Building a World-Class Sales Organization

By Rick Cassidy

Looking Beyond the Resume

When it comes to talent management, identifying exceptional candidates for a sales management or leadership position can be challenging — after all, resumes rarely tell the whole story about what a candidate can bring to your organization.

Build Your Winning Team by Starting with the Right Leader

The relationship between the right leader and a successful organization has been well-proven both in the healthcare sector and beyond. Recruiting and retaining the ideal candidate isn’t just about creating a strong C-suite team, it’s the foundation on which your entire company is built.

Just like every great sports team is led by a legendary coach, world-class sales organizations require top-tier executives who have the skills, experience, and aptitude to motivate, inspire, and build a winning team.

Common Traits of Uncommonly Great Sales Management Leaders

While every successful executive is unique, our executive search team has identified a number of unique (and essential) traits that are the hallmark of a strong, growth-orientated leader:

They Have Vision

Great leaders have an uncanny ability to see exactly where they want their organization to go, and they use that vision to chart a path toward success. This is one of those rare qualities that can’t be taught, and it’s one of the things that distinguishes leaders from sales managers.

Simply put, executives with vision are great at strategic planning, while a team of strong managers is skilled in the execution of the plan.

They Have Sales Intuition & Experience

According to Steve W. Martin, a writer with the Harvard Business Review and instructor at the USC Marshall School of Business, a key talent management strategy is sourcing candidates who have “sales intuition.”

Martin asserts that since “sales is a mentorship-based profession…a key differentiator of great sales leaders is their ability to dispense tactical sales advice” to their team. His research confirms that “the practical knowledge gained from the experiences of participating in sales cycles and managing salespeople is directly associated with their success.”

People Want to Work with Them

“Look for sales leaders who people will fight to work with… it’s crucial for them (the leader) to be a talent magnet that can recruit the very best,” says Mike Wolff, SVP of Commercial Sales at Salesforce.

Wolff believes that these ‘talent magnet executives’ are those who put the success of their organization first — ahead of their own personal success — which is critical when building a world-class sales organization.

Your executive search firm should seek out candidates who have the skills, aptitudes, and emotional intelligence needed to motivate people, inspire positive growth, and build the framework that’s needed to achieve success in today’s dynamic and competitive markets.

Performance Management System and Philosophy

This is the key denominator in world-class sales organizations. The Sky Search Partners team has found similarities across finely tuned sales organizations when they adopt a performance management philosophy, mindset, and systems that echo “The Pyramid of Success” by John R. Wooden, Head Basketball Coach Emeritus at UCLA.  This approach integrates a cycle of activities that calibrate the corporate vision with the annual operation plan, which then cascades down and across a sales team and organization to align all the moving pieces.

Elements of a performance management system start with the company’s strategic vision at the top of the pyramid, followed by the annual operating plan (in the form of sales targets, budgets, or quotas) across the sales management team.  These, in turn,  are integrated and cascaded into a well-developed set of sales job descriptions that spell out clearly, the job responsibilities followed by both performance and minimum production standards.

  • A performance standard should describe what exactly is expected and what it looks like when done properly.
  • Minimum production standards are simple and clear, setting the threshold criteria for staying on the team.

This sets expectations clearly from the get-go and enables a sales team and their leader to be on the same page for priorities and objectives, leaving no room for misunderstandings. The effective use of a minimum production standard also assists salespeople to self-regulate their performance and results against what is expected. When done properly, it’s readily apparent if the team or specific individual is being successful.

Develop A Strong Management Team

While the top-down approach to building a world-class sales organization is a good starting point, an effective talent management strategy includes the development of a solid sales management team.

Maren Hogan, Leader of Red Branch Media and Forbes CommunityVoice contributor, writes that “good managers are difficult to find in the corporate woodwork”, but the key is to “know which qualities will make great managers and which qualities can spell disaster in a leadership position.”

According to Hogan, talent management teams should seek out management candidates who embrace the corporate culture, have a positive attitude, and are able to remain focused. Other desirable qualities include honesty, high emotional intelligence, and an ability to “foster a culture of accountability.” Lastly, Hogan advocates seeking out managers who are effective decision makers who can quickly set goals and achieve optimal results.

The Right Executive + Strong Healthcare Sales Management = World-Class Results

Recruiting a strong, sales-orientated leader can require looking beyond traditional recruitment channels, whether that means employing a confidential search for candidates or acting quickly to fill a void left during a restructuring process.

Let's Talk

Schedule your 15-minute, no-obligation strategy call and we'll share at least 3 proven tips for finding the best talent match for your team.

About Sky Search Partners

Rick Cassidy, Sky Search Partners president, founded the firm for one primary reason: We love putting people to work. Sky Search Partners has developed a rigorous platform for engaging, researching, and connecting with the most successful executive talent. The firm executes with a laser focus on to identify candidates precisely aligned to search specifications. A proven formula of integrity and “people first” enables it to build trusted relationships with organizations and top-tier talent across key disciplines, job titles, national markets, and industry classes. This enables client organizations to create their “dream team,” especially in highly competitive environments where results are imperative.

Listen Now to Talent Talk Radio Show

Listen now to Sky Search Partners President, Rick Cassidy, as he talks about finding the right talent for new consumer-centric strategies in healthcare.

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