You’re a small-business sales performer with an enterprise VP job in your sights. Land it and you’ll get more responsibility and, even better, a bigger paycheck. But how do you know you’re ready for that leap?


How can you make it easier?

To go higher in your sales career, know when to make your move and show you’re ready for the jump. Take these steps.


Step 1. Understand Scale and Scalability

Scalability is about results – strengthening sales as activity ramps up. In the new role, you’ll manage more people and be expected to increase revenue.


Establish Processes.

You’ll need to get your team members doing the same things. But you won’t have as much direct, hands-on access to your sales reps. With less contact, holding them accountable or coaching them effectively is more challenging. That means your sales processes and programs will be key to your success.


Step 2. Add Strategic Thinking to Your Tactical Skill

While tactical thinking may have worked before, strategy will serve you better now. Strategic thinking is more forward-looking. Use this wide-screen view as you develop and implement your processes.


Take a longer view to build a stronger sales force. Creating sales practices might be new for you. Maybe you haven’t needed them because you had a tight group of super sellers. But in the new position, you’re part of a different sales culture. This is a larger – and potentially growing – organization. You’ll have more people. They may not all be stars yet.


Step 3. Project an Executive Presence

Display the qualities of a leader. When the unexpected strikes, show your agility in changing directions quickly. When chaos surrounds you, stay calm and in control. At decision time, set emotion aside; it doesn’t belong there. Save emotion for rewarding people for work well done. 


Step 4. Sharpen Your Talents as an Executive Team Player

You may be familiar with collaboration as a member of a small-market team. But don’t get blindsided when you get to the larger market. The organizations are bigger and there are many more people involved.


We’ve found that a clear evaluation of your competencies will help prepare you moving up the ladder.  Download and review our Sales Leader Competency Profile to get a jump on this process.  This tool lists specific sales leader characteristics large organizations look for when evaluating their next hire or promotion.  


Download it here.


Build strong associations with peers. You’re joining a circle of leaders. You’ll need to become integrated into the executive team and interact meaningfully. You need to work well in a group, cultivate talent and develop business relationships. This is critical.


Step 5. Recognize the Right Time

How will you know you’re ready to make the move to enterprise VP? How will you show decision makers you’ve got what it takes? The answers to both questions are the same.


Hit the target. Reach your number consistently and attain your company’s revenue goals. That’s an action-oriented affirmation that you’re a reliable performer.


Make consistently great choices. Demonstrate that your decisions are process-based and systematic.


Be the VP. Perform as though you are the enterprise vice president. To move up to the bigger job, act like you already have it. 


Step 6. Shine in the Interview

Put all the pieces together and you can point back at process and deployment. You’ll have established yourself in the marketplace. Those accomplishments characterize a sales expert who is prepared for a bigger challenge.


Win the job by doing the job

Treat your small market like a large market, sharpen the skills you’ll need in a more demanding environment, train yourself to think and act like a leader. When you take that step into the enterprise VP role, you’ll find that you’re already there, and it’s time for the title and the salary to catch up.


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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