We’ve often been warned of the dangers of promoting our best sales rep to sales management positions. However, promoting a good sales manager to the role of Sales VP occurs just as frequently, with more dire consequences. There are many differences between the role, requiring different mindsets, different strategies, and totally different characteristics.

Here are 5 key characteristics that every top Sales VP should have.

A Data-Driven Mindset

The movement has begun for Sales VPs to be more sales metrics-oriented, not just in terms of pipeline management or sales activities, but also with bigger-picture data. Peeling back the onion and looking past the sales numbers will help narrow the focus on the strategies that prove to be the most fruitful.

For example, drilling deeper into marketing metrics – something average Sales VPs might not consider – will provide clarity into which sources generate the highest-scored marketing-qualified leads (MQLs). They can then teach their sales managers how to coach their reps to focus on the leads with the highest probability conversion rate.

A Focus on Sales and Marketing Alignment

A savvy Sales VP is constantly facilitating teamwork, even across different departments. In order to see the bigger picture, your Sales VP should be communicating with marketing frequently to form coordinated goals and function like one unified team. This way, marketing won’t meet to talk about leads without input from sales and sales will be able to have a strong pipeline, filled with the qualified leads they are looking for. The synergy of these collaborations is necessary to aligning future strategies with corporate initiatives.

An Emphasis on Sales Coaching

A top Sales VP undergoes a very systematic approach to maximizing performance. He or she looks at the right sales performance metrics, on both a team and an individual level, in order to diagnose and determine where weaknesses are in the sales process.

He then assess the execution of these strategies on his team. From these derived insights, a new sales training program is born and given to a sales manager to execute and measure.

An Ability to Inspire

As an important authority figure, a Sales VP is looked to for inspiration and motivation. People are inspired to work for a leader who not only understands the business, but also their challenges and their continued success and improvement.  Coming up with new ways to integrate tasks with your CRM and adopting new and modern trends, such as a Sales Leaderboard, can help inspire better performance and renewed interests in tasks that were previously tired or mundane.

A Deep Understanding of Their Buyers

Long gone are the days where a salesperson would come to your house with a variety of appliances, hoping to have the one with the right features to inspire a purchase. Sales people must work that much harder to avoid the stereotypes that have been built so strongly against them.

Sales VPs are the persons entrusted with knowing their customer so well that they can devise the right messaging for their reps to guide their prospects through the buying process. This is the road map reps need to ask the right questions and uncover the exact pain points in order to give their prospects a compelling reason to buy.


Sales VPs are more than leaders – they create a strategic direction, identify opportunities, and implement the tools necessary to realize (and measure) these dreams.

What are some of the attributes you think are necessary to be a world-class, forward-thinking VP of Sales? Sound off below!

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