Leadership

June 15, 2021

More Than A Number

What role am I talking about?

It’s stressful. The tenure’s short. People get in and do everything wrong. You can never escape being looked at solely as a number.

If you guessed VP of Sales you’d be on the money.

It’s a coveted role in any organization but if you think it’s the pinnacle of your sales career and you’re off the hook once you get into it — you couldn’t be more wrong.

It’s hard to know what it truly entails until you dive in, but it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be.

The stress is constant, and you’ll have many different relationships to navigate. You either get all of the blame or (hopefully) all of the praise, but probably more like all the blame and very little praise. You might have no support, no tools, no one else to bounce ideas off of; but at least you’ll have many nights of being woken up with tight deadlines and having to provide support to the rest of the team as you spin every plate to ensure you can make an impact enough to outlast the average tenure. Sounds like fun doesn’t it? Okay, it’s not all bad.

Aside from the negatives, there are innumerable benefits if done well for the right organization.

So, if your goal is to become a VP Sales, there are some things to start thinking about before you get wrapped up in the big check that might come along with it.

Examine your organization. What support do you have? What does your tech stack currently look like? On a personal level, do they understand your need for support mentally and emotionally even outside of the VP Sales role?

All of this matters because you matter — you are more than a number.

How you get support in this role is everything. Being trusted to come in and do what you were hired to do is crucial. You’re there to restructure and fully support the sales org.

Whether you’re stepping in as VP of Sales for the first time or you’ve done it before and want to improve your process, here a few ways you can make sure you come in hot and become successful:

Become an industry and product expert. Show ignorance. Ask questions. The best thing you can do is learn the product and the industry and lean in to being a novice.

Fight the urge to immediately make a contribution. Ease in — I’ve seen failure come quickly by way of the ego showing up too soon and wanting to make an immediate impact. Take advantage of the time in the beginning because Y.O.R.O. (You Only Ramp Once.)

Build a sales process. Don’t settle for what the last person left for you — edit it and audit it. Then go build your own kingdom (unless the previous one in place is amazing.) Take all sales tools in your tech stack into consideration and nail down the basics: what tone will you use to communicate? What will your sequence look like? How many touches will you put on the account every month or every quarter? … Get clear on what you want out of your process.

Aim to simplify.

Build structure.

Be methodical.

These are just a few small ways you can unearth what it takes to make an impact in this role.

If you want to know more of what it takes to be a VP of Sales, I may or may not have written a book about it …

Buy it here.

I hope it helps you feel confident and capable in this role. But if you walk away with one thing, always remember:

You are more than a number.

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