4 Things to Look for in a Sales Executive


The most successful sales teams in the corporate world all have one thing in common: outstanding leadership.

Without a strong, sensitive executive at the top to direct strategy and equip sales directors, managers, and associates to exceed expectations, even the best personnel will be unable to realize ambitious goals for growth.

Finding a sales executive with the right mix of experience, skill, and aptitude isn’t easy, though, and it often means looking beyond the basic qualifications. If you want a Chief Sales Officer or VP of Sales who has what it takes to deliver results even in the most trying circumstances, here are four things you should look for when hiring.

1) Inspiring Leadership

Sales executives have a difficult task. In addition to handling big-picture questions around how their department can turn marketing ideas into concrete sales pitches, they also need to be able to inspire their team to push on even when the going is tough.

An inspiring leader brings the best out of their entire team, energizing employees who are struggling and giving everyone a reason to put in a hundred percent every day of the week.

2) Active Listening

A good leader isn’t just charismatic, though — it is also important that they be able to empathize with and respond to the needs of their team, and this requires active listening skills.

One of the challenges in hiring sales executives is that it can be quite hard to figure out whether a candidate has a soft skill like active listening based on a resumé and interview alone, which is why many industry leaders use executive recruiting firms like Sales Talent Agency that use sophisticated software and sales-specific tests to connect companies with top executive candidates who have the personal qualities they are looking for.

3) Emotional Intelligence

Anyone who has sales experience knows, it can be a very difficult work environment. With so much riding on every call, reps are often high-strung and competitive, and during times of stress a sales department can be an emotional minefield.

That’s why it is so important for sales executives to have the emotional intelligence necessary to work with driven individuals and handle interpersonal tension while advancing the department’s goals.

4) Adaptability

Things rarely go according to plan in the world of sales, and now more than ever it is important for sales leaders to be able to adapt to changing circumstances. Whether responding to the sudden loss of a client or managing a team that is suddenly working remotely, successful executives know how to roll with the punches.

There is often something compelling but ineffable about the most successful sales executives, a kind of “x-factor” that is the key to their success. This sense of personal charm is often produced by a variety of secondary qualities — the ability to listen, confident decision making, sensitivity to the feelings of others, and flexibility in the face of challenges.

Getting an executive who has these qualities on your team can transform even the most moribund sales department, so don’t leave the hiring process up to chance: work with executive recruiters who can help you identify the best sales leads for your company.


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