In the many organizations I’ve worked with, the CEOs generally fall into one of two camps; those that provide sales leadership and those that don’t. In my experience, the CEOs that work with their sales teams make the biggest impact on their companies. If the company has less than $10 million in annual sales, the CEO’s impact maybe even greater. For growing technology companies, the CEO make a large difference in their sales success. A big part of my job as a coach is identifying how a CEO can get involved in the sales process so it’s keeps moving, not slow it down, and to help close more sales.
When entrepreneurs start their companies, they don’t realize the extent of their involvement with sales and marketing. For many people, this makes them very uncomfortable. They don’t see themselves as being very good in sales, and they don’t want to be. However when you explore the history of many successful high growth technology businesses, you discover one of the things they have in common, their CEOs have been willing to get involved in the sales and marketing of their products and services. Because of their role and visibility, many have become their companies’ spokespersons.
To grow the business and become as successful as possible, it’s pretty important that you become a salesperson. Don’t be afraid, jump in and take a sales course. You can find a course that resonants with you using a book, audio program, or online. Learning the sales function allows you to coach your team in sales. If your company is big enough to have a Sales Manager, you can work with him (or her) to get the results you’re looking for. Get involved in the process early. Don’t wait until the deal falls through to try to figure out what went wrong.
The key to success in this is to systematize your sales process. Tracking the sales funnel, forecasts , and closing rates lets you know where trouble is brewing before you lose the sales. You can get involved earlier and perhaps change the outcome. You don’t have to step on your Sales Manager’s toes to get involved. Successful MSPs and VARs have the CEO involved in the sales process. This shows a level of commitment that moves the deal along and increases the odds of success.
If you don’t have a standardized sales process, that’s the first step. Let your sales and marketing people know that you’re available to help them during the business development process. Make sure you let the members of your team know that you’re part of the team and will play the role they need to help them succeed. I think you will be glad you did!