Starting Your SaaS VP Sales as a "Player-Coach" - Just Digital - Digital Recruitment for Technology Companies

Starting Your SaaS VP Sales as a “Player-Coach”

Starting Your SaaS VP Sales as a “Player-Coach”

23rd May 2017

Starting Your SaaS VP Sales as a “Player-Coach”

When you have some initial traction but well before initial scale, you will be looking to hire your VP of Sales. Unless you have a tonne of funding this can be a daunting prospect. You are generating revenue, but maybe not enough to be fully sustainable or drive the pace of growth you want.
At this stage, hiring a VP of Sales looks expensive, but is entirely necessary.


You are looking to hire an individual with the highest salary in the company, particularly if they hit or exceed target, as expected. This hire will feel daunting compared to the Sales Executives you have already hired, as they are far cheaper and most likely pay for themselves, comfortably. This is a big step and you will be getting well into six figures to secure a great candidate, possibly on basic alone, depending on your ARR and AOVs.


Minimise the risk and make your first VP of Sales hire a Player-Coach with their own quota.

It’s entirely reasonable to expect your VP of Sales to carry a quota whilst the team is small. If your sales team is 2-3 strong, it shouldn’t be a big deal to carry an individual number which can be adjusted downwards as responsibilities and workload elsewhere increase. This means they are not just a pure cost centre on your profit and loss.


Carrying a quota is also a great test of leadership!

The VP of Sales hire is super risky and a high percentage don’t work-out. Depending on which statistics, you read, possibly 50% don’t last twelve months. Assuming you’ve hired a great sales leader, assign an overall number and budget, and they will figure out the rest.

In the end, that’s all that matters. A good VP of Sales will quickly figure how to achieve that number, what they need to sell, what support the team needs and how to ramp-up sales.
A great sales leader will be able to determine if the focus on their personal quota is counter-productive and re-prioritise.


Allocating an individual quota for your VP of Sales won’t matter in the medium term!

If your new VP starts with their own quota, if they do a good job they most likely won’t have the time for a personal quota after two or three quarters, particularly if you are scaling at pace with high velocity.
If you are seeing strong ROI after 2-3 quarters, you won’t care how the job gets done if the overall quota is being achieved, sales are scaling nicely, and you are operating within budget.

Just go with whatever works.


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