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AE to VP? Advice please!

Been in sales about a decade and an AE for about 5, for a 1000 person tech/security company.


Recently a potential career opportunity has presented itself, by way of a reference from a past manager, for a VP of Sales role for a smaller tech company, about 250 head count.


I’ve always enjoyed the idea of leading and managing people, have had success with it in other capacities in the past, and think I’d do well in that environment, again. But within my sales career, wouldn’t have put a VP role in my 3 year plan. Haha...so it’s taken me a bit by surprise and I’m still trying to process.


I’ve been assured and encouraged by my previous manager (the one referring) that I would do well in this role and that I’d get along very well with the SVP and CEO.


I will definitely pursue the conversation and interview process cuz I’m never one to back down by the idea of a challenge. But...


I thought I’d bring this to the War Room. Has anyone else made a jump like this? How did it go? Successes? Failures? Revert back into AE role? Advise or recommendations?


Thanks in advance, savages!


S.A.D.N.E.S.S.

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4
LordBusiness
Politicker
+7
Chief Revenue Officer
I think it was Richard Branson who said "If someone offers you an amazing job and you don't think you can do it, take it anyway and figure it out".    I made the jump from a MId-Manager sales Director role to a CRO, and while there were a ton of bumps in the road --- its been a cool experience. 

1. Be honest with the SVP and CEO you are interviewing with, that you won't have all the answers and will be doing some learning on the fly. (then be honest with yourself that you won't have all the answers) 

2. Leadership is fairly simple from my perspective.  Build a scalable group of processes for your team to follow to consistently hit their goals.  Where the challenge comes in is humans.  Battling through ego, emotion, etc - your peers/friends/humans WILL let you down at some point in a role like this - are you ready for that? 

3. The average VP of Sales lasts MAYBE 2 years at their company, I've seen some amazing leaders get chewed up and spit out by some companies.  As with anything, success is not guaranteed.  If this role puts you in a good financial spot, take the chance - but be conservative with your spending habits so you can fall on your feet should things not work out. 

Good luck! 
MMMGood
Celebrated Contributor
+10
Senior Account Executive
Thanks, man. That was thoughtful and very helpful! Much appreciated!
NoSuperhero
Politicker
+6
BDR
Congrats my dude! I guess stay humble and involved, and I think the Simon Sinnek advice for this goes pretty well. Go be the boss you always wanted to have and I'm sure you'll do great!
MMMGood
Celebrated Contributor
+10
Senior Account Executive
Thank you!
Coffeesforclosers
Notable Contributor
+11
Director Sales and Market Development
If you are a leader and successful at it and what you want to do, go for it. You'll notice the role you have at the larger firm is VP level esque at the smaller one so you may already be doing the job. Also as an IC and a good one, make the jump, leave the right way, keep that door open in case it isn't all glitter is gold at the new place. Only way to know is of you try. Best part about this not being in the plan is plans change, just like a close plan, right? Go get it! 
MMMGood
Celebrated Contributor
+10
Senior Account Executive
Thanks!
Coffeesforclosers
Notable Contributor
+11
Director Sales and Market Development
I took that leap 7ish years ago and haven't looked back. 
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GlenRoss
Politicker
+6
Account Executive
Good luck in the interview! Sounds like a great opportunity
MMMGood
Celebrated Contributor
+10
Senior Account Executive
Much appreciated. 
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