Did you know that 70% of first time VP Sales don't make it twelve months? Let that soak in for a minute.

That was one of the many valuable insights I learned in the Dreamforce session by Jason Lemkin. Jason is a two time successful cofounder selling to enterprises. He was the founder and CEO of super-popular, Echosign which he sold to Adobe and it’s now a $100 million recurring business unit.

Jason's knowledge is a step above the rest when it comes to building SaaS revenues for scale and success.

Here are (just a few) of the golden nuggets from his session on hiring and firing the VP Sales role:

1. Hire two reps first (before your VP sales)

Salespeople are vital to kick off growth but you don't want to bring the VP Sales in too early. You do, however, want to bring on two reps at once. This will allow you to see what works and what does not. It will also kick off a culture of competition. The last thing you want is to have a rep failing (or even killing it) but not know why. 

Lemkin DF

2. Order the right priorities for the VP Sales 

You want to set big revenue goals for your new VP Sales. In order to accomplish these goals, they are not going to be able to do all the work themselves. Here are the ordered priorities for a startup VP Sales: 

  1. Recruit
  2. Help team
  3. Sales tactics
  4. Sales strategy
  5. Creating and selling deals themself

3. VP Sales candidates should have recruits ready to go

If they're any good, their old team will want to ride with them again. This is not only a litmus test to see if your candidate is great. It also could be the kickstart to your whole new sales team. Great VPs have a posse of followers. Don't compromise on this in the hiring process. 

4. VP Sales should make immediate results

Your numbers should automatically increase within one sales cycle and you should see an immediate increase in the quality of the members of your sales team. If these are absent, it's a red flag.

5. Timing: Start recruiting for the VP early

It's more likely to win the lottery than to find an unemployed fantastic VP of Sales. The minute you start selling deals with your startup, you need to start laying the groundwork for your future hire. 

Great sales teams energize your entire organization. They have low turnover and make all the difference your between failure and success as a business owner. The VP is the critical element here. Hire right with the tips above and let us know which ones we missed.

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