“A” players generate 5x more revenue than “B” players and 10x more than “C” players.

Hiring leadership talent is incredibly difficult. Sales has become more scientific, yet many worldwide heads of sales are hiring their sales management team based on gut feel. Or even worse, 3rd party recruiters that don’t know their sales org. Even with the best process, some silver tongue bad hires still make it through. This post is about spotting leadership hiring mistakes quickly. Save yourself grief by evaluating your talent approach against best practices from top selling organizations. Review the People Plan phase within the Sales Strategy of the How to Make Your Number in 2018 Workbook


You have a sales strategy.  You have invested in new processes to make the team more effective. Yet, your recently hired regional leaders are struggling to drive execution in the field.  You were involved in hiring them, so you are vested in their success.


Allowing poor leadership to exist in your organization will have widespread effects.  Poor leadership will in turn hire their own wrong talent.  They will not set expectations properly.  Ultimately, hiring the wrong leader can set back a region for years. 


Concerned you recently made a leadership hiring mistake? The Mis-hire Test will provide clarity.  The tool will help you pinpoint why the new leader is failing.  Use it to determine if you should continue to invest or cut ties.


Deep down you aren’t sure you have hired the right leaders. 


What are your options?


  • Invest more and hope they turn the corner
  • Cut ties now
  • Give them more time


What is the right answer?  As the Head of Sales, your time is incredibly valuable.  The opportunity cost of keeping the wrong leader in the role is immense.  The decision will impact this year and next at a minimum.


Is the Leader a Mis-hire?


1. Expectations


The 1st thing you need to do is look in the mirror.  Have you provided clear expectations multiple times?  Assuming your new leaders know what is expected could be the problem. Use TSWRM to ensure expectations are clear and executed properly.  TSWRM – Tell them, Show them, Watch them, Retrain, and Manage.  If you skip any steps, you can’t validate your team understands expectations.  Don’t stop at “Tell them” and assume they know how to execute.


2. Measurement


Next, you need to measure the right metrics.  Behaviors and leading indicators.  Using lagging indicators to measure a new hire’s productivity is a mistake.  Look at the behaviors the new hire has full control over.  Are their behaviors in line with your expectations?

Then look at leading indicators.  These will help you determine if the behaviors are being performed effectively.  Some new hires are just going through the motions to please you. The top leader behaviors and leading metrics are in the Sales VP Mis-hire Test tool.


3. Capability

Think back to the hiring process and ask yourself these questions:


  • Did you seek them out?  Or were they unemployed or running from their current job?  Hiring leaders that aren’t looking for something new has a better success rate.
  • Did we make the easy hire?


  • Did I hire based on their past experience and gut feel?
  • Did I hire them mainly because I like them or they are similar to me?
  • Were they hired based on the competencies they demonstrated?


These questions are a good way to test your current sourcing and hiring process.


4. Time

Time management can be a killer in a new role.  As a leader, it is your job to provide direction and focus.  Do you really know where they are spending their time?  Have you observed them?  Set a cadence to do coaching and visit them.  Have them track their time and review it in weekly meetings.  Look for opportunities to make admin time more efficient.  Make hiring, training, coaching, and development time more effective. 


Running a sales org is incredibly difficult.  The difference between success and failure comes down to two things.  Talent and performance conditions.  Without the right leadership even the best performance conditions will produce average results. If you would like a hand, come see me at The Studio to sit down and review your people plan approach.


Have expectations gone up and left you wondering if you can make your number? Here is an interactive tool that will help you understand if you have a chance at success. Take the Revenue Growth Diagnostic test and rate yourself against SBI’s sales and marketing strategy to find out if:

  • Your revenue goal is realistic
  • You will earn your bonus
  • You will keep your job


Sales Revenue Growth


Scott Gruher

Orchestrates and designs the perfect project strategy, one engagement at a time, to ensure that every SBI client makes their number.

Scott joined SBI in 2010 with years of hands-on experience in sales leadership and enterprise selling. Since his arrival, he has helped dozens of organizations dramatically accelerate growth, from Fortune 10 organizations like Phillips 66 to fast-growing cloud service organizations like InfusionSoft. Scott specializes in cross-functional alignment. He helps leaders align around the growth goal and design the right processes to bring the strategy to life. His unique combination of real world experience and a pragmatic approach to problem solving have made him one of SBI’s most demanded resources.

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