For the last ten years or so, you’ve been working your way through the ranks from individual salesperson to a senior sales management role, and you think you’re ready to take the next step: VP of sales.
But the path to get there isn’t always clear-cut, and people often think they’re ready to be a head of sales long before they’re ready. To help guide you in your dreams of leading a sales organization, we’ve put together five simple steps to catapult you forward on your journey to VP.
5 Steps To Prep for the VP of Sales Role
Demonstrate consistent success.
The first step in moving up to the VP spot is to kick ass at your job as a sales manager. Typically, you’ll have to be successful in your current role for several years. Just like you had to be a steadily high-achieving quota person for a few years before you became a sales manager, you’ll need to show that you can lead an entire team of quota-carrying reps to success.
Empower your peers.
Another important step to take is play the part: Be a leader to your peers. Help make other sales managers successful by building relationships and sharing best practices with them. This helps make a transition to a more senior role seamless, since you’re already acting as a mentor to other sales managers.
Build great relationships.
While being a sales manager means your peers are other sales managers, being a VP of sales means your peers will be in other disciplines. Start building relationships with other department heads — marketing, product, customer success — and make sure your salespeople work well with members of those other departments, too. Part of your job as the VP of sales will be to collaborate with these other VPs, which requires strong relationships. If you become the person that these people trust and rely on, you’ll be their recommendation for the role when it opens up.
Be multi-disciplinary savvy.
Another reason why building those relationships is so important is that you’ll learn how other parts of the company work. You need to start understanding all the moving parts of the business. Take the time to fully comprehend how the product and its development works, what the main struggles for the customer success team are and what marketing could really use from the sales teams. Be genuinely caring and interested in helping other people out, because they will notice.
Communicate career aspirations.
Finally, be open and honest about your career goals. Tell your direct supervisor or VP of sales that you’d love to make your way up to a vp of sales role, whether it’s at your current company or another. Have a candid discussion and asking for coaching on how to get there. Who does your current VP of sales report to? Build a relationship with that person, too, and communicate your desire to someday be in that role. Get on the radar for that, and even bring new ideas to the table when appropriate.
Use these five steps as a framework on your mission of becoming a VP, and don’t forget to grab your copy of this free guide: