6 Habits of Highly Successful Sales VPs


The hot seat is a tough place to be. Most people land there occasionally. But as VP of sales, you’re in the hot seat all day, every day.

Think about it: Your job amounts to a series of grueling 90-day tryouts. You begin each quarter with glowing optimism. You know you’re going to blow past your number. The big deals will come. Get the right performance conditions in place.  Get started right now.  Invest a few minutes pinpointing your strengths and weaknesses with SBI’s new Revenue Growth Diagnostic tool.

By day 89, you’re suffering through a long, sleepless night. You worry about the deals that were supposed to close. You imagine having that brutal talk with your boss. You know, the one that starts with, “Why did you miss your number?”

Once again, you’re asking yourself:


Is this job really worth it?

Yes, you can thrive in this position. Enjoy it, even. You just need to take control of the job so the job doesn’t control you.


Here’s how:

You want to appear infallible and in control—all the time, without exception. Problem is, your peers and your team aren’t buying it.


Change Your Habits – Change Your Results.

Here’s how winning sales VPs stay cool, calm, and in control amidst crushing demands.


Habit #1: Over-invest in Picking Talent.

Let’s face it. You can’t simultaneously:

  • Save the day and close the deal;
  • Convince product and the deal desk to take a suspect deal;
  • Have a meeting with the board; and
  • Answer a call from your top sales manager.

In short, you can’t play multitasking Twister and do your job well. You have to rely on excellent team members who get the job done.  We’ve seen that behind every burnt-out VP Sales is a team lacking the authority to do their job.

You can avoid this by hiring A Players from the start. Your first step is understanding what an A Player looks like. Download our Sales Leader A-Player Scorecard to objectively work through the A Player criteria. The tool will save you time and also clarify the role for candidates.

What You Must Do.

Hire better than you. Become the world’s expert in picking and developing regional sales VPs.


Habit #2: Get Comfortable With Your Blind Spots.

If you’re like many sales leaders, you fear showing weakness. You want to appear infallible and in control—all the time, without exception. Problem is, your peers and your team aren’t buying it.

What You Must Do.

Embrace your vulnerability. Surround yourself with people who cover for your blind spots. Not sure you’ve done that? Write down your top three weaknesses. Try pairing each with a direct report who bridges the gap.

Habit #3: Understand Your Personal Leverage Model.

Your personal time and personal leverage should be directed at high-yield activities. Think in terms of managing a complex sales campaign; focus where major interactions occur.

What You Must Do

  • Get involved at the start of the quarter’s top 10 deals. Don’t wait to swoop in at the end.
  • Participate in every hiring decision for your sales organization. You can’t afford to have the wrong raw material on board.
  • Use predictive data so you can smell problems before anyone else. Direct your attention to these high-impact areas and take preemptive action.


Habit #4: Make Personal Fitness a Priority.

You can’t be successful if you can’t think straight. Regular exercise, along with adequate sleep and a healthy diet, is crucial to your performance.

What You Must Do

Stop making excuses. Instead, make fitness a top priority. Carve out time to get it done. Eventually, it will become a habit that’s hard to break.


Habit #5: Get Over Yourself.

You don’t need to be on every call or in every meeting. They’ll be okay without you.

What You Must Do

Learn to let go. Skip one meeting a day. Use that newly freed time to exercise (Step 4) or analyze the big picture (Step 6).


Habit #6: Be on the Business (vs. in the Business).

Responding to the day-to-day can be all-consuming. Time starved and overwhelmed, many sales leaders wind up like cogs in the machine. They can’t even think about, let alone address, the fundamentals.

What You Must Do.

Block out time on your calendar to work on the business itself. Take a hard look at your sales strategy. Consider how you’re allocating your three most precious assets: people, money, and time. Look for ways to strengthen your organization.

Bottom Line

To take charge of your career and change the dynamic, remember:


  • Good leaders surround themselves with the right people—and trust in them.
  • Building a healthy sales organization, along with a healthy body, is paramount.
  • Think long term. This will guide your actions and help you make better decisions.

Have expectations gone up and left you wondering if you can make your number?  Take the Revenue Growth Diagnostic test and rate yourself against SBI’s sales and marketing strategy to find out if:

  • Your revenue goal is realistic
  • You will earn your bonus
  • You will keep your job


Go to our website:   www.ncmalliance.com


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