19 Jul 2013

The 3 Worst Mistakes In Recruiting A Director of Lead Generation or Inside Sales

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Bad-Hire-Image-2Recruiting the Director of your Lead Generation Team or your Inside Sales Team is a very critical and difficult process. This Director will manage the group that builds your critical sales pipeline and Inside Sales revenue channel. Below are the 3 worst mistakes we’ve seen companies make in hiring this Director. Unfortunately, if you make any one of these mistakes, the Lead Generation Team or Inside Sales Team will very likely be underdeveloped, be under quota, and may ultimately be disbanded for lack of performance and ROI. Please do not make these same recruiting mistakes that other companies have made.


1. Don’t Hire A Field Sales Rep Or A Field Sales Manager To Become The Director

Don’t recruit candidates from the field sales force unless the candidates have successfully built or managed a Lead Generation Team or Inside Sales Team in his/her past career. Building and running a Lead Generation Team or Inside Sales Team takes a very different skill set and knowledge set than the skill set developed in the field. A Director of the Lead Generation Team or Inside Sales Team focuses on:

  1. Discussions with marketing to ensure the right volume and quality of inbound leads
  2. Careful lead management of these inbound leads
  3. Securing the best lists for proactive, outbound, cold-calling to target accounts
  4. Ensuring inside  reps are completing the right volume of activity for emailing, calling, social networking, research, use of LinkedIn
  5. Thorough use of CRM systems, Marketing automation systems, and auto-dialers
  6. Integration with the field sales counterparts
  7. Writing playbooks
  8. Developing reports and dashboards
  9. Constant training with much call monitoring, taping, and rollplays.

A Field Sales Rep or Manager will not easily know about or gravitate to these tasks and skills, so it is best not to recruit them.


Don’t Recruit Someone Who Materially Disparages Marketing or The Sales Force.

During your interview process and reference checking, work hard to uncover whether the candidate disparages marketing or the sales force from his prior jobs. This would be bad.

  1. Relationship with Marketing: One of the most critical parts of the job of the Director is to build very close relationships with Marketing. Marketing provides “oxygen” to the Lead Generation or Inside Sales Team in the form of inbound leads, cold-calling lists, target account lists, messaging, content, and marketing automation. The Director needs to ensure he/she builds a strong relationship with Marketing to get his/her job done.
  2. Relationship with Sales: Also, the Director must build very strong relationships with his/her customers – the sales organization. The Director must build these strong bridges in order to ensure proper and timely handoff of qualified leads, and in order to integrate the inside selling activity with the field organization.
  3. You, The Hiring Manager: So you, as the hiring manager, should proactively try to discover whether there are any hidden objections or disparagement in this candidate’s mind from his/her past experiences that would prevent him/her from sincerely building these important bridges between his team and the Marketing and Sales Teams.


Don’t Recruit and Hire Based On Your Wishful Thinking

This issue of Wishful Thinking for the Director is the same issue we discussed in an earlier post regarding recruiting sales reps.  Wishful thinking is when your weariness, lack of energy and impatience cloud your better judgment. We have all experienced this before — Sure, this candidate has struggled at other companies and hasn’t had stellar success, but:

  1. He/she had good reasons for leaving and his/her references were great
  2. You’ve been recruiting to fill this position for a long time
  3. You’re tired of recruiting
  4. You need to get this headcount filled
  5. He/she “seems” like he/she can grow into the position
  6. You can always train a good candidate once you get them on board.
  7. He/she may be a buddy, or may be a referral from a buddy
  8. You may like his/her personality or aggressiveness

Hiring this candidate is a recipe for disaster.

Don’t recruit  a Director just because you are hopeful or wishful that he/she will be successful. Don’t make excuses for candidates, and don’t give in too early. You’ll be better off prolonging your search and holding out for the right candidate. Your pipeline, your revenue goals, your boss, and your career will thank you for it!



Recruiting the wrong candidate to build or improve your Lead Generation Team or your Inside Sales Team can set your pipeline and your revenue generation back a year. The 3 worst mistakes you can make are recruiting a field sales rep or field manager with no prior inside sales management experience, recruiting someone who cannot build strong relationships with marketing and sales, or recruiting because of your wishful thinking. Being conscious of and avoiding these 3 mistakes will help ensure you do not “misfire” on this critical hire.




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