The #1 hiring mistake when hiring a VP sales for the first time
Are you looking for a first or new VP Sales opportunity?
If yes, you absolutely have to listen to this week’s CRO interview, because together with Tom Glason, CEO of Scalewise, we discussed:
(1) whether or not a company is in the stage of needing a VP sales;
(2) the common slip-ups companies make when hiring one, and;
(3) how to nail it when bringing a VP Sales on board.
Therefore, a must-listen if you’re being interviewed for a VP sales role.
Listen to the episode right here, or read along to get our favourite hiring mistake when hiring a VP sales, as explained by Tom.
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This #1 mistake is about timing and understanding what the true role expectation is of a VP of Sales. As Tom explained in our interview:
“VP sales is not someone you hire to get your sales going at a start-up. It’s not someone that you should be hiring a pre-product market fit just because you as a technical founder or a non-commercial founder want to just get rid of that problem and give it to an expert in inverted commerce.”
The mistake often occurs when companies hire a VP of Sales with the expectation that this person will solve all their go-to-market and sales issues.
Not only will this VP of Sales not be able to meet sales expectations, but it will be counterproductive too. This stage requires internal learning and development, which might be hindered by bringing in an external VP of Sales too soon.
“To get to product market fit, there’s a huge amount of learning that needs to happen across the organization… And I think there’s a whole load of internalized learnings that need to happen there.”
Tom listed several conditions that should be met before hiring a VP of Sales:
- Having the capital and market traction to scale a sales team.
- At least two sales representatives showing promising sales yield.
- A functioning demand generation engine to support sales.
- Readiness of the founder or CEO to give autonomy to the VP of Sales.
- Preparedness to scale post-sale support teams.
- Early signs of a repeatable sales process and a resonating value proposition.
If you’re a leader or aspiring sales leader yourself, make sure to challenge the founder and/or CEO with these criteria.
Those are the tough qualification criteria for you to be a successful VP Sales.