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One of the most daunting decisions a start-up has to make is hiring its first head of sales. A good hire can dramatically increase the company’s growth and create value for everyone involved. On the other hand, a bad hire could lose a lot of money for the company.

Sure, you know you want someone good in sales. But it takes more than good sales skills to be a successful sales executive. Here are our takes on the most critical factors to consider when assessing candidates to be your new head of sales.

But First, Why Is the Head of Sales Role so Important in Your Business?

The head of sales role is an important position in any company.

This person is responsible for the marketing and selling your company’s products or services. They are responsible for generating leads, converting prospects to customers, and ensuring a continuous flow of revenue coming into the business.

They are expected to work with the president and other executives to develop and execute a strategy for increasing revenue.

One of the role’s key tasks is to develop an effective strategy for increasing revenue by analyzing market conditions, developing strategies, and building out the team.

Hiring a head of sales can be difficult because it requires an extensive understanding of increasing revenue in different markets.

There are many benefits to hiring someone with experience in this role.

For example, they will be able to help you identify your target audience and then use their expertise to create a strategy that will allow you to reach them. This will save you time and money by not having to do all the research yourself.

Main Factors to Consider When Selecting the Ideal Candidate

If your candidate meets all three requirements and you haven’t discovered your “real VP” after four to five months (ideally less), I’d go ahead and make the hire.

But first, ask yourself these questions to determine if they’re suitable for the role.

1. Have they hired two or more quota-meeting or quota-exceeding salespeople in their team?

This is, by far, the most crucial factor to consider.

You want to hire someone who already has demonstrated they can do the job.

Over 95% of individual sales representatives have no hiring experience, says Jason Lemkin of Saastr, the world’s largest community for B2B and SaaS entrepreneurs.

You’re taking a big risk hiring them as your director of sales or first head of sales if they’ve never hired two or more exceptional salespeople previously.

2. Do they have a track record of success selling at your pricing point?

Being good at $1000 deals isn’t the same as $10,000 deals. And scoring a $10,000 sale isn’t the same as a million-dollar sale.

Don’t ignore the important distinctions.

The difference between an average salesperson and top-performing sales executive is staggering. Average sales reps reach their quotas, but great ones not only hit consistently but can also have blow-out months and quarters!

3. Can they train you or other employees to sell?

Check to see if they can train you or other people in your team to sell the company’s products and services.

If they have sales training experience, teaching experience, or mentored younger sales reps, that’s usually a good sign.

Training is an integral part of sales management.

Ideally, you’d want to have a head of sales that can improve sales skills, knowledge, and maximize sales success.

Try Promoting from Within

Finally, before you settle — are you sure you can’t promote from within?

Even if you don’t have the perfect candidate for the head of sales position right now, that doesn’t mean you can’t help your team develop leadership skills. Some of the most talented and successful executives have grown from entry-level roles within the same company.

If you aren’t sure, you could challenge two to three of your best-performing sales representatives to see if one can step up to the role.

Give them a shot at hiring a salesperson. The person who brought in a great new sales representative to the team might be the right hire after all.

Remember, an internal hire almost always knows your company better than an external hire.

They have firsthand experience through your company’s ups and downs and have years of institutional knowledge gained from job tenure. This is the reason an internal hire will likely reach their full potential quicker.

Recruit High-Performing Sales Executives with Jarvis!

Finding the right talent to be your first head of sales can feel like an endless struggle without a recruitment goal.

If you need the staff to make the most of your sales team, Jarvis can help! Jarvis are the leaders in eCommerce recruitment, and regularly fill such positions regularly. 

Get in touch today! 

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