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Navigating the Recruitment Landscape as a Sales Leader

5 minute read

By Phil Hobden, Head of Growth and Strategy at Know-it

As sales leaders, our experience speaks volumes and the strategic decisions we make can shape the future of an organisation. With over 15 years of navigating the intricate paths of sales, particularly within the dynamic SME sector, I recognise the critical importance of assembling a high-performing team.

But ironically, the one part of a role I find the hardest is recruitment.

So, if you are like me, I’ve assembled a comprehensive guide to help you build a formidable sales force capable of driving sustained growth.


In the ever-evolving sales landscape, seek candidates with a robust understanding of the overall business environment. Look for individuals who not only stay informed about current market trends but also display a knack for adapting to emerging technologies. The ability to swiftly comprehend and communicate the value of intricate business solutions is a hallmark of a seasoned sales professional.


A successful track record in consultative selling is a key indicator of a candidate's potential impact. Prioritise those who can deeply understand client pain points, offer tailored solutions, and cultivate long-term relationships. Past successes in selling within the SME sector showcase the ability to navigate the intricacies of diverse business challenges.


Given the increasing reliance on technology, prioritise candidates with a strong tech-savvy profile. Proficiency in leveraging digital tools and platforms not only streamlines onboarding processes but also ensures effective navigation of the digital landscape, a critical aspect in today's sales arena.


In sales, the ability to make data-driven decisions is paramount. Seek candidates with strong analytical skills, capable of interpreting data, identifying trends, and utilising insights to shape effective sales strategies. This skill set positions the sales team for success in a data-rich environment.


Effective communication lies at the core of successful sales strategies. Look for candidates who can articulate complex ideas clearly and concisely. Strong writing skills are equally crucial, especially in crafting compelling proposals and emails essential for engaging SME clients.


Building a cohesive sales team necessitates individuals who excel at collaboration. Prioritise candidates with experience working seamlessly within cross-functional teams, recognising that success in SME sales often hinges on effective coordination between sales, product development, and customer support.


A non-negotiable quality is a customer-centric mindset. Seek candidates who place a high value on understanding and meeting the unique needs of SME clients. Those who perceive each interaction as an opportunity to provide value and foster long-term partnerships are poised for success in this client-focused industry.


The sales environment can be fast-paced and subject to rapid changes. Look for candidates who demonstrate resilience in the face of challenges and an ability to adapt to evolving market conditions. A positive and solution-oriented mindset is the cornerstone of navigating the SME landscape.


Given the regulatory landscape within SME operations, recruiting individuals with a strong sense of ethical standards is imperative. Look for candidates who are not only aware of compliance requirements but also emphasise ethical conduct in their sales practices, ensuring the reputation and integrity of the organisation.


Recognising that SME dynamics are ever-evolving, seek candidates with a passion for continuous learning. Whether through pursuing certifications, attending industry conferences, or staying engaged with relevant publications, a commitment to staying abreast of SME industry developments signals a forward-thinking professional.

In conclusion, by prioritising these key attributes, managers can assemble a high-calibre team capable of navigating the complexities of the sales landscape (whatever your industry) and driving sustainable growth.

Here's to building not just a sales team but a force that shapes the future of your business’ success.



Phil has spent over 15 years in financial services & the Fintech accountancy sectors, working for some of the most innovative businesses in these industries, including Intuit, NatWest Banking Group and Wolters Kluwer.  Phil is now the Head of Strategy & Growth for credit management fintech platform Know-It. Know-it is a platform that enables a business to effectively manage all their credit processes, to mitigate risk and to get a better understanding of their customers. 

Phil is a business and strategy contributor for Elite Business Magazine online, a featured writer for Engage Sales, a serial podcast host including his latest project ‘The Story of’, judge for UK Business Tech awards & the Global Tech awards across 2021 to now , a public speaker (having spoken at Elite Business Live x3, Accountex x3, Accountex North, QuickBooks Get Connected, Customer Engagement Transformation Conference and more) and has guested on numerous industry podcasts and industry webinars including with the ACCA, Accounting Influencers, Humanise The Numbers, Advance Track and others.  

Phil has worked with partners, practice owners, accountants and bookkeepers in the UK, South Africa and beyond, from Top 5 through to leading niche and boutique firms, helping them implement new technology, change processes and launch new service lines to better support their own practices and as well as their SMB clients. 

Connect with him on LinkedIn here: 

For more on Know-It, visit 

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