Congratulations! You’ve recently been promoted to Vice President of Sales for your company.
The first 90 days are crucial in any new position but as a new VP, this period will truly determine your fate in the business. The average tenure of a Sales VP, these days, often ranges from just 18 months to two years. No other member of the executive suite fails as often as the sales leader.
Don’t become another statistic!
We’re sure you are anxious to prove yourself and your worth to the company. You may want to reassure your boss and team of the potential success they can expect or showcase your selling skills - anything to prove they made the right decision.
How? By making a new and visible contribution to the success of your company, sooner rather than later, before the pressure is too great.
Here’s where quick wins come into play.
What is a Quick Win?
A “quick win” is a new and visible contribution to the success made early in the new leader’s tenure. Utilizing quick wins can help:
Bosses conclude whether or not they made the right promotion or hiring decision
Team members determine whether to place confidence in their new manager
Peers to decide whether an equal has joined their ranks.
Establishing quick wins
We know, there are a lot of questions and ideas whirling around in your mind. Why are so many people missing sales quotas? Why are the best customers not getting the right level of attention? Why is the sales team not getting more leads?
Not only do you have questions, but unfinished projects and unanswered issues left by your predecessor and others involved with the sales process. It’s a difficult time- and it doesn’t get easier. But this isn’t a time to get discouraged, but energized. Luckily for you, there are “quick” solutions to help you maintain your zeal.
After deciding to implement quick wins during the first months of tenure, you first need to understand that the quick win work may have limited visibility. But once a quick win is implemented, visibility will begin with a change in results.
In establishing quick wins, understand that you’ll have to determine which quick wins you wish to pursue due to your constraints, pain points and business requirements.
Three Ideas That Will Help You Thrive in Your New Sales VP Position
As a business leader, there are a lot of people to answer to and a lot of questions to answer. Different groups find varying aspects of the business to be a priority, but these are the main points of concern:
For you, these are all a priority, but you need to decipher which are attainable quickly and effectively so you can settle into your new position more comfortably. Fortunately, there are 3 quick wins that can help you become established in your role and on your way to leading a successful term as VP.
Win 1: View your sales investment on a long term timeline
How can a “quick” win focus on the long term? Easy- not only are you exemplifying your commitment to the company but focusing on the management of the sales team over time. Paul Vinogradov, VP at The Alexander Group, Inc states, “Managing sales investments on an annual basis or worse - quarterly - leads to very different decisions that could result in leaving money on the table.”
As the Sales VP, you’re going to run into multiple constraints in driving growth, especially in a challenging economy. But if you take the time to be proactive as opposed to reactive, you can better plan for your sales investment.
Our suggestion: Strategically map the design of your sales team on a two-to-three year time frame.
Win 2: Increase your pipeline visibility
It’s imperative that members of the sales team increase both capacity and coverage; this, in turn, will assist in greater sales. As the Sales VP, you have to increase the productivity of your team with the same or fewer resources. This, of course, is not always an easy feat.
We understand you’re not a magician - and for this quick win, it’s more useful to be transparent than hidden in your tricks.
Developing our pipeline visibility is one of our favorite quick wins that we employ on a monthly basis. With increased pipeline visibility, you can improve your ability to provide better direction to your first- and second-line managers. They can then guide their reps to the highest priority or yielding projects. This helps to keep processes moving forward and guarantees the attention of a rep for each of your customers.
Our suggestion: Create a pipeline with a customer rating and the key team members on each project. Then make this resource available to the entire team so they can help guide process themselves.
Win 3: Stop selling products; sell solutions
With improving sales capacity, comes improving sales execution. Competition continuously surrounds you and only mounts as time passes, so it’s best to address sales execution early on. To do so, you are responsible for increasing your sales teams’ win rates.
One way to do this, is to stop focusing on selling ‘products’ and focus on selling ‘solutions.’ It’s a quick and easy way to pivot your strategy. According to Oracle,
“You can and will increase win rates by moving backward from the customer, gaining a clear understanding of her/his pain points, and mapping your solutions to those pain points, versus promoting the features and functionality of your product.”
Our suggestion: Review your buyer personas and their pain points. Then align their pain points with your products and services and focus on how those products play a role in the bigger picture, rather than the everyday use.
You’re now equipped with three of many effective quick wins to establish your new role within the company and lock in your position. Your CEO won’t be second guessing their decision anytime soon, and stakeholders will be pleased with the quick and effective changes you implement.
When you make it past the two-year mark, be sure to send us a thank you!
Olivia Perek-Clark leads New Breed’s Learning and Development team. She is a seasoned Demand Generation and Inbound Marketing Strategist turned team trainer who has a passion for developing systems and content that help other New Breeders do their best work for our clients.