April 22, 2017

Sales Planning and Execution - CEO Involvement

Sales Execution by CEO

CEO has to be the Chief Sales Person of the organization.CEOs Need to Get Serious About Sales

CEO has to be the Chief Sales Person of the organization. He may have to personally interact with the important clients and clinch the sale. His deal making and negotiation skills come in handy in this activity. Sales requires product knowledge and CEO will demonstrate his knowledge about the products that his company is making and selling by making a sales presentation himself.

Ram Trichur, Maria Valdivieso de Uster, and Jon Vander Ark, authors of the article "CEOs Need to Get Serious About Sales" published in Harvard Business Review in 2012 state that CEOs who put sales management at the heart of their agenda have captured astonishing growth — outstripping their peers by 50 to 80 percent in terms of revenue and profitability.

They recommend three activities as highly significant to drive sales growth.

Crank up the analytics
Build a lean selling machine (Identify and eliminate waste - It may remove unnecessary activities and free up salesmen's time for more productive activities.)
Make sales a team sport.

CEOs and CSOs

As Chief Executive Officer, the CEO is ultimately responsible for the decisions that are made at the highest levels of the company and the results of those decisions. This is the position where all of the other C-Level decisions and strategies come together for a final decision and corporate strategy. Therefore, the CEO takes input from each of the other C-Levels. 

At the top of the administrative or executive side of the organization is the CEO.  This tier is the Visionary level. Every organization needs a visionary – someone sees the opportunities and comes up with plans to utilize the opportunity for the benefit of the organization. This is the person who has
the longest view of the future of the organization, industry, markets, etc.

The second tier of an organization is the Strategic Level. These individuals are part of the  planning team for the future as well, but they have a more near-term view objectives to satisfy. Their focus is on developing the necessary strategies for achieving the corporate plan prepared and got approved by the CEO.  At this level are Chief Financial Officer whose responsibility is to plan for the financial future of the organization and then manage the corporate expenditures accordingly, the Chief Operations Officer who plans for the future of the operational functions and capabilities while overseeing the existing production of the organization, the Chief Marketing Officer etc.. This second tier, the strategic level, is known as the C-Suite or the C-Level.

The CEO may be thinking and planning for three to five years in the future while the strategic levels focus two to three years out.

The third tier is the Tactical level. Typically this is the vice presidential level where leaders are handed the corporate strategies and then are expected to develop and execute the tactics necessary to make the strategies happen.

The CEO position is actually an amalgam of all of the C-Levels. The CEO is ultimately responsible for the corporate expenditures making this person the Super Chief Financial Officer (SCFO). They are also ultimately responsible for the operational efficiencies and effectiveness so they are also the Super Chief Operations Officer (SCOO). He is also the Super Chief Marketing and Sales Officer.

What are the activities of the CEO-as-CSO? Here are a few tips based on some value-added selling principles:

•  Ask your salespeople good questions and develop the whole organization: Rather than asking them how many sales calls they are going to make or how many units they are going to sell, ask them questions like, “What are the top three problems your customer is facing right now and what can we do to help them?”

•  Take the same sales training and refresher courses. Stay on top of your game as a sales officer by keeping your sales skills sharp. You will understand the principles and techniques your salespeople are using and you will be supporting the concept of continuous sales improvement.

•  Think strategic:  The CSO is exposed to the latest ideas in the market and in the industries they serve. Balance the “latest and greatest” with the wisdom of the streets. Ask the salespeople before implementing new ideas and programs and assess pros and cons.

•  Network with other CEO-CSO’s. When you are a part of a CEO networking group, learn from others and develop your CSO skills.

CSO White Paper Series from Chuck Reaves, CSP, CPAE, CSO

When CEOs establish a personal rapport with their customers, the results invariably demonstrate why the sales function merits more of their time and energy. A CEO writes, "apart from  my impact on sales, I also know the opportunities I’ve had to get closer to the marketplace have contributed to my effectiveness as a CEO; they have helped me to identify priorities and to guide the company."

The CEO brings another factor to the customer interface. He or she has a unique perspective of the company-cutting across all divisions and subsidiaries. That means the CEO may spot opportunities others could overlook.




Harvard Business School Working Knowledge

MBA Class of 1973 Senior Lecturer of Business Administration

CEO and Sales


Latest Book on Sales
Contemporary Selling: Building Relationships, Creating Value

Mark W. Johnston, Greg W. Marshall
Routledge, Feb,2016 -  436 pages

Full coverage of 21st century personal selling processes. The overarching theme of the book is enabling salespeople to build relationships successfully and to create value with customers.
Johnston and Marshall have created a comprehensive, holistic source of information about the selling function in modern organizations that links the process of selling (what salespeople do) with the process of managing salespeople (what sales managers do). A strong focus on the modern tools of selling, such as customer relationship management (CRM), social media and technology-enabled selling, and sales analytics, means the book continues to set the standard for the most up-to-date book on selling on the market today.

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