This is a critical hire you want to get right the first time around

How to Hire the Right VP of Sales for Your Startup

Amy Volas


Sales recruiting is broken. The sad truth is that VP of Sales are turning over within 19 months — and that timeline is shrinking.

Not only that, the market has heated way back up and the VP of Sales is one of the most sought after roles. Yet, it’s one of the hardest to fill due to a supply vs. demand issue.

What is the hardest executive hire you’ve made?

Image from First Round’s State of Startups Report

To add insult to injury, the odds are against the first VP of Sales hired in a startup, churning within 12 months.

The consequences of getting this critical hire wrong are devastating:

One of the main reasons startups struggle getting this hire right is because of the language barrier between technical founders and sales. Technical founders tend to focus on outcomes, where sales leaders focus on the why and how to get there first. This isn’t linear and there are many shades of grey when it comes to sales.

Therein lies the dilemma.

This isn’t an MVP scenario. This is a hire you want to get right the first time around. The VP of Sales will make or break your startup’s ability to propel you forward. Make the wrong choice, and you’ll be digging yourself out of a deep hole longer than you could imagine.

Here’s where to start.

Getting clear with your startup’s needs

Hiring the right person at the right time with the right background is critical for success, and in a startup, an early head of sales is likely to be a hands-on contributor who also has the capability to manage a handful of people.” — Peter Levine

We recently worked with a startup that was coming off of their 2nd VP of Sales mis-hire in 3 years. When I probed to understand what their hiring process looked like, they shared that they had gone with…



Amy Volas

Helping SaaS startups hire executive Sales and CS leaders without the cringe ⋆ Personally closed $100MM+ ⋆ Founder/CEO ⋆ 2 Exits ⋆ LP ⋆ Sharing lessons here