If you don't want sales department tasks to be solved using tarot cards and the alignment of planets, it's worth being more careful in selecting the Sales Department Manager.
The need to find a sales department manager arises in several situations:
The team is growing rapidly, and you need someone to oversee it.
The previous manager decided that he was tired of his position and went off on his own, and the company now needs a new Sales Department Manager.
The current person occupying the role of Sales Department Manager doesn't even know what the abbreviation stands for and is unable to fulfill the responsibilities of the position.
It may seem that each of these options is extremely complex and requires a deep dive to figure out.
In reality, it's important to start by simply determining the tasks you want to solve by hiring a sales department manager.
Don't try to swim against the current. Set your goal, understand who you need to find, and decide how to move forward.
When choosing a Sales Department Manager, it's important to consider their work experience and the quality of their sales cases unless, of course, you want the company's tasks to be solved using tarot cards and the alignment of planets.
Often during the search, you will come across candidates who claim to have been sales department managers. However, during the interview, it turns out that they were managing themselves, with at best one employee for support, and an aquarium fish as a token of responsibility. Such candidates are by no means contenders for the position of Sales Department Manager or team leader. They are more likely to be self-managing individuals who believe that fictitious experience on their resume will open doors to their desired future.
I believe that in sales, it is important to have managerial experience.
Managerial Experience of a Sales Department Manager
It's great if the candidate for the Sales Department Manager position has managerial experience that was used in two or more companies.
Even better, if in each company, the managerial experience was accumulated through the career ladder. This means that the candidate started in a lower position (for example, as a manager) and eventually climbed up to become the Sales Department Manager (or at least a team leader), while expanding their responsibilities along the way.
This is not just a selection criterion but a desirable career path for us. Such cases demonstrate that a person understands their professional field because they have successfully achieved promotions to the Sales Department Manager position multiple times.
A common career development scenario is when someone reaches their first managerial experience. When entering the job market, they face numerous difficulties, and finding a job quickly becomes as challenging as licking one's elbow. In such cases, a person either sacrifices the scale and manages a small team of five people in a small office or sacrifices their position and takes a lower-level role in a large company, eventually working their way up to a managerial position. This is an aspect that should definitely be taken into account when choosing a Sales Department Manager.
Continuing to the next step of the selection process, here's a helpful tip: if you see that a person has progressed from a sales manager to a Sales Department Manager but has only held the new position for three to four years, it doesn't mean that everything is bad, and you should immediately close the door on them.
There's a nuance. The role of a Sales Department Manager involves two main focuses: building business processes and overseeing the sales team. Pay attention to the latter responsibility. Understand what new contributions they made to the team during their work and how long it took to achieve those results. Often, during the interview, it is revealed that the candidate once set something in motion (or something was already in motion before them). It is important for us to know how they upgraded their sales department, what specific changes they introduced. Simply supporting processes is the responsibility of a deputy Sales Department Manager or a team leader. What you need is initiative, a willingness to make changes, and an understanding of the rationale behind those changes.
A good Sales Department Manager always modifies processes.
Fact: a professional Sales Department Manager not only sets the rails but also actively seeks new market solutions that improve processes within and outside the team. This could involve improving the sales funnel, changing meeting formats or sales scripts—anything that increases sales conversion and makes the department more efficient. This is what sets a Sales Department Manager apart. While resumes often contain impressive statements, during the conversation, it is important to grasp moments when they enriched, modified, and simplified work processes and the results they achieved. If a Sales Department Manager has something to share about their work over the past three to four years (including team plans and their implementation), then you have a candidate who is a perfect fit and can solve over 90% of the tasks assigned to them.
If you come across a Sales Department Manager who primarily supervised and supported the sales department without creating processes, it is generally normal, but carefully compare their skills with what you are looking for in the development of your sales department. If you need a good supervisory Sales Department Manager and the main processes are already in place, focus your interview on that aspect. Find out what tools they used, how they monitored performance metrics, how they interacted with other departments, and so on.
However, if you need someone to create something (and most often, a Sales Department Manager is sought when something isn't working or when there is a need for something new), then look at their experience, their market awareness, and the methodologies they apply andare seeking.
Each Sales Department Manager brings with them experience that they have used in other companies.
A highly experienced Sales Department Manager means many new and interesting mechanics that you can utilize, as well as fewer setbacks when working with other specialists in the company. Remember: you are an investor who invests in the employee's experience, and they, in turn, are looking for quick and simple levers to achieve the goal.
Don't forget about your own experience. Keep in mind what made your previous Manager good for you. Look for the same privileges in the future and add new requirements as well.
As for the probationary period, it should be based on the task plan for the sales department that will be implemented within the first two to three weeks. Then, it's important to look at the overall picture: what has been accomplished and what hasn't. It's better not to create a task plan before the start since the candidate is not yet inside your business and is unfamiliar with your team and business processes. This applies to all candidates. To avoid wasting time on guesswork, remember that the result may not be directly linked to immediate financial gains. Some tasks are long-term in nature. Sometimes it may seem that nothing has changed in certain areas, but the fruits will likely be visible in the future—simply make the candidate's work transparent and establish a unified field of work.
Again, a good Sales Department Manager will seek both quick wins and future potential. Look at the areas of growth they have identified and the improvements they propose.
If you don't adhere to these recommendations, you risk frequently changing sales department managers. While not catastrophic, it incurs temporary and financial costs. Onboarding a Sales Department Manager takes more time than onboarding a team.
And don't forget the simple truth: frequent changes in the sales department manager negatively impact the entire team's work and your own morale.
If you don't want to deal with all of this yourself, consider hiring a Sales Department Manager recruitment agency. They know exactly what to do, whom to search for, how to select candidates, and which candidates are not worth your precious time.