May 30, 2024

⚾️ Hitting It Out of the Park: The Search for an All-Star VP of Software Sales


Brian Schoch and Bob Berry

In todays world of software sales, the right VP of Sales can be the driving force behind your company's success. They not only lead your sales team to victory but also cultivate lasting relationships with clients, foster a positive work environment, and drive the company. How do you ensure that you're hiring the best person for the job? We'll delve into some key questions that can be overlooked in the hiring process, shedding light on the essentials that make a truly exceptional VP of Sales.

  1. What is their approach to coaching and mentoring? A successful VP of Sales should be able to nurture and develop the talent within their team, ensuring that each individual reaches their full potential. Ask your candidate about their coaching and mentoring philosophy and how they've successfully supported their team members' growth in the past. This insight will help you understand if their approach aligns with your company's values and goals.
  2. What is their track record for achieving sales targets? Obvious, right ? But past performance doesn't guarantee future success, understanding a candidate's track record can offer valuable insight into their future effectiveness. Ask them to provide examples of how they've overcome obstacles and challenges in striving to make their goal. Consider how their accomplishments might translate to your company's specific context. Sometimes making 60% of goal with poor product availability is like exceeding 130% of goal where a company has plentiful resources and a highly repeatable sales process.
  3. How adaptable are they to change? The business landscape is constantly evolving, and a successful VP of Sales needs to be able to adapt to shifting market conditions, new technologies, and changes within the organization. Ask your candidate to share examples of how they've navigated change in the past and the strategies they used to keep their team motivated and focused during uncertain times.
  4. How do they handle conflict resolution? A VP of Sales must be able to navigate and mitigate conflicts within their team and with clients. Ask your candidate about their approach to conflict resolution, including specific examples of how they've resolved disputes or disagreements in the past. This will give you insight into their ability to foster a positive and collaborative work environment.
  5. How do they stay current with industry trends and best practices? A successful VP of Sales should be well-versed in the latest trends, technologies, and best practices in their industry. Ask your candidate how they stay informed and how they apply this knowledge to their sales strategies. This will help you gauge their commitment to continuous learning and improvement.
  6. How do they plan to grow your company's market share? An effective VP of Sales should have a clear vision for expanding your company's presence in the market. Ask your candidate to outline their strategies for identifying and pursuing new opportunities, as well as how they intend to maintain and grow existing client relationships to increase market share.

Remember, a thorough and thoughtful interview process is essential to finding the right VP of Sales for your organization. Ask these often-overlooked questions, you'll gain a more balanced understanding of your candidates' strengths, weaknesses, and overall fit for your company. Above all, don't fall in love with any particular candidate —you need to maintain a clear head throughout the interview process. If you're not careful, it's easy to let your emotions cloud your decision-making skills.

121 Silicon Valley is an executive search firm that has supported growth-driven software companies for the past 15 years across North America. Let us know if we can help you.

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