Bob explained to me that he turned over 17 of his sales managers in 2010, which was 3x the normal amount. He was looking for a referral to a recruiter that might help him hire a few regional sales managers.
I suggested to him he may want to discover what was causing the increase in turn over prior to contracting with a recruiter. Bob stated he “had it under control” and just needed to fill the spots before the New Year began.
I provided Bob a few names of recruiters our sales consulting firm has used in the past, wished him luck, and thought nothing of it.
Earlier this week, I was watching the World Series and Bob sent me a text asking for a quick chat. During the 4th inning, Bob explained to me that the recruiters I provided him last year filled all 17 spots, as he wanted. However, 13 of the regional sales managers hired have since quit. Before I could ask a question, Bob says “I don’t want to hear I told you so. I need your help. When can you start?”
You do not have to suffer as Bob is.
Here is what we plan on doing for Bob. If you are hiring RSMs, give it a shot.
15 Steps to Hiring Top Regional Sales Managers
- Educate the entire company that each hire is a million dollar decision and should be treated that way. The cost of making a hiring mistake for this role is 7x first year comp.
- Benchmark your regional sales manager compensation package with that of leading companies. Competition for this position is fierce and you better have a competitive pay package.
- Assess the reporting structure. Top RSMs hate matrixes and care about who they report to.
- Document your sales strategy. Can you explain to a candidate your sales strategy and his role in executing it? Remember, they will be interviewing you while you are interviewing them.
- Create an “A” player score card. Spec out exactly what success in this job looks like.
- Develop a position description. You will need a way to sell this job to candidates.
- Build a list of target companies to hunt in. Do you know which companies to raid that are loaded with this type of talent?
- Build a key candidate list. Do you have the names, mobile numbers, and email addresses of the people inside these companies you are going to go after?
- Determine decision framework. How will you choose between candidate A and candidate B?
- Build custom interview process. How old are your interviewing questions? Do they match your “A” player scorecard?
- Create Fast Start Program. Do you know how you will make those you hire immediately successful?
- Perform Search. What will you say when you get the dream candidate on the telephone?
- Build Short List. After attracting and interviewing dozens, how will you narrow it to a short list?
- Reference Check. Forget the names provided. At least three customers, former bosses, direct reports, and peers.
- Close. Make sure you don’t let the perfect candidate get away.
It is too early to report Bob’s results. However, I wish you could have listened in on the exit interviews we did with the regional sales managers who recently quit. I asked each of them if they felt if these 15 steps would have made a difference. Many said yes, especially steps 2-5. Have you thought through these?
Hiring regional sales managers is critical to making the number. RSMs are the connective tissue between the corporate sales strategy and field execution. It is too essential a task to leave up to recruiting firms, internal recruiters, and/or human resources. Each plays a role but each needs to partner with the VP of Sales in order to be successful.
If you can see yourself in this sales consulting case study, you might want to pick up our book on this subject. Or, if you don’t feel like reading a book, here are some great sales consulting resources specific to the subject of regional sales managers, here, here, and here.