Traditionally, most CEO's reach their position having risen through finance or operations. Even today, fewer CEOs come from sales – or at least had extended involvement with their company's B2B sales process. That sales experience gap can leave some top executives feeling disadvantaged when dealing with the sales organization on a nuts and bolts level. (It may also cause them to delay early, healthy challenges to suspect sales efforts; even when their gut tells them something is off.)
CEO's short on sales experience must rely solely on the advice and counsel of their sales leader. Fortunate CEO's have a sales leader who, through communications and process transparency, provides their boss all the insight they need to feel on top of the function. This is true whether the sales news is good or not.
What Today's CEO's should expect from sales leadership:
- Mange their sales team to consistently "make the number"
- Define and execute a go to market sales strategy aligned with company goals
- Commitment to a sales process that the C-Team understands, trusts and can measure
- Alignment with marketing on B2B lead creation responsibility and goals
- A "sales investment plan" to ensure continued improvement in win rates, sale revenue growth and individual productivity
Is your sales leader meeting these standards? CEO's must be able to inspect sales and the selling process with the same level of rigor they apply to any other critical business function. They need a sales leader who understands that reality and works with the CEO and C-Team as though it's the company's accounts and pipeline, not their reps'. If they don't get it, perhaps it's time for a hiring a new sales leader.