The average tenure for a VP sales is about 19 months. What is important to prolong that is for the VP to be adaptive to the future steps of the organization.
Kirk implemented something he learned from another sales leader, put time every morning to look at what is needed long term vs where things are currently standing.
Kirk finds that generally a new VP sales will bring with him people he or she has worked with before that they trust to get the job done. For the current employees he says that it is a great opportunity for them to step up and learn new skills.
When Kirk steps into a new company, he prefers to have a mix of existing sales executives with new ones that he has brought on. This helps to maintain company culture.
As the new sales leader in an organization, you need to first know what you are going to ask of the sales people. Is what the company did in the past going to work moving forward?
With after 26 years of experience Kirk says that he wishes he knew at the beginning of his career to look at people as individuals. Meaning each salesperson has his or her own personality and skill set that works better with different types of clients.
Building trust is key especially as the transaction size gets larger.
Questions he goes through when starting at a new company to start selling:
1- Understand what problem you are solving
2- Who has this kind of problem
3- What is the competitive differentiation.
4- Do we have the right personal (To sell, on board and support it)
When hiring a new sales person, he is looking at the DISC profile to help make a hiring decision. Looking for extroverts with high sense of urgency. Liked creative people with high sense of integrity.
You should have the training program ready before hiring new members so that you can quickly ramp them up and get them selling. Even have a bonus plan set where they will get a bonus for getting up to speed quickly.
He always applies fairness. He tries to fairly get a new agent a win before the expected time would be. So if its a 9 month sales cycle, he would try to help them close a deal before the first 9 months of the persons time at the company.
LinkedIn: Kirk Tharp
What is your favorite sales or leadership book? Customer Centric Selling by Mike Bosworth
Do you have someone that you follow/read for sales/leadership ideas? David Skok (founder of hubspot)
Are you available 24/7? Do you have strict personal time boundaries? Only while sleeping
What is your favorite tool used for sales? DISC testing
What one piece of advice do you have for all the founders/CEOs/VP Sales out there? Build a sales culture.