4 Steps to Sniff Out a Sales Leadership Hiring Mistake


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Hiring leadership talent is incredibly difficult.  Sales has become more scientific, yet many Executives still leave hiring leadership to feel.  Or even worse, 3rd party recruiters that don’t know their sales org.  Even with the best process, some silver tongue bad hires still make it through.  This post is about spotting leadership hiring mistakes quickly. 


You have a sales strategy.  You have invested in new processes to make the team more effective. Yet, your recently hired regional leaders are struggling to drive execution in the field.  You were involved in hiring them, so you are vested in their success.

Allowing poor leadership to exist in your organization will have widespread effects.  Poor leadership will hire the wrong talent.  They will not set expectations properly.  Ultimately, hiring the wrong leader can set back a region for years. 

Concerned you recently made a leadership hiring mistake? The Mishire Sniff Test will provide clarity.  The tool will help you pinpoint why the new leader is failing.  Use it to determine if you should continue to invest or cut ties.

Mishire Sniff Test

Deep down you aren’t sure you have hired the right leaders. 

What are your options?

  1. Invest more and hope they turn the corner

  2. Cut ties now

  3. Give them more time

What is the right answer?  As the Head of Sales, your time is incredibly valuable.  The opportunity cost of keeping the wrong leader in the role is immense.  The decision will impact this year and next at a minimum.

Is the Leader a Mishire?

1. Expectations

The 1st thing you need to do is look in the mirror.  Have you provided clear expectations multiple times?  Assuming your new leaders know what is expected could be the problem. Use TSWRM to ensure expectations are clear and executed properly.  TSWRM – Tell them, Show them, Watch them, Retrain, and Manage.  If you skip any steps, you can’t validate your team understands expectations.  Don’t stop at “Tell them” and assume they know how to execute.

2. Measurement

Next, you need to measure the right metrics.  Behaviors and leading indicators.  Using lagging indicators to measure a new hire’s productivity is a mistake.  Look at the behaviors the new hire has full control over.  Are their behaviors in line with your expectations?

Then look at leading indicators.  These will help you determine if the behaviors are being performed effectively.  Some new hires are just going through the motions to please you. The top leader behaviors and leading metrics are in the Mishire Sniff Test tool.

3. Capability

Think back to the hiring process and ask yourself these questions:

  • Did we make the easy hire?
    • Did you seek them out?  Or were they unemployed or running from their current job?  Hiring leaders that aren’t looking for something new has a better success rate.
  • Did I hire based on their past experience and gut feel?
  • Did I hire them mainly because I like them or they are similar to me?
  • Were they hired based on the competencies they demonstrated? 

These questions are a good way to test your current sourcing and hiring process.

4. Time

Time management can be a killer in a new role.  As a leader, it is your job to provide direction and focus.  Do you really know where they are spending their time?  Have you observed them?  Set a cadence to do coaching and visit them.  Have them track their time and review it in weekly meetings.  Look for opportunities to make admin time more efficient.  Make hiring, training, coaching, and development time more effective. 

Running a sales org is incredibly difficult.  The difference between success and failure comes down to two things.  Talent and performance conditions.  Without the right leadership even the best performance conditions will produce average results.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Scott Gruher
Scott has extensive experience helping B2B Sales and Marketing Leaders Make the Number. Gruher has helped companies such as Yahoo, GXS, Ryder Systems, Conoco Phillips, Expeditors International, Genesys Telocommunications and Caliber Collision Centers accelerate their growth by leveraging the benchmarking method.


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