The Vice President of Sales (VP of Sales) is responsible for overseeing all sales operations. These individuals are an integral part of the success of the tech companies that they work for because they ensure revenue continues to rise.
If you’re working your way up through the sales career ladder or want to consider a job in sales, it’s essential to know what one of the highest positions entails.
What Is a Vice President of Sales?
The VP of sales is a leading executive of the sales team. These individuals have immense responsibilities, which include but are not limited to the following:
- Overseeing all of the sales teams under them
- Help the business meet and exceed revenue goals
- Add to the company’s profitability
- Recruiting sales talent
Depending on the size of the company, these professionals may be responsible for sales on the following levels:
However, the vice president of sales will report to the Senior VP of Sale , Chief Revenue Officer or CEO, so there is often still room to move up in the company. Check out this article on different sales job titles.
Vice President of Sales Job Description
Every industry has its own sales description for a sales VP, but the primary responsibilities remain similar. If you’re hoping to land a position at a tech company, the job listing may be similar to below:
Our team is looking for an analytical, dedicated VP of sales to join our team. Your daily responsibilities will be overseeing sales activities, meeting with large clients, designing sales strategies, writing sales reports and marketing our software and services.
As a critical member of our team, you’ll be responsible for overseeing our sales operations in our Southwest offices.
Our ideal candidate is a:
- Natural leader
- Sales expert with at least10 years of experience
- Ability to recruit top sales talent
- Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree
- 10+ years of experience in sales management
- 5+ years of experience as a director or VP
- Understanding of commission structure
- Understanding of software licensing
The above is a very basic example of a job description that you may find on some of the world’s leading job boards.
If you want to land a position as a vice president of sales, you must have the right skillset for the job. The following skills are most in demand.
Skills Needed for a Vice President of Sales Job
Businesses are looking for vice presidents who have a mix of the leading soft skills and hard skills to fill their ranks. A few of the leading soft skills, include:
- Communication: As a VP, communication is key if you’re to find success in sales. You need to be able to communicate with other teams to ensure that the business’ goals are met. If you’re not a master of communication, you’ll need to work on this in-demand skill or you will be unlikely to be hired for the position.
- Customer Service: Major clients will want top-tier service and are likely to reach out to you personally when they have a problem. You’ll need to have robust customer service skills to keep these high-value accounts happy.
- Management: Working in an executive role means being able to manage all of the sales teams below you. Depending on the position, you may need to work with teams across multiple offices and find a way to manage them properly.
- Analytical: One of the most in-demand skills in the business world is being analytical. VPs of sales must be extremely analytical because the revenue of the business will rely on you extensively.
Flexibility and the ability to adapt to an ever-changing tech environment are also one of the soft skills that will make you an invaluable asset to a company. You can learn many of the soft skills on your own, along with a few additional ones:
- Forecasting: Most resumes have the word “forecasting” in them, and it’s a skill that every VP will need to master. The goal of forecasting is to help a company better make decisions based on the projections you come up with.
- Sales Strategies: You’re in charge of sales, and your employers will want you to devise sales strategies that help drive more revenue to the company. This is a skill that is mastered with years of experience in the field.
- Strategic Planning: Plans will lead to success. You must be a strategic planner who can plan for future sales and envision the direction of the business.
- Collaboration: Working well with teams and finding ways for them to collaborate is a must-have skill when working with larger sales departments that may span multiple offices.
In the tech industry, you’ll also need to fully understand the SaaS model and be able to analyze reports from CRMs. In addition, technical skills will help you better understand the product or service that your team is trying to sell, making you an invaluable asset to the company.
On top of all of these skills, you will need an immense resume with 10+ years of sales experience along with many years of director or management experience.
If you plan to become a Vice President of Sales, you’ll need to follow a career path to success.
Vice President of Sales Career Path
Applying for a vice president position means that you have the skills and experience to help manage a company’s sales. However, there’s a lengthy career path that will lead a person from a sales agent to this executive position.
How to Become a VP of Sales?
The steps to take to become a sales vice president, include:
1. Earn Your Degree
BLS.gov lists earning a Bachelor’s degree as a requirement for an entry-level sales position. Although not mandatory it is helpful to at least this level of education if you plan to become a VP. A few of the fields of study to consider are:
- Business administration
A degree will help you get through the door and enter the sales industry. But not having a degree will not stop you. It is very dependent on the organization.
2. Land an Entry-level Sales Position
Once you have a degree, you must work in sales at the entry-level. You’ll need to work your way up through the ranks of the business, but at the entry-level, you’ll need to focus on the product or service being sold.
Success in this position means learning the ins and outs of the thing you’re selling.
Roles for entry level salespeople can be found in our list of job titles for sales. More specifically, SDR and BDR roles tend to be a natural first role for VP of Sales.
3. Gain Experience and Demonstrate Consistency
Through the first few years in the position, you’ll need to demonstrate your consistency and gain experience. VPs need an immense amount of time in the trenches, and there’s no shortcut besides working very diligently to reach this goal.
