Grab a cup of whatever fuels you and settle in for an insightful story: Jeremy, a startup founder, thought he hired the perfect VP of Sales. But within 16 months, she walks out the door, leaving him reeling with questions. Turns out, he’s not alone in this struggle.
Could the fault be closer than it appears? Could it have been avoided in the first place? Is there really a way to defy the sales turnover odds in tech (16–24 months depending on what stat you’re reading)?
Buckle up, I’m going to dig into:
- The 5 major reasons startups say goodbye to their VP of Sales
- What’s really important when onboarding and retaining a sales leader
- Actionable tips you can implement to dodge this costly hiccup in your startup’s growth trajectory
The Top 4 Reasons Your VP of Sales Might Jump Ship
It starts with an effective hiring process. If that’s broken, you’re in serious jeopardy of losing the person you worked so hard to hire.
Four things to nail down before you start the hiring process:
- Understand the work it takes to succeed for your business, this role, and your stage.
- Know what good looks like to make a confident hiring decision instead of using the hiring process to try to figure that out.
- Measure what matters for your hire, not what everyone else tells you.
- Create a hiring scorecard to remove FOMO and fear.
Identifying why sales leaders leave is the key to retaining them long-term. Let’s dig into these factors and discern how proactive adjustments can yield measurable outcomes.
1. They don’t have a seat at your table, lost it, or never got it
As Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, said, “A seat at the executive table means trust, access, and visibility.” Fall short in delivering these, and it’s no surprise why a sales leader may seek greener pastures.