6 Tips for the First 90 Days as a New VP of Sales

The first 90 days on a new job as a VP of sales can present a daunting challenge to even the most seasoned managers. At CloserIQ’s recent panel discussion, three sales leaders discussed their experiences dealing with these challenges:

  • David Greenberger (VP of Sales at Splash)
  • Jeremy Saltzer (VP of Worldwide Sales at Movable Ink)
  • Adam Landsman (Head of Sales at Transfix)

Here are their top six tips for the first 90 days as a new VP of sales:

1. Just listen for the first 30 days.

New VPs of sales should listen for the first month. Just be a sponge, talk to as many people as you can. Shadow as many of your salespeople as you can if you have any salespeople. If you don’t have salespeople, spend all your time with the CEO. Whoever has been talking about the product, sit in on support calls if you can. Just really try to learn: what’s going on here, what are the processes, what is the culture like.

2. Look for small wins in days 31-60.

During the next month, new VPs should start to form opinions but not yet make decisions.

Try looking for ways to add value to the team in any way—whether it’s fetching coffee or working on a role-playing exercise with sales representatives. At this stage, VPs should avoid lecturing the team on what they did wrong.

3. In days 61-90, start putting your own ideas into place so you’re ready to pilot the ship by day 90.

Once you reach the beginning of month three, VPs are now ready to test their opinions and start putting them into place. By day 90, you should be driving the ship and everyone is on board with what you’re trying to do, so use this time to establish your plans for the team.

4. Spend time with client-facing teams.

Throughout the entire first 90 days, new VPs should prioritize spending time with the client experience team. By working closely with clients, you’ll learn more about how and why your customers use the product. First-person anecdotes are critical for success in enterprise sales, and working directly with clients enables VPs to amass a library of relevant stories.

5. Establish trusting partnerships within your company and be aware of what you don’t know.

VPs can set themselves up for success by working on developing close partnerships with team members and others at the company. You may not know everything all the time, but by actively fostering a working relationship based on open communication and trust with your team, you won’t need to. 

The VP role is often more of an advocacy role than managerial position. By listening to team members and forming partnerships, VPs can learn what problems plague the department and address them so that the team can sell.

6. Be a player-coach in the early days.

Sales VPs can’t lead effectively unless they understand what it’s like to be in the sales trenches at your company. Try spending some time being a player-coach, doing the work alongside your reps and providing feedback. Because if you can’t walk the walk, why is the team going to trust you?

To hear more advice from these sales leaders, watch the full full presentation here.

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Senior Marketing Manager @ CloserIQ. Previously Recruiter @ ManpowerGroup & Freelance Social Media Strategist. University of Wisconsin Journalism & Strategic Communication Grad.