Sales and the CEO
The Cost of the “Disconnect” between CEO's & Sales
Why it is Crucial that the CEO play an integral role in Sales? The most important reason is answered in question form. Who has the most to gain and the most to lose from a sales team’s business development activities? Many Business Owners make a crucial mistake in putting the financial future into the hands of their sales team! We are not implying that you should not do everything possible to create a sales team that is self reliant and responsible for their sales quotas. However, when there is a disconnect between the leader and sales team, this is where a long-term pervasive problem begins.
The Problems associated with the Sales Black Box. The black box view of sales is an attitude often found in Presidents, CEO’s or Business Owners who do not have a background in or an intimate knowledge of the problems inherent in sales. They set organizational goals that are dependent on revenue numbers and so present sales goals to the black box of the sales department and anxiously await the outcome without managing the intricacies of reaching the goal—namely they fail to oversee the microcosm of day to day activities that are required to meet the goal. This laissez faire mentality often results in a disappointed and frustrated CEO. In order to realize revenue goals sales management needs to arm itself with an array of skills—a skill-set that allows them to effectively manage what occurs between the one extreme of goal setting and the other extreme of goal realization. In other words, they must learn to identify, anticipate, and then effectively deal with those common sales constraints that frustrate organizational efforts in reaching their revenue goals.
The Negative Effect: Failure to identify, anticipate and correct the most frequently occurring sales issues and obstacles results in organizations scaling back their revenue goals.
Have you ever wondered why it is that:
Sales people fail to diplomatically confront common objections?
Sales People are simply not proactive or are ineffective at prospecting?
Sales People look at your product as a commodity and rely on price slashing to secure the deal?
Your sales organization must follow a strategy or MAP (Measurable Assistance Plan) developed by the company - and you, the CEO, must lead this critical process. Goal or quotas without a MAP are rarely met or exceeded.
After the exuberant 90’s sales people did very little selling, yet did a great job of taking orders, we had to adapt to an increasingly complex world that requires real selling skills. Your sales people are the most critical component of your business. The sales engine, when not running properly, impacts every area of your business. In order to drive business, the CEO, need not understand every aspect of that engine, but he or she must understand the basic maintenance to keep the engine running and the CEO must realize when the engine is not running properly and where to go to repair it. Automakers are considerate enough to put warning lights on our dashboards, unfortunately warning lights don’t come with a business and it’s up to you to identify and act upon sales problems.
When we at Peak Performance question most Business Owners about the condition of their company, more often than not the Business Owner may know that things are not good or not what they should be. At best some know of the symptoms such as low closing ratios, margin eroding price slashing or extended sales cycles that have led bloated pipelines and complacent sales people. Unfortunately these are merely symptoms and not the root cause of sales problems. As such, treating the symptom usually results in a costly short term benefit.