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How to Become a VP of Sales

If you have solid sales experience, exceptional leadership skills, and you have great communication abilities, both verbally and written, you might be the right fit for a position as VP of sales.

Vice presidents (VPs) of sales are high-level executives in charge of sales in an organization. They typically lead a sales team, strategize and determine sales objectives and goals, and manage the efforts to achieve and exceed those objectives. They must be excellent leaders, have great organization and planning skills, and need to be creative thinkers. VPs of sales set monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals and ensure that the company is on target to meet each goal. They assess talent, hire, train, and develop the sales team, and manage the sales budget. VPs of sales should have a good understanding of market trends and how to use their resources to take advantage of them.

VPs of sales need excellent communication and interpersonal skills and good working knowledge of effective sales strategies. They should have an in-depth knowledge of the market, an eye on the competition, and exceptional customer service skills. Advanced sales skills are essential to succeed as a VP of sales, as is the ability to motivate employees and drive success. You will also need to be very familiar with the products and services in your company.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] needs a professional and experienced VP of sales to join our international team. As the VP of sales, it will be your duty to oversee the sales department and ensure the proper functioning of the department as well as that the department meets goals in accordance with our timelines. You must also ensure that the company performs well in sales, either matching or exceeding the desired amount. As the VP of sales, it will be your responsibility to work with the marketing department to increase ROI (return on investment) and design the proper marketing materials. You will also be responsible for running split tests and identifying where improvements and modifications can be made in sales plans in order to increase the profitability and reach of these plans. As the VP of sales, you must have a level-head and good communication skills, as well as excellent problem-solving skills. If this sounds like you, please consider applying!

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Develop strategies relating to the company’s market, products, services, and sales goals
  • Work with executives to determine and execute sales plans to meet organizational needs
  • Perform day-to-day oversight and management of the sales team
  • Set and manage sales department budgets
  • Track, analyze and present sales metrics to senior leadership
  • Facilitate current client relationships and work to grow new ones
  • Analyze market trends and plan sales strategies accordingly

Education and experience

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related field. Candidates need extensive experience in sales, preferably in the employer’s industry and in a leadership position.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Robust leadership abilities and an innovative, entrepreneurial attitude
  • Experience in sales, customer service, or related field, preferably in a leadership role
  • Familiarity with CRM platforms
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Knowledge of and insight into market trends, with an ability to think strategically
  • Strong proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite
  • Self-motivated and driven to succeed

Preferred qualifications

  • 10+ years of experience in sales and management
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Excellent written and verbal skills

Typical work environment

A VP of sales performs the duty of overseeing, directing, and managing sales teams in order to ensure that the teams function properly and successfully. As a VP of sales, you may work in many different fields or sizes of organizations. This may include international organizations, all the way down to single locations. Some of the common responsibilities of a VP of sales include managing sales teams and maintaining relations, managing budgets and setting goals, creating reports, and more. As a VP of sales, you must have excellent communication skills and the ability to understand and solve complex problems when needed. You may also be in charge of overseeing the creation of marketing materials, as well as ensuring that the sales ROI is as desired.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for a VP of sales are from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, in an office setting.

Available certifications

As a VP of sales, you must demonstrate excellence in multiple categories of the position. Some of the most common certifications which may prove useful for a VP of sales would include the following:

  • Certified Sales Professional (CSP). One of the most popular certifications for a VP of sales, the Certified Sales Professional certification provides the needed proof of experience and qualifications that are required for a VP of sales. This certificate does require more than two years of experience in order to apply for it. Because of this, however, it is often recognized as a chief and primary certification for sales professionals and managers.
  • Program Management Professional (PgMP). As a Certified Program Management Professional, a VP of sales will be able to showcase their ability to lead multiple teams and programs to succeed in their goals. This certification is immensely important in order to demonstrate the ability of a VP of sales to manage programs, which includes interpersonal skills as well as management skills. Because of this, this certification is recommended for a VP of sales who has two or more years of experience in the field. The PgMP is an internationally recognized certification.

Career path

The career path for a vice president of sales starts by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related field. Also, earning certification as a Certified Professional Sales Person can help to advance a career in sales.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 11-2022

2020 Employment397,900
Projected Employment in 2030425,800
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 7% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift27,900 increase

According to the Miller Heiman Group, sales management professionals should always be agile and adaptable in their approaches. Training is key. Sales leaders need to coach the sellers on their teams, helping them grow their skillset and close sales opportunities.