps, how many need to be replaced, what are their capabilities and what types of weaknesses are holding the organization back?  Knowing the answers to these questions in advance help companies specify and select a Sales VP that has the experiences and skill sets to deal with all that is known.

The company has two choices:  

  1. Hire a Sales VP without regard for what the VP will inherit and whether or not the VP has the skill sets and experiences to take on what the unknown.  Let the new VP take 12-18 months to observe and understand the issues and create a plan of action.     Or
  2. Evaluate the Sales Force, and inside of 30 days, discover all of the unknown issues that need to be addressed, the people that need to be replaced, the development that needs to take place, the gaps in skills, systems and processes, and use that to specify exactly what a new Sales VP must be equipped to deal with upon arrival.
With option 1, the company wastes 1-2 years and might still have made a mistake hiring the new Sales VP.
With option 2, the company uses the information from a sales force evaluation to make an intelligent hiring decision and provides the new Sales VP with the equivalent of 18 months worth of observation - only much deeper and wider than he could ever learn on his own - on his very first day.
All of this logic applies to a smaller company that needs to hire a Sales Manager.
Which makes more sense to you?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales force evaluation, hiring, sales VP, Sales Director, candidate, sales assessments

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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