A Letter to HR, From the VP of Sales 


Dear HR,


As VP of Sales, filling my team with top talent is critical. Open positions and mis-hires result in lost revenue. But I don’t have the time to source and develop talent.


That’s where you come in.


In order to prevent gaps in our team, we need HR leaders to act as our business partners. This way, we both succeed and the company profits.


Specifically, here’s what your department can do to help.


Proactively source and recruit talent:

We never want an open position on our team. But with Sales turnover rates at 15 to 30 percent each year, this often happens.That’s why HR needs to be proactive rather than reactive, and prepare for these open headcounts in advance.


To do this, you must have a solid recruiting process in place. Here’s what that recruiting process could look like. HR — We need your help to make the number.


Proactive Sourcing program: 

We need candidates to be ready when there’s a potential opening. HR should provide a “Virtual Bench” that is always populated with top talent.  Use this Virtual Bench Toolkit to make the process easier.  You can download it here.


New ideas on where to find quality talent: 

As a Sales leader, I’m inclined to hire within my industry. But sometimes I need help sourcing candidates with a fresh perspective.


Clear-cut hiring process: ‘We need to understand the workflow for hiring a candidate. And HR should be responsible for holding everyone accountable to that workflow.


Succession planning:  

Many times, an open position—be it senior level or sales rep—can be filled by an internal candidate. But I’m focused on generating revenue, not prepping these company members. We need a list of internal candidates that can be promoted.


Standard job profile:

We need to be prepared with a solid job description of competencies and capabilities that any given role should have.


Accurate Salary Benchmarks:

HR should provide a benchmark for what we can pay in our industry. This way, we can recruit the best candidates. As always, you get what you pay for.


Still, sourcing talent is only one half the battle. We also need help from HR in developing that talent.


Onboard and develop talent:

As VP of Sales, I’m responsible for creating the onboarding and development program. Still, I rely on HR to effectively carry it out.


Here’s what you can provide to help us execute this program.


Overall guidelines:

The entire company needs a set of guidelines for the boarding and development process. But we also need one tailored specifically for the Sales team.


Emphasis on behavioral traits:

New hires need to be up-to-speed on our products, but they also must possess the appropriate behavioral traits. HR needs to ensure these candidates have what it takes to be successful in the industry.


Coaching methodology:

This aspect of the process is the most disregarded portion of any development program. However, it makes the most impact. HR needs to execute a coaching program tailored to the Sales team.


Resources to hold leaders accountable:

The onboarding process isn’t complete without a Learning Management System. With these follow-up resources in place, we can be sure the development program is effective.


As business partners, Sales and HR can work together for the benefit of the entire organization. With our turnover rate, we know we need to be proactively recruiting new talent. And with your resources and expertise, we can make that happen.


Please consider the items proposed above.




VP of Sales


Dan Perry

Intensely focused on helping sales and marketing leaders in B2B companies make their numbers at SBI.
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Dan approaches the idea of making your number from a unique perspective. Like many SBI leaders, he has walked a mile in your shoes. He comes from the industry side and has had to make his number to be successful. Perhaps this is why it’s wise to rely on SBI’s evidence-based methodologies. Though SBI is certainly an execution-based firm, Dan only implements strategies and solutions for his clients after they have been verified with before-and-after data. This leads to adoption of sales programs in the field, rather than shelf-ware.

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