Talented sales executives are one of the most valuable commodities in the modern corporate world, and that means that high-performing CSO or VP of Sales can expect to receive regular offers from headhunters and competitors who believe they can offer a better deal. Inevitably, they will sometimes take these offers up, leaving the rest of the organization scrambling to find a new leader for the sales division. 

But how should you go about replacing a sales executive when you don’t have much time? And how can you be sure that the candidate you pick has the skill and experience to lead your sales team? Here are three ways to ensure you can make an executive hiring decision you won’t regret. 

1. Don’t Focus on Replacement 

It may seem counterintuitive to say this, but your focus should not be on replacing the person you just lost. While they may have been a valued member of the leadership team, trying to find someone with the exact blend of charisma, experience, and personality that the previous executive had is a losing proposition. 

Instead, you should see this as an opportunity to reinvigorate your department. Bringing in new leadership is an opportunity to test new ideas and benefit from new perspectives, so don’t get hung up on trying to replicate the same chemistry. 

2. Use an Executive Recruitment Agency

When it comes to hiring someone for a directorial, VP, or C-suite position, putting an ad out on craigslist or Kijiji simply won’t cut it, especially if you’re working to a deadline. Fortunately, you can work with executive recruitment agencies that are specialized in sales and can help you quickly come up with a list of candidates with the relevant experience. 

The main benefit of working with sales recruitment agencies is that many of them offer a value-added approach that identify personal strengths and capabilities related to things like acumen, drive, emotional intelligence, and resilience. 

Using these metrics will help you not only find an executive who understands your industry and can hit the ground running from day one, but who has a personal character suited to the needs of your team and workplace culture. 

3. Don’t Be Afraid of Interim Hiring

Sometimes, the turnaround you are facing is so quick, and the role you are hiring for is so important, that you simply can’t find a candidate you can feel good about hiring for the long term in the time you have. 

While many sales recruitment agencies can connect you with executive talent in a matter of days, if you need more time to feel good about the decision, don’t be afraid of hiring on an interim basis. 

Hiring executives for temporary terms has long been a common practice in the corporate world, so if you want to make absolutely sure that the person you hire long-term is the right individual for the job, consider bringing someone on for six to twelve months while you engage in a more extensive hiring process. 

It’s always disruptive when a key member of the leadership team moves on, especially if they do so with little notice. And while it’s natural for an organization to be a little thrown off at first, it can also be an opportunity for new growth. 

The next time you need to replace a sales executive on a deadline, focus on the positive side and work with a sales recruitment agency to find a replacement who will suit your workplace culture and can lead the sales division to new heights in the coming years.