The sales manager is the most important position in the salesforce. They drive the revenue you need from their sales reps.  Unfortunately though, most Sales VPs miss an important component when hiring them. To be really successful, they have to fit in your culture.  These successful VPs have figured out how to look for this in new hires.  Fitting into your company’s culture is one of the biggest drivers of a success.


Let’s first define culture:


Webster’s defines culture asway of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization (such as a business).”


SBI definition:  “A Sales Culture encompasses specific beliefs and behaviors that becomes a motivator of success. When integrated into the organization, it becomes the key contributor to long term results.  It affects all sales people and revolutionizes the organization’s ability to connect.  Connect with prospects, customers, and partners in a meaningful way.


You spend a lot of time hiring outside sales managers. You understand their background, successes and failures.  You test their ability in interviews.  You ask for referrals to ‘check’ outside assurance.  Yet most don’t make it past 19 months.  And it takes 9 weeks on average to hire one as well.  This can be extremely frustrating. Is it a ‘cultural fit’?   How do you test for one?


Download our Culture Awareness Test.  It will enable you to tell if any sales candidate will make this fit.


Testing for a cultural fit needs to be in your hiring process.  Successful Sales VPs answer these 3 major questions to determine a cultural fit:


1.  Is this candidate a Theorist or Problem Solver?  


a.  Theorists:  They work well in big companies with cultures that advocate process.   These organizations have resources (a.k.a. sales enablement people) that can make theory into reality. They lob ideas that other people try and figure out how to implement.

b.  Problem Solvers:  These people work best in cultures that have to get stuff accomplished. Usually in smaller companies, they figure out how to ‘get er done.’ But they are not big on process or even documenting how they did it.  In fact, they hate it.


2.  Are they Fun or Boring?


a.  Fun:  These candidates seem to be what everyone wants.  Yet they don’t fit into everyone’s culture.  Can you imagine a ‘fun’ person working in a stuffy, 50 year old sales team? It would be a cultural nightmare.  Fun people tend to be non-traditional and whimsical.

b.  Boring:  Dull sales managers are golden to process driven sales teams.  You might think no one wants a sales manager who is boring.  But I know numerous ‘boring’ sales managers who execute the process flawlessly.  They have low turnover, high win rates and make the number consecutively.


3.  Is this person Creative or Process Focused?


a.  Creative:  These sales managers take creative liberties to engage customers and win deals.  Most often in ‘chaotic’ sales teams, creativity thrives to get results in these environments.  They avoid process by improvising with experience and intelligence.

b.  Process Focused:  Process focused SMs excel when they follow the daily process.  In fact, these SMs are lost without it. They are excellent in executing the prescribed ‘plays’.  This results in very successful revenue growth and more profitability.  


Many times in a hiring process you have a couple candidates who are equal.  Both bring experience, intelligence and success to the table.  But be careful to choose the one who will be the best cultural fit.  Your long term success improves with someone who fits in the culture.


Do These Four Things Now to Get the Best Candidate:

    • What type of person are they?
    • Why do they fit in our culture?
    • What kind of sales reps do they attract?
    • How have they contributed to the culture?Find the best sales manager in your company today and answer these questions:


  1. Identify your Sales Culture.  Download the Culture Assessment to start.
  2. Sign up for our Annual Research Workshop “How to Make the Number in 2016.” It deep dives on how prepared your sales strategy is to Make the Number.  The way you hire, develop and promote sales managers affects your sales strategy.
  3. Put this into your Hiring Process ASAP.  Ask yourself the three questions above to understand if your candidate fits.  Don’t fit a round peg in a square hole.


How many of your current employees are a culture mis—fit?  Put them through the Cultural Awareness Test.  Fitting inside the culture is proven to get better results.  Finding out now they don’t fit allows you to replace them Culture_Awareness_Test1on your terms.  Because if you lose your sales managers, you won’t Make the Number.