Leadership is defined by results not attributes.” —Peter Drucker
We are often asked for our guidance on defining the role of the Vice President of Sales and while different companies have different sales mandates and priorities, the primary responsibility is to deliver the right revenues; be that defined as a hard number, growth target, profit target and/or a market share goal.
The following job description provides a useful baseline for any company that employs or is seeking to hire a VP sales. It should be noted, however, that these traits also apply sales director, sales management and other sales oversight roles.
Job Description: Vice President of Sales
Metrics – how will success be measured
- Revenue (most companies if they could only have one goal achieved, would pick revenue)
- Sales growth
- Cost of sale
- New market penetration / market share
There are many more detailed types of metrics such as ratio of new business vs. repeat business and turnover rates as well as less traditional and sales 2.0 metrics such as lead response time, rate of contact, and even social media use, but generally all plans have revenue as the top most important goal.
Responsibilities – what activities will be expected in the role (not necessarily in order)
- Develop plans and strategies for developing business and achieving the company’s sales goals
- Create a culture of success and ongoing business and goal achievement – possibly more important than the first item on this list
- Manage the sales teams, operations and resources to deliver profitable growth
- Manage the use of budgets
- Define optimal sales force structure
- Hire and develop sales staff
- Become known as an employer of choice and a sales force that top sales people want to join
- Define and oversee sales staff compensation and incentive programs that motivate the sales team to achieve their sales targets
- Define and coordinate sales training programs that enable staff to achieve their potential and support company sales objectives
- Manage customer expectations and contribute to a high level of customer satisfaction
- Define sales processes that drive desired sales outcomes and identify improvements where and when required
- Put in place infrastructure and systems to support the success of the sales function
- Provide detailed and accurate sales forecasting
- Compile information and data related to customer and prospect interactions
- Monitor customer, market and competitor activity and provide feedback to company leadership team and other company functions
- Work closely with the marketing function to establish successful support, channel and partner programs
- Manage key customer relationships and participate in closing strategic opportunities
- Travel for in-person meetings with customers and partners and to develop key relationships
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Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.
He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.
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