Skills Your Head of Sales Needs Today

Talented sales directors are limited resources, and finding suitable candidates is essential to the health of any company—especially within luxury.

 

To elevate your luxury or premium brand to the next level, you’ll need to put your trust in a competent Head of Sales. Wholesale channels, whether major Department Stores or Independent Retailers, have proven to be more vexing now than ever before. The Head of Sales often acts as your ship’s captain, steering your field sales team and, by extension, your company in the right direction toward growth in its B2B channel. They have several responsibilities, such as leading a sales team, downward communication and creating and supervising sales strategies.

Talented sales directors are limited resources, and finding suitable candidates is essential to the health of any company—especially within luxury.

Hard Skills

Ability to Generate Leads and Close Customers

Generating leads and closing sales are indicators of success and powerful skills, often determining how a sales leader’s performance is judged.

Understanding sales funnels, planning the customer journey, refining it and testing it constantly demonstrates a great director. Here are some hard data and stats to look out for:

· Leads generated
· Leads closed
· Repeat Accounts
· Profits generated
· Revenue generated

Data Production and Analysis

Your Head of Sales should be able to work with numbers, and it’s crucial that they understand what the numbers are, what they mean and how to produce them in a clear and digestible manner. More than understanding sales, your director of sales should be able to interpret between the lines and identify potential problems. While numbers don’t lie, they can certainly be misleading.

Software Competencies

Always pay attention to the scope of software skills a sales leader has and how competent they are across each. Your leader should have competencies with several CRM, CMS, automation, email marketing, order management and additional platforms. For example, CRM or Customer Relationship Management, has become particularly important in the last few years. Sales directors that can leverage CRM platforms are more likely to excel at all levels within the organization, creating steady pipelines and funnels combined with workflows and automation to capture, support and resolve sales.

Soft Skills

Leadership

Successfully overseeing the sales channel requires incredible leadership and management skills, which are arguably two of the most critical soft skills. A true leader will have to make tough decisions that are right for the business, like knowing when to let go of underperforming account managers or deciding which accounts will be the most efficient and effective.

Along with decision-making, a head of sales that will focus on the growth of the business will have to be able to take calculated risks when necessary. Salespeople are naturally ambitious employees, constantly exploring new ideas, technology and avenues to increase sales.

As leaders, sales leaders must also ensure their teams are motivated. There will be times when they hit all their targets and other times when they can’t generate or convert leads. It can be easy for sales directors to point blame when sales fall, never looking at the root of the problem. You want to hire strong leaders who not only take responsibility for the team and solve issues but also aren’t afraid to analyze processes to improve sales team capabilities.

You can determine how strong your head of sales is through leadership skills like:

· Employee empowerment
· Delegation
· Passion
· Commercial knowledge
· Mentoring

Communication

Communication. We know it sounds cliché, but it cannot be stressed enough. Any director should be a master of communication. Daily, they communicate with sales and marketing managers, their managing director or CEO, other C-suite executives, customers, PR agencies and news corporations.

Your sales director should be able to communicate through internal and external channels, along with adapting their communication style to support the business.

Teamwork

While teamwork goes hand-in-hand with leadership and communication, every sales leader should understand the importance of conflict management and resolution to navigate through disagreements and conversations that often arise in sales and marketing. A sales leader should be able to smooth friction between departments while convincing them to work better together seamlessly.

The Head of Sales can’t operate in a silo, concentrating only on their channel’s revenue. All decisions must filter through the lens of “what is best for our brand and company?” as Wholesale, Retail and E-Commerce all contribute to the overall success of a brand and must work together as a cohesive team.

Qualifications

Sales and marketing are an ever-changing landscape. What worked ten or even five years ago may be obsolete now. When looking for a Head of Sales, certain qualifications can make them stand out from a flood of resumes.

At a higher executive level, there are typically two paths we see. There are qualified individuals who have started an apprenticeship in marketing, sales or customer service and have steadily climbed the corporate ladder. And there are those who took the higher education route, attaining BA’s and MA’s in marketing as well as media studies, psychology, journalism and similar degrees related specifically to the luxury and premium retail industries. Regardless of the route chosen, your potential sales director should show a commitment to self-progression and learning.


The Bowerman Group finds dedicated and passionate sales talent that is the right match for your luxury company’s culture. If you need assistance searching for sales talent or a head of sales, reach out and start a conversation with a recruiter today.