Hiring Sales Managers That Are A Perfect Fit

Above view of young consultant shaking hands with customer.jpegIn my years of coaching and consulting I have found one similarity when it comes to hiring sales managers. Often times, when the opening for a sales manager occurs, many automatically assume that the most successful sales rep is the best choice for the promotion. However, this is often a poor choice. Here’s why.

Sales managers are a rather complex breed. They must possess many of the attributes of sales representatives while, at the same time, possessing the attributes of a department head or executive. Considering that many of these are opposite characteristics, your job in hiring and placing a sales manager may be more difficult than you first thought.

Let’s look at a few of the qualifications most sales managers must have, and then we’ll use the DISC Behavioral Model to determine what would make a “perfect fit”.

Most often, sales managers are responsible for:

  • Developing goals for sales representatives and established account representation for sales territories
  • Establishing and maintaining client relationships and programs
  • Initiating and coordinating development of action plans to penetrate new markets
  • Evaluating sales performance and giving feedback consistently, regularly and in a timely manner based upon observed examples of sales representatives performance and behavior
  • Ensuring support for sales representatives via field rides, team meetings, and 1-on-1 conferences
  • Monitoring sales team performance and communicating results to individuals, teams, and the district
  • Ensuring that the company’s policies and procedures are communicated and implemented

That’s a lot to ask of one person. A sales manager must be analytical but creative… quality conscious but people-oriented. A bundle of contradictions!

The DISC Behavioral Model can offer exceptional insights into the behavioral styles that would help a person to accomplish all the requirements of this position. According to the DISC, a combination of Influence and Dominance behavioral traits would work best. Therefore your applicant must be:

  • socially and verbally aggressive
  • optimistic
  • good persuaders
  • visionaries of the big picture
  • people-oriented
  • team-oriented


  • problem solvers
  • results-driven
  • positive
  • powerful and authoritative
  • lovers of a challenge

When you combine the two core styles of Influence and Dominance you come up with a person who can sell, support others as they sell, define solutions for selling, motivate and push salespeople, work with individuals or teams, seek out new opportunities, set and accomplish goals, and portray the power and authority to handle managerial tasks as needed.

Be careful! While a person with a singular, strong core style in Dominance might be considered for a sales manager’s position; it is important to note that, without the addition of high Influence, they might appear overbearing, controlling and domineering. These attributes would certainly have an opposite effect and diminish the sales team rather than enhance it.

Using the DISC Model, you can find a person with the proper balance of Influence and Dominance. Something that is extremely important for the success of the sales department and your business as a whole.

Kathi Graham-Leviss is Certified Coach and Behavioral Analyst who assists companies with defining and developing their salespeople, sales departments and sales practices. Visit XB Consulting’s website for additional information on sales workshops and DISC Behavioral Assessments.