13 Red Flags to look for when hiring a sales manager

So how do you go about selecting the best person for the job when hiring a sales manager? It’s as much about knowing what you don’t want, as well as what you do want. To do that, here's 13 red flags to watch out for when interviewing sales managers. 

1. They have the gift of the gab but forget to listen
It's well known that active listening is a critical skill for sales professionals but even more so for managers. They are a conduit between sales reps and management so it's essential they actively listen to understand their team and disseminate the correct information from higher up. Those who don’t can create communication or morale problems, and also pass these bad habits onto their team. 

2. They seem passive and don’t want to make decisions
Sales managers need to constantly make quick - and good - decisions. They must also clearly and effectively communicate these to their teams. You need a sales manager that is action-oriented and doesn’t always take the back-seat when it comes to decision-making. No over-analysing or asking multiple people for their opinions either.

3. They have a 'it's your fault, not mine' mentality
Everyone makes mistakes, but a successful person accepts accountability and more importantly, learns from it. Those who shift the blame get stuck in a perpetual cycle where the same mistakes happen over and over, with team morale taking a hit as a result.

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4. They don’t go into detail about their past bad results
When the applicant gave you their answer about their worst month, did they seem uncomfortable talking about it? Was their response short or well-rehearsed? If the answer is yes, this might indicate they either don’t understand how to interpret and learn from sales data, or they don’t take responsibility for their mistakes.

5. They're close-minded
An on-point sales manager is always on the hunt for ways to improve their sales process. They will also inspire and empower their team to do the same. A sales manager with a fixed mindset doesn't go looking for new ways of working. If a sales rep suggests a different method, they're quick to shut it down.

6. They don’t appear to be a team player

Sales managers manage and lead teams. And sales teams function best when they collaborate and share opportunities and leads - not when they are pitted against one another or working insolation. Ask the interviewee to give you an example of how they collaborated with other sales teams to increase upsell or cross-functional sales.

5 things to look for in a great sales manager

7. They don't know much about your business products
To sell effectively, you need to understand the product/service but also what value it offers your client. Selling the features and benefits of a product is just the basics; top sellers can articulate true value because they understand the prospect's pain points and how the product will solve them.

8. They lack knowledge about your clients and your place in the industry
Just like understanding your products, a good sales manager gets your industry, particularly your unique place within it and the factors that influence your prospects propensity to buy.

9. They don’t appear to see the need to develop individuals within the team
Every cog in a machine needs to be well-lubricated to enable the machine to function as a whole. A sales teams is no different. Look for interviewees who understand that leading a team includes development/mentoring; not just managing to hit targets.

10. They don’t understand metrics
Most sales managers know they need to hit KPIs. But good ones go beyond that. They fully understand how each KPI contributes to business objectives and why it’s important. The candidate should be able to explain this. A bonus if they go further and detail how they can motivate their teams to achieve them.

11. They have poor time management skills
Good sales managers juggle lots of duties and managing their time to attend to each is crucial.
Efficient time management strikes a balance between managing staff workloads, selling and interacting with their team's clients/prospects as required.

12. They're not the right fit for your work culture
A happy sales manager will be more effective and so will their sales team. But one of the quickest ways for things to go south is when your work culture doesn't align with their belief system or natural way of working.

13. They don't ask YOU any questions
Excellent sales managers are inquisitive by nature. After all, it's the best way to discover pain points and come up with solutions to solve them. In the context of the interview, they should be seeking to understand if the role is a right fit for them and whether they can assuage any reservations you may have with their suitability.

We hope our 13 red flags to watch out for when hiring your sales manager checklist comes in handy! If you need some help doing the hiring, contact us and let us find your next best sales manager. Email us on hello@denovo.com.au or talk to our team on 02 9188 0301 or from Europe on +31(0)02 520 6836