It’s critical in today’s business world that CEO take a much more hands-on approach to sales.
The CEO formulates the entire strategy, operation and culture of the business and oversees the execution and so many salespeople are disconnected from these core values.
And it doesn’t matter how big or small the company is.
But how can you as a time-starved CEO handle a hands-on approach?
It’s not so much about taking control of the salesforce, even if you are a sales-focused CEO, its more about leadership and showing your salesforce and other employees that you are able to lead from the front, to show an interest and to understand the frustrations that go with the job of a salesperson.
Here is one very good reason why you should get involved:
Nobody has a better understanding of the company than you and it’s not about getting into the detail, it’s understanding the key message that the business can deliver to its customers.
Many salespeople are often too focused on the product or service side of the sales process and don’t have the necessary commercial acumen to surround the product with the necessary “big picture” commercial message that adds gravitas.
As a CEO, you have to sell your company to both its investors and customers, even if the company is yours, you want to make sure that you have a strong going concern and can answer the tough questions that usually come from investors.
And you must be able to equally sell the company to potential customers.
It’s almost a guarantee that you will sell your company in a totally different way to your salespeople and this is where potential problems can arise.
You do not want a clear message that dominates your business plan or annual report, to be diluted as it filters down to you salesmen in the front line of business.
In larger companies, salespeople almost work in a bubble within the company and many can be out in the field travelling and delivering presentations to customers, organizing product demonstrations and on the face of it, being extremely active.
Yet sales quotas are not being met.
As you have to endure the fact that your targets are not being hit and therefore profits can be impacted, your first reaction would be to closely look at the people responsible.
And quite rightly so.
However, the problem may not be with the people, but with the way the people are operating.
If you get to this stage then please don’t simply throw everyone on management and sales training courses, as invariable, you incur a load of cost and the wonderful techniques and strategies that you have paid dearly for your people to learn are left back in the training center.
Take control of the problem firsthand and start to look at how your salespeople are approaching the process and what they are saying to your customers.
You may find that the problem is sitting right under your nose.
Finally, getting more involved will give you a much clearer understanding of what is going on in the real world and it may cause you to re-evaluate sales performance targets, one way or the other.
Remember, sometimes the General has to get on the battlefield!
You can read more about Sales training at Neil Franklin‘s Blog.