How to hire a Sales Director

Hiring the right Sales Director is one of the most important decisions a company can make. The sales director is responsible for leading the entire sales team and driving revenue growth for the organisation. With so much riding on this hire, it’s critical to have a comprehensive and effective hiring process in place. Here are some key considerations when hiring for this crucial role:

How to hire a sales director

Define the Role Clearly

Before you can find the right candidate, you need to have a clear understanding of what the role entails. What specific responsibilities will the sales director own? What goals and targets will they be accountable for? What skills and experience are must-haves versus nice-to-haves? Spend time mapping out a detailed job description that captures all the duties, requirements, and expectations of the position.

Look for Proven Track Record 

When hiring for a senior sales leadership role, looking at a candidate’s track record of success is paramount. Have they consistently met or exceeded sales targets throughout their career? Do they have experience leading and motivating high-performing sales teams? Can they point to specific initiatives they’ve driven that have generated revenue growth? An impressive history of measurable achievements in sales environments similar to yours should be the baseline.

Assess Sales Expertise 

Look for a sales director candidate with deep experience and expertise across all facets of the sales cycle. They should have mastery of areas like pipeline management, forecasting, running discovery calls, negotiating deals, and nurturing client relationships. The best sales directors breathe life into stale pipelines and can identify and capitalise on new revenue opportunities.

Evaluate Cultural Fit 

While skills and experience are crucial, finding a sales director who aligns with your company’s culture is also vital. They will be a leader who sets the tone for your entire sales organisation. Look for candidates whose motivations, work style, and values mesh well with your company’s ways of operating. A culture clash in such a pivotal role could be disastrous.

Use Psychometric Assessments 

Many companies are now turning to psychometric assessments as a way to make better, more data-driven hiring decisions — particularly for leadership roles like sales director. These validated assessments can shed light on a candidate’s cognitive ability, personality traits, behavioural tendencies, and potential for success in the role. For example, you may want to assess a sales director candidate’s strengths in areas like data analysis, decision making, resilience, and persuasion through an assessment tool.

Psychometric assessments can be especially useful for evaluating characteristics related to leadership ability, emotional intelligence, and cultural fit – factors that are difficult to discern from a candidate’s resume or experience alone. By incorporating assessment data into your hiring process, you can gain deeper, objective insights that allow you to hire the best possible sales director for your needs.

Bring in Cross-Functional Interviewers 

Given how cross-functionally the sales director role touches other teams like marketing, product, finance, etc., it can be valuable to include interviewers from these other departments in your hiring process. They can provide a valuable outside perspective and assess how well a candidate may integrate and collaborate across teams. The sales director will need to be able to operate cross-functionally, so ensure you’re testing for those abilities.

Put Them Through Real-World Scenarios 

In addition to interviews, consider putting your final sales director candidates through tests that simulate the actual work they’d be doing. For instance, have them conduct a mock sales presentation, analyse a dataset and present their insights, or share how they would build out a sales strategy for a particular product or service offering. Their ability to “show” their capabilities instead of just talking about them can provide a great signal during the hiring process.

Check References 

Before making an offer to a sales director candidate, be diligent about checking references and doing other verification of their background and work history. Speaking directly to former managers, employees, customers, or other professional contacts can provide valuable confirmation of a candidate’s qualifications and fit for the role. Don’t skip this crucial step!

The sales director plays such a pivotal leadership role that hiring the perfect fit is essential. By defining clear criteria, assessing against those factors through interviews and other activities, verifying backgrounds thoroughly, and leveraging tools like psychometric assessments, you can confidently select a sales director capable of driving your sales to new heights.


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