4 Interview Questions to Ask a Prospective Sales Director

Your sales director sets the tone for your entire sales organization. The sales director’s choices drive who you hire, how your brand is represented and, ultimately, whether the lifeblood of new business flows into your organization. Hiring for this position is critical. While a successful track record in sales is an important part of the equation, it’s also key to ask the right questions to understand organizational fit and how his or her approach to sales aligns with your company’s goals.

Here are four questions that can provide helpful insights during the hiring process.

Describe the sales reps you’d hire here. By asking this question, you get deep and immediate insights into two things. First, how well does the sales director’s vision of what it takes to succeed at your company align with the business’s existing vision? A gap doesn’t necessarily mean something negative. In fact, the candidate might have a broad vision for success that upgrades team performance. However, it may also be a critical red flag. Second, the candidate’s answers to this question show you what types of people he or she values, as well as how he or she thinks about building teams and positioning leadership.

How do you motivate your teams? It doesn’t just matter how sales directors hire their teams. You also need insights about how they motivate and manage their teams on a day-by-day basis. Explore this issue in depth. Take the time to understand their overall philosophy, as well as how they interact with different types of employees. For example, what steps would the prospective manager take to motivate their most successful sales reps? How would they approach underperformers to help them achieve their highest potential? A sales director must have the ability to motivate a diverse team in order to achieve success.

What motivates you? At the same time, it is critical to understand what motivates your prospective sales director. For many sales professionals, money and the thrill of closing difficult deals are primary motivators. However, the best sales directors are motivated by leadership opportunities, solving difficult challenges, and bringing exceptional service and solutions to customers. Look for the right mix of these secondary motivators to fit your customer profile and organizational culture.

What’s your relationship with technology and data? If today’s sales teams are powered by two things, they are data and technology. While the sales director may have individuals working for him or her who handle the day-to-day analytics and technology administration, it’s important to understand his or her philosophy on leveraging these tools to achieve maximum results. Look for a sales director who is comfortable with a wide range of technology and encourages the team to adopt new innovations that can increase productivity and results. At the same time, an innovative approach that values data-driven leadership will position your sales team to thrive in an increasingly competitive environment.

Hiring the right sales director lays the foundation for the success of your entire sales team. Yet uncovering the right mix of talents requires digging deep during the interview process to understand their philosophies on teambuilding and management, motivation, and how they embrace data and technology. Ask the right questions to identify the talent you need to lead your sales department to success this year and beyond.

In tomorrow’s Advisor, we’ll take a closer look at how to help make your new sales director’s first week a success by setting up the right meetings.