How to Escape the VP of Sales Hamster Wheel


This is the view from the hamster wheel. Questions, distractions, an endless to-do list – and everybody wants to talk to you. That’s not helping. How will you make your number in the time you have left?


You can do it. There are steps you can take.


Are you working 70 hours a week and barely moving the needle?


Establish a Cadence:

Start by adding more structured cadence into your routine. You may find this easier than you imagine. Let’s look at ways to quiet the noise and cut the confusion. Apply them to regain control toward reaching your goal.


Structure a plan for what you really need to discuss. Twice a month, talk with your team about leading indicators. And twice a month make the conversation about lagging indicators. 


Sharpen Your Focus on the Indicators:

What are the leading indicators? What’s happening with the MQLs and SQLs? How many inquiries are rising to the top of the funnel? What are the conversion rates? Review the number of leads handed off by vertical, deal size or ideal customer. Are those metrics encouraging?


On the lagging indicator side, what did you close? Did you reach your revenue goals? Where are you on the late-stage deals? Did you get the big deal you had in your sights?


Work closely and in alignment with marketing. Analyze both sets of indicators for the quarter you’re closing.


Building the Better Work Week:

Then turn to the quarters ahead. Ask your team what their leads, pipeline and leading indicators look like going forward. Too often, the emphasis is on this quarter, this month, this week. You need a longer view.


While defining how your month will look, do the same for your sales reps. Shape their week like yours.


Make Mondays and Fridays office days, for meetings. Tuesdays through Thursdays, reps are in the field – those are their travel days. As much as possible, those are your travel days, too, for ride-alongs.


It’s easy to get lax about this structure. Stay disciplined.


The Big Deal:

The big deals are the ones the VP of sales should watch closely. A handful of them can be the difference between making and missing the number.


But you don’t have to talk about every deal every week. That becomes a tiresome rehash. It’s inefficient, and inefficiency is the enemy.  Focusing on the most important deals requires a plan.  Download and review our Big Deal Strategy Tool here.  It will give you a process best practices you need to successful close your big deals.  


Get Ahead of the Game:

And, in these last quarters, start preparing for next year. There’s no time like now to begin your annual planning process. That’s another way to keep your to-do list manageable.


Set aside some time each week to work on this. That’s more efficient and leads to better results than rushing at the end. This, too, comes under the umbrella of better planning and better structure.


Sometimes You Have to Say No:

You can’t be everything to everybody, nor can you be endlessly available. Everyone wants your time. Everyone will want to talk about numbers. But everything can’t be a priority. There will be occasions when you’ll have to turn down requests.


The key is to know what to decline, when to say no. You’ll have to be disciplined about it. And you’ll still need to get people the information they need. 


One essential time saver is CRM. Make sure it’s always current. Managers can then pull their own reports. And you won’t have multiple executives calling you for updates on big deals. 


Structure a Better Way to Work:

That will leave you with more time and less mental clutter. Bring structure to your day, your week and your month. Let it clear the clouds and help you see how to make the number.


John Staples

Leads teams of highly qualified experts, all relentless in their pursuit of helping you make your number.
Learn more about John Staples >

John is the global leader of SBI’s account management business unit. As such, he and his team help clients across 19 verticals drive top line growth and operational efficiency in sales and marketing.


John’s marketing, sales and product expertise span a multichannel strategic approach. He has an unyielding focus on strategic and key account development, which enables strategic alignment between all functional team members in order to reduce acquisition cost and increase lifetime value.


His broad experience in sales, marketing, product and engineering allows him to bring a unique problem solving approach to his team and clients. As he has discovered through decades of experience, clients are often distracted by the symptoms of a larger problem and overlook the root cause of it.


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