Who says great sales managers can’t be found? Dig deep and make the offer sexy!

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a Fortune Small Business “Ask FSB” column (see “How do I Find a Great Sales Manager” in the September 2008 issue of Fortune Small Business), responding to a reader’s question on how to find a great sales manager to expand his staffing firm’s client base. The business owner said he was willing to offer very competitive pay, but was having a hard time finding the right candidates.

Given the dismal state of the economy and rising unemployment rate, you’d think finding a qualified sales person would be a relatively easy task. Obviously, the problem must lie with the hiring manager or the company itself. Right?

Wrong.

The fact is, the demand for qualified sales professionals is strong. That is why you need to make sure that you’re giving them enough information upfront to entice the best to respond.  Make it sexy!

Provide detailed information on the business you’re in and the company’s culture.  Keep it sexy and make sure you’re communicating the positive points about your culture.  Make sure that the candidates know upfront if you can sweeten the pot with the option to telecommute, which is an especially popular and critical perk right now.

Whatever you do, don’t let the desperation for growing revenue force you to compromise. Be clear about quota expectations and never hire someone who has not exceeded their quotas at past organizations (no matter what excuses they give). Check past leadership, customer and partnership references to determine how effective the candidate is at meeting or exceeding revenue.

Once they’re hired, Tony Smith at the Brooks Group says it’s important to consistently ask these two questions in order to have enough information to lead them effectively;  What stage are you at in the sales process and what are you doing to move to the next level?

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