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by Phil Stubbs | @PhilStubbs14 LinkedIn

Finding the right person for your VP Sales, Sales Director vacancy, is never an easy task. There’s a balance between having an outstanding track record, experience within your industry or with a competitor, and a network full of potential client contacts.

If you use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to prospect, then you will know that if you typed in (“Sales Director” OR “VP Sales”) you would get a huge number of search results – mine is 870k. Once you use the filters, to sort out those that are relevant by location, industry etc – that can get the number tumbling down and sometimes, depending on how much you filter, it can end in a big fat ZERO.

Looking for someone to head up your sales division, if you have a long list of ‘filters’ can leave you with either very little to choose from, or having to relax your search criteria, ending up with too many.

You can use executive search or head hunter services, but they tend to do what I just did – run a search on LinkedIn and charge a tidy fee for the pleasure. I’m not knocking the recruitment industry – they play a valuable role, doing all the leg work for you and producing a potential short list. But you can see where I’m coming from.

I could now bang on about why, to people in the market for a new role, it’s important to have a killer LinkedIn profile. And I’m not talking about making it a ‘look at me’ page – but that’s for another time.

What I want to talk about is how businesses need to take a step back and reassess what their goal is with a new Sales VP or Director. Sometimes a fire fighter is needed to come in and sorts thing out, shake the tree a bit, other times maybe it’s to take the baton and run with a ‘business as usual’ approach. There can be numerous reasons.

I feel very strongly about what I’m going to share with you – so much so, I could reduce this blog to one sentence. Let me elaborate (this isn’t a sales pitch):

  • Do you want a stronger pipeline?
  • Do you want more new business?
  • Do you want to increase the revenue from your clients?
  • Do you have a competitor?
  • Do you want to make more money?

Answer yes to any of the above and you need to change your selection criteria and filters – here’s why:

  • 3.397 billion people are on social media  
  • 575 million people are on LinkedIn
  • CEB tell us: 57% of the buying process has been completed before a customer engages with a supplier
  • The average the number of stakeholders involved in a purchase decision is 6.8

Forrester says: As sellers struggle to gain and sustain their buyers’ attention, it is essential to meet customers and prospects where they digitally reside

The majority of ‘behind the scenes’ work in a purchasing decision is carried out online, via social media

Which is why you need to remember this sentence:

‘Next time you look for a new VP Sales / Sales Director, make sure they fully understand social selling.’

And yet, in spite of all the facts, the majority of sales VPs and directors have no idea what social selling is, or how it can boost sales. Many will come to you with out of date strategies that worked for them once and they have counted on ever since. Unfortunately, many times they will only interested in your opportunity because a) you are paying more b) they are bored in their current role, or, c) they can sense failure on the horizon.

Don’t let that failure occur on your watch – any new (or for that matter, incumbent) Sales VP or Director should be pitching social selling to the CEO. They should be telling the CFO that social selling can divert funds wasted on other sales and marketing activities, and insisting – should they decide to come and work for you – they want social selling to be the default behaviour for your business.

People who read this article also read these:

The new LinkedIn algorithm is the kick in the pants I needed

Marketers need to wake up and smell the coffee.

LinkedIn’s Algorithm change and how it will ruin your business


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