In a prior article, we covered 7 symptoms of a poorly performing sales organization. If any of those symptoms sound familiar, you might think that all you need to do to turn your sales engine around is to hire a new VP of sales. But that may not help. If fact, it could make things worse.
Here are 5 reasons why hiring a new VP won’t fix your sales funnel — and what you should do instead.
Your problems are deeper than a single person
A VP of sales can be great at managing a team and terrific at sales. But, no matter how great, they can’t transform an organization all on their own. Just as the best driver in the world can’t drive a car without wheels, the best hire can’t lead a team without a foundation.
Don’t expect your VP of sales to perform miracles on your organization. Instead, focus on the deeper changes necessary to achieve your desired results. Think about what issues led you to want to hire someone new in the first place and work backward from there.
Your problems are broader than a single person
A sales executive didn’t get there by chance: they are fantastic communicators and know how to orchestrate a team with many moving parts. But just as a single person doesn’t cause organizational problems, a single person can’t solve all of them either.
Take a look at your VP job description. Is it realistic for one person? Or does it reflect the responsibilities of an entire department? If it’s the latter, you’re probably going to be disappointed.
Before publishing that job description, think carefully about what you’re asking your sales VP to do. Can a single person really manage the sales team, rebrand your company, run tradeshows once a month, and still regularly close $200,000 accounts? Probably not.
Your culture needs to change
Motivating employees to meet their sales goals is a strong skill of a sales executive — and it’s probably one of the reasons you want to hire someone new. But hiring someone new doesn’t automatically change an existing organizational culture.
For example, does your company parking lot empty out by 4 pm every day? This may be a sign your culture needs to change, not your VP of sales. If your team doesn’t show up every day ready to hit the ground running, you have a deeper problem that needs to be solved before you simply increase sales. Bringing in a new VP may help this issue, but now you’re looking to the new hire to be a culture expert in addition to a sales leader.
Your processes need to change
What the previous items on this list show is that if your internal processes don’t work, adding a new sales VP — no matter how skilled they are — won’t solve the problem.
So, it’s time to turn your attention to your processes, starting with the most important one.
How’s your team’s communication? Is everyone aligned or are you operating in silos? Does everyone agree on your core values and follow a clearly defined process for moving prospects down the sales funnel?
Organizational communication breakdowns are a red flag something isn’t right. While a VP of sales no doubt is a great communicator, they aren’t the magic bullet. Instead, sit down and identify any common communication breakdowns within your organization. By addressing these problems first, you can ensure that everyone is moving forward in the same direction…before you drop big bucks on a new executive hire.
It’s a quick fix that won’t bring lasting improvement
Quick fixes are always tempting. They’re also not long-term solutions.
Hiring a new VP without fixing the existing problems in your sales organization may produce an immediate positive effect. But, pretty soon, everyone will fall back into their usual — dysfunctional — routines. That means 6 months down the road, you’ll find yourself in the same place you are now…and likely starting to think about replacing your VP once again.
Only when you have a strong understanding of the holes in your sales process can you add a VP of sales with confidence — and actually see some tangible changes.
Strategically hiring a new VP of sales within an already high-functioning sales organization is a great idea. It means your engine is running smoothly and you’re ready to take your company to the next level.
But, for all the reasons outlined above, hiring a new VP as a way to fix something that’s already broken in your organization probably won’t deliver the results you want — despite how talented that new hire may be.
If you’re thinking about hiring a new VP of sales, but aren’t sure it’s the right step, we can help. Take the sales engine diagnostic or find out more about sale organization consulting.
I’m Karl Becker and I help individuals and organizations improve how they sell. My focus is on clear, concise, actionable solutions.
In short, I'll show you how to increase performance and generate more revenue.
This blog shares approaches, tools, and ideas that I have seen create success.
If you’re interested in discussing anything, please reach out.