July 10, 2019
By Ryan Moore, Director of Client Management, Peak Sales Recruiting
When it’s time to hire a VP of sales, there are a few common attributes you’re probably quick to look for. You know, things like experience hitting revenue goals, knowledge about a product or industry, and the ability to successfully lead a team of reps come to mind. But how much are you considering factors like a new hire’s existing network?
Not every business can boast the brand recognition of Apple or Nike, and every product isn’t going to have the sizzle of a Marc Jacobs bag or the latest Lexus model. But there are still plenty of ways you can generate buzz, build a strong foundation and create a reliable, engaged network for relationship marketing and sales growth. Of course, the reality is that a lot of this starts with who you hire.
At Peak Sales Recruiting, we know firsthand that a poor sales VP hire is expensive — not just in lost revenue and time, but in overall morale and direction, too.
If you’re expanding into new territories, consider these four reasons for filling your VP of sales role with someone whose industry network and knowledge are already robust.
1. Gain an untapped network. When it’s time to make a new hire, pay careful attention to each candidate’s existing network. Relationship sales play a critical role in expansion — whether you’re entering an unfamiliar market or launching a new service or product. By bringing on a VP of sales who’s already got their own Rolodex full of loyal clients, the entire sales team has the opportunity to hit the ground running. This initial motivation can ignite a fire under your sales team and keep everyone energized as they push toward your organization’s revenue goals for the year.
Plus, if someone is willing to give you access to their network, it means they really believe in what you’re building. That’s exactly the kind of person you want at the helm of your sales team.
2. Tactical recruitment skills. One of the most significant assets you’ll gain from your VP of sales is the ability to successfully recruit high-quality sales reps. The importance of your sales reps can’t be overstated — this organizational backbone can make or break your numbers for the year.
Building a great sales team starts with hiring a great leader. Your VP of sales should come to the table with a few great reps ready to follow them anywhere, plus a few others in mind for the future. The ideal sales VP will have just the right blend of experience and knowledge to motivate, coach and support a team of reps toward high achievement.
3. Access deep market insights. As you determine your direction and which market you’ll enter next, it makes the most sense to utilize someone with demonstrative market insights. This is important not only to give you intel about the new market you’re entering, but for your understanding of tangential industries as well.
These insights can help with the formulation of your …
… entire entry strategy, whether you’re keying in on commonalities and differences between related markets, developing a realistic view of your market opportunity or working through adjustments to your timeline or approach. In-depth insights that are grown organically from experience and knowledge provide lasting value that’s difficult to replicate.
4. The right mindset. You’re looking for a VP of sales with the right mix of know-how, hustle and skill. What this mostly boils down to is intuition, which can in turn help drive good leadership and smart decision making. The reality is that experience does not always equal talent. It’s entirely possible to hire someone for a VP of sales role who has spent plenty of time in the industry but isn’t going to be the right fit for your brand.
In addition to experience, you want a VP of sales who also brings well-matched energy and attitude to your organization. This can be a driving force behind new market entry and can help keep the rest of your team galvanized as you set sights on your goals for the year.
There are different strategies for how to best accomplish entry into a new market, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. But if you’re planning a market entry or expansion, consider how the person you hire for your VP of sales role can be instrumental to your success. To facilitate your execution into a new territory, look for someone with a strong and loyal network, a talented team of quality reps and a blend of knowledge and perspective to give you the right advantage.
Ryan Moore has two decades of experience in sales and executive talent acquisition. Currently, he serves as the director of client management at Peak Sales Recruiting, North America’s leading sales recruitment firm. He plays a key role in the organization’s success and has helped world-class companies like Gartner, P&G, Pioneer, and SevOne build their sales teams.
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