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What Is a VP of Sales?

By Clayton Spangle

Last updated: Feb 22, 2023

Because of the importance of sales for organizational growth, the VP of Sales is a key figure in most corporate hierarchies. Learn more about what they do.

Credit: Unsplash
Credit: Unsplash

A VP of Sales is responsible for overseeing a company’s sales department. As a senior executive, they collaborate with the rest of the leadership team to set organizational goals, then direct the sales team in reaching those goals.

Because of the importance of sales for organizational growth, the VP of Sales is a key figure in most companies’ hierarchy. In some cases, they may report to a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), Chief Growth Officer (CGO), or Director of Sales. In most companies, however, the VP of Sales will report directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

What Are the Responsibilities of a VP of Sales?

The exact duties of a VP of Sales can vary depending on how an organization is structured. Common responsibilities include:

  • Monitoring the market and competitor activity to identify new sales opportunities
  • Setting sales targets and goals
  • Developing sales strategies
  • Managing the sales department
  • Recruiting and training sales staff
  • Overseeing employee performance reviews
  • Resolving conflict between coworkers
  • Outlining and managing sales budgets
  • Anticipating customer needs and improving customer satisfaction
  • Assisting with major transactions
  • Creating regular sales reports for the leadership team

What Skills Does a VP of Sales Need?

Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills must be a major part of any VP of Sales’ toolkit. That starts with the interpersonal skills required to connect with customers and sell products, but also includes working with sales teams and other leaders.


Communication is key to making sales and interacting with other employees. This includes both verbal and nonverbal communication, as body language can have a major impact on how the VP of Sales is perceived by their staff and peers. By prioritizing positive communication, the VP of Sales can create a healthier company culture and a more efficient workplace.


Because the VP of Sales is an executive position, they will need a variety of leadership skills, such as the ability to:

  • Manage and inspire employees
  • Train recruits
  • Delegate tasks
  • Provide constructive feedback
  • Acknowledge exemplary team members
  • Resolve conflict
  • Implement policies that promote a positive work environment
  • Set a personal example for others to follow

Organizational Skills

Serving as a VP of Sales isn’t just a matter of personal skills. They will also need plenty of organizational skills, including:

  • Planning budgets
  • Setting realistic goals
  • Reporting critical information to the leadership team

Plus, they will need to ensure that all sales department’s operations align with the vision and priorities of the company as a whole.

Recruitment and Employee Evaluation

Often, the VP of Sales will work with the Human Resources department to recruit new team members for the sales department and evaluate existing employees. Both of these responsibilities require an aptitude for talent scouting and personnel management.

What Education Does a VP of Sales Need?

Most candidates for a VP of Sales role will have at least a bachelor’s degree. However, due to the high status of a VP of Sales within a company’s structure, recruiters will likely favor a candidate with a master’s degree.

Beyond this, becoming a VP of Sales will generally require extensive experience in both sales roles and management positions.

How Much Does a VP of Sales Earn?

According to Glassdoor, the average base salary for a VP of Sales in the United States is $165,886. The low-end of the pay scale is $100,000, while the highest earners can expect to make roughly $275,000.

What Is the Career Path of a VP of Sales?

If you want to become a VP of Sales, the first step is pursuing the right education. Not only will a degree in a relevant field help you reach your career goals, but it can also be a great way to make connections and grow your network. This may open doors to promising professional opportunities later on.

Some fields of study that are relevant to a sales career include:

  • Finance
  • Economics
  • Business administration
  • Organizational management
  • Marketing
  • International business
  • Entrepreneurship

As mentioned above, it is possible to become a VP of Sales with only a bachelor’s degree. But to increase your chances of finding your dream job, consider getting a Master of Business Administration (MBA). This will help you stand out against any competitors for the position.

Once you have the appropriate degree, you’ll want to start building a substantial portfolio. Enter the world of sales and demonstrate your ability to close deals and retain customers. Take initiative within your company, encourage your coworkers, and earn the trust of your supervisors.

Seek out leadership roles whenever possible, as well. For example, you could volunteer to train new hires or lead team projects. Regardless, go the extra mile to establish a reputation as a helpful, hardworking, and motivated sales professional.

With time and dedication, you should be able to climb the ladder, achieving higher levels of authority within the company hierarchy. Once you’ve proven yourself as an effective sales leader, you can put yourself forward as a candidate for VP of Sales—in the same company or after a switch.

Good luck! We’re rooting for you.

One of the best ways to plan your career journey is by adding yourself to a public organizational chart. This will help you understand how you fit into the broader hierarchy so you can plan your career progression.

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