Mistakes People Make When Hiring a VP of Sales

Hiring a Vice President of Sales is a critical decision for any organization, as this individual plays a pivotal role in driving revenue growth and shaping the sales strategy. However, navigating the hiring process for a VP of Sales can be fraught with challenges, and making mistakes along the way can have significant repercussions. In this article, we’ll explore the top mistakes people make when hiring a VP of Sales:

1. Mismatched deal sizes and sales cycles

One common mistake is hiring a VP of Sales with experience selling vastly different deal sizes and navigating disparate sales cycles. For instance, if a candidate has sold deals ranging from $50k to $100K and your product ranges from $5k to $10k, it indicates a lack of specialization and may result in inefficiencies and misalignment with your organization’s sales objectives. It’s crucial to seek candidates whose experience aligns closely with your company’s target market and sales cycle length to ensure a smoother transition and more effective sales execution. 

2. Overly dependent on resources

Another mistake is hiring a VP who relies heavily on resources and infrastructure that may not be feasible or scalable for your organization. Avoid candidates who require a massive team or extensive support systems to succeed. Instead, prioritize candidates who have demonstrated the ability to achieve results with leaner resources and who can adapt their approach to suit the unique needs and constraints of your organization.

3. Lack of commitment and focus

Hiring a VP of Sales who has a side hustle or lacks full commitment to the role can be detrimental to your organization’s success. Sales leadership requires unwavering dedication and long hours, and individuals with competing priorities may struggle to prioritize their responsibilities effectively. Look for candidates who are “all in” and fully committed to driving results for your organization, rather than those who may be divided in their attention and energy.

4. Outdated experience and skill sets

It’s essential to avoid hiring a VP who hasn’t held a leadership role in quite some time and is looking to “get back into sales.” Market trends, sales strategies, and technologies evolve rapidly, and candidates with outdated experience may struggle to adapt to the current landscape. Prioritize candidates who have recent and relevant experience in sales leadership roles, and who demonstrate a strong understanding of modern sales methodologies and practices.

5. Ignoring cultural fit 

Cultural fit is often overlooked but is crucial when hiring a VP of Sales. This individual will be responsible for shaping the sales culture within your organization and fostering collaboration and productivity among the sales team. Hiring someone whose values and leadership style don’t align with your company’s culture can lead to discord and tension within the team. For example, if your VP promotes work-life balance and your team consists of hardcore workers who live and breathe sales, the goals won’t align with the company and he might make the team less productive. Ensure that candidates not only possess the necessary skills and experience but also share the values and principles that are integral to your organization’s culture.