4. Show Your Leadership
A VP is a leader who has an immense responsibility. You must show that you’re a leader at any chance that you can. Perhaps a manager is out or no one is taking the lead on a project. In this example, you need to take charge and show you can lead.
You can also lead new sales team members and find ways to share your knowledge with the team.
Over time, you’ll want to apply for manager and director positions as they open up. Most job postings want an experienced sales rep who has worked as a manager or director before jumping into the VP position.
As a manager or director, you must stay the course and continue to gain experience. You’ll also want to share your aspirations of moving into a VP position with your higher ups. Letting HR know that you would like to someday be VP of sales will allow them to transition you into the job.
What’s the Next Role for a VP of Sales?
The vice president of sales role is one of the top roles in sales. For those wanting to progress in their careers, the next role would be a senior vice president of sales, Chief Revenue Officer or CEO.
A senior vice president of sales or CRO is one of the most influential executives in a company’s C-suite. They play a crucial role in a company’s success by developing strategies and setting sales objectives for teams. They may also take on the role of mentor for junior sales teams.
The main objective of a senior VP of sales or CRO is to drive account growth, acquire new customers and organize sales strategies. They play a big role in growing revenue for a company and also often times oversee marketing.
A senior VP of Sales or CRO must excel at:
- Team building
- Nurturing and managing relationships
- Holding teams and leaders accountable for reaching their objectives
- Developing sales strategies and objectives
A senior VP of sales or CRO can be very demanding of their team, but their only goal is to improve the company’s performance. Holding teams accountable can help drive results.
What Does a Vice President of Sales Do Each Day?
A vice president of sales has a wide range of responsibilities and tasks. As a result, no two days are the same, and the job can often be fast paced.
Many sales VPs start their Mondays off by motivating the team during a morning meeting. During these quick meetings, team members are recognized for their hard work and accomplishments. Key updates are given, too.
While most sales VPs aim for structured schedules, the day is often fast paced and unexpected curveballs can force them to shift gears at a moment’s notice.
Their schedules may also include:
- One-on-one meetings with the individuals who report to them
- Overseeing AE and SDR reports to provide updates to the C-Suite
- Time for brainstorming strategies
- Analyzing metrics
- Making future plans
- Checking in with members of the marketing team
- Recruiting/Interviewing new potential hires
Often, work doesn’t end for a VP of sales after they leave the office. For many, work doesn’t carry on because it has to, but rather, because they love their work.
Many sales VPs will spend their time out of the office working on their weekly schedules and ensuring they’re on track for the week.
VP of Sales Salary
The salary for a vice president of sales varies greatly. According to LinkedIn, the national average base salary for a VP of sales is $160,000 per year. On the high end, a VP of sales may earn $220,000 or more. At SaaS companies and large enterprises, Salaries often exceed $300,000 per year. This is only part of their compensiation.
It’s important to note that this is the average for just the base salary. A VP of sales may also receive additional compensation in the form of:
- Commission – $90,000 median per year
- Bonuses – $42,000 median per year
- Stock options – $40,000 median per year
- RSUs – $50,000 median per year
Location will also play a major role in how much a VP of sales will earn. Salary data from LinkedIn shows the median base salary for this role in several key cities.
VP of Sales Salary by City
- San Francisco Bay: $198,000/year
- Greater Boston: $180,000/year
- Chicago: $170,000/year
- Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill: $175,000/year
- Charlotte Metro: $167,000/year
- Los Angeles: $165,000/year
- Denver: $165,000/year
- New York City Metro: $164,000/year
A VP of sales earns more than double the national average salary, but they have wide-ranging responsibilities, including the role of a leader and management.
Vice President of Sales Responsibilities
The vice president of sales has a wide range of responsibilities. Along with their role as a sales leader, the VP of sales will also serve as a mentor, strategist and manager.
In order to meet sales quotas and reach the company’s objectives, a VP of sales must perform several tasks, including:
- Developing strategies and plans
- Recruiting and hiring
- Working with other senior leadership across the company
- Promoting company services and products
- Creating sales training programs
- Managing sales operations
- Keeping an eye on competitor activity
- Anticipating customer needs
- Motivating the sales team to reach their goals
- Generating sales reports
- Communicating and working with the marketing department
- Set goals for quarterly and annual sales
- Reviewing customer activity
- Finding ways to improve customer satisfaction
- Arranging face-to-face meetings with customers and partners to nurture relationships
A good VP of sales must have excellent communication skills to work with their sales and marketing teams. They must also have excellent written communication skills, as they will be responsible for generating sales reports and forecasts.
The primary goal of a VP of sales is to ensure that the company is on the right track to meeting its sales quotas and goals for the quarter and year. For this reason, their responsibilities are wide-ranging. Some VP of sales will need to handle tasks that are unique to an individual company.
A VP of sales is a leader, mentor, motivator and strategist. They have many responsibilities, and they need a great deal of skill to excel in this role.