Who is a CEO salesperson? What are his qualities? Read on to know more.
As a sales trainer, writer and salesperson I have read close to 15 books in B2B sales to date including B2B sales bestsellers like SPIN Selling, Challenger Sales, Strategic Selling and many more. I have attended 10 live workshops and taken dozen of online courses and after reading and re-reading all these books, taking online courses and watching many videos, I can identify a common pattern of what all the B2B sales teachers are trying to teach us.
These are my observations:
- As a B2B salesperson, you need to view yourself as a Business Consultant and a solution consultant for what you are selling. You could be selling any product across any industry, as a B2B salesperson you are either helping a business to make money or save money,
- To be good as a salesperson you should internalize below mentioned 15 skills
- Presentation skill
- Negotiation skills
- Virtual selling skills
- Objection handling skills
- Large account management skills
- Customer researching skills
- Listening skills
- Storytelling skills
- Sales Conversation skills
- Questioning skills
- Professional networking skills
- Large opportunity management skills
- Sales Leadership skills
- Time management skills
- B2B marketing
Now, every author and every book has a different way of explaining this. But, more or less at a macro level, all the best sellers on B2B sales teach you this. They have their own version of presenting their knowledge.
However, Every Salesperson is unique. His journey is unique. You could be a Sales Director working for a large organisation managing billion $ accounts and expected to grow business at double-digit growth. Or you could be someone with 5-year of experience, working for a new age start-up that is in the hyper-growth stage. Or you could also be a Sales veteran hired by an organisation whose market is shrinking year after year.
Every salesperson on this planet is unique.
Maybe that’s why Technology can never be able to completely replace B2B sales.
Whatever situation we might be in, there is one common thread among us all. We want to sell and make a lot of money for our organisation and ourselves.
There is no doubting that what B2B sales books teach us is fundamental to being a successful Salesperson. It is also true that without following their advice you can’t expect to be successful in sales.
But, after having a short stint in Entrepreneurship and 15+ years in sales I have realised that what B2B sales teach us is not enough, especially in the current age.
Never before in the history of mankind have customers been so well informed. Trying and buying business solutions were never this easy.
Never before was there so much capital flooded in the market and starting and growing a business wasn’t this easy,
Today, there has become so much disruption in the market that within no time what you sell becomes irrelevant because, in some corner of the world, a Venture-backed innovative startup is making something that can jeopardize the existence of decade long businesses.
This era has made it a buyers’ market. Today in the true sense, the customer is KING.
This has never happened in such a magnitude in the history of capitalism. In the current age, Customers decide the fate of a company. They decide whether a salesperson’s career will succeed or sink.
So, I asked myself a question.
Can a B2B salesperson succeed in all situations in the current economy by following the knowledge we have received from B2B sales Books or teachings from B2B sales gurus?
I realized it is not enough.
That’s when I stumbled on this Term called ‘CEO Salesperson’
I realized that to be successful in this economy it is not enough to be a good salesperson. What you need is to transform yourself into a CEO Salesperson.
What is CEO Salesperson and What do they do? Where do they come from?
Let’s focus on the first part of this word i.e “ CEO”
What are the top 3 key responsibilities of a CEO?
- A CEO’s role is to set the strategy of the organisation.
- CEO sets metrics of measurement of growth.
- CEO facilitates all the functions of the business to achieve organisations business objectives.
Let’s take the example of Steve Jobs. When he became the CEO of apple in 1997 it was his strategy to cut down 70% of Apple’s existing product line. He instead decided to focus on only 5 products.
Let’s take Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s example. It was his strategy to bring the metaverse to life and help people connect. He made finding communities and building businesses the work of a single button.
What does a CEO do?
CEOs set strategies for organisations. This strategy includes –
1) The direction in which the company is going to move
2) How much revenue they will make
3) What new products company is going to launch
4) What new markets company is going to enter
If I have to compare the CEO’s role with the CEO Salespersons’ role, I can see the following similarities. A CEO salesperson sets strategies on how he will achieve the sales quota.
As a seasoned B2B salesperson, there is no better person in the company to understand how his territory works, no better person to have a better relationship with the customers in his territory. CEO salesperson is the best salesperson to set strategies for his territory.
CEO salesperson is the best person to set the right quota for himself. I genuinely believe that salespeople should have a say in setting their quota for themselves. It is not difficult to set the right quota. For setting a sales quota you need to know the past performance of the territory, Business Potential of the territory, Current sales funnel, Business development activities that need to be performed to generate additional sales funnel. Now, many feel if salespeople are given the authority to set a quota for themselves they will end up setting a conservative quota and it might affect the organisation’s overall growth.
I believe that’s where the sales leadership role comes into play. A sales leader explains to the salespeople who set conservative quotas for themselves that if they want to grow monetarily they need to show growth to the organisation and if they are too conservative in their quota setting they might become irrelevant for their organisation.
The second responsibility of a CEO is to be the facilitator of all the divisions of the organisation and achieve companies business Objectives.
A CEO is a master facilitator. He is the centrifugal force to whom everyone reaches out to for inspiration or solution. He is the one who holds all the functions of the organisation together and moves the organisation further.
Think of a company as a ship, the CEO would be the Captain and he would be responsible for steering the ship and ensuring that the ship is constantly moving towards its destination
Similarly, a CEO salesperson is a centrifugal force for his territory he is the one who holds different divisions of the organisation. It could be marketing, support, finance, legal, especially if you work for a large opportunity in a large organisation. He uses his facilitation, team building and leadership skills to get the best out of his team and eventually is responsible to close sales opportunities and achieve the business objectives of his organisations.
3. Setting Metrics
The third responsibility of a CEO is to set the right metrics. A CEO sets and monitors metrics for his immediate reportees, that is, the heads of all business functions and they, in turn, set metrics for other team members and eventually for all the divisions within the organisation.
There is a famous saying…
what gets measured gets monitored, what gets monitored gets done.
Metrics are the lifeblood of business. Without metrics, you can’t run a business. It can be a hobby but not a business.
CEO’s responsibility is to set the right metrics and train his immediate team to set the right metrics for their teams.
As a CEO salesperson, you set metrics for yourself and the people in your territory who help you generate business.
You set metrics like, for example, how many meetings you will do in a month. You should set metrics for your marketing team to align with your BD activities, you should set metrics with partners and anyone who assists you in generating a sales pipeline, you should set metrics for Customer Sat scores to help you manage your customer better.
Without metrics, it’s like reinventing the wheel every time. You are clueless about what’s working and what’s not working in your sales strategy.
CEO salesperson is focused on his metrics and uses them as a guiding force to meet his business objectives.
Apart from these 3 common responsibilities below are the traits you will find among CEO salesperson
The Traits of a CEO salesperson include:
- Bias towards action
- Bias towards problem-solving
- A Bias towards learning
- Bias towards planning
- Bias towards asking relevant and intelligent questions
- A Bias towards teamwork
- Bias towards customer success
I genuinely believe any Salesperson with a CEO mindset will always succeed in every business situation. Now, the definition of success is not just achieving sales quota because that is never 100% dependent on the sales team. There are other factors like the Potential of the territory, Product, company, prices, competition which are beyond a salesperson’s control.
But a CEO salesperson irrespective of the sales situation will always be able to put make the best decisions and has the best approach to deal with the situation.
For CEO salesperson Company and product are always incidental as they will do the best possible sales with any company and any product.
So moving forward whenever you come across a challenging situation where you have applied all possible knowledge taught you through traditional B2B sales books ask yourself how a CEO salesperson will handle the situation and you will find the answer.
I hope this blog has inspired you to be a CEO salesperson. If you found this blog interesting, do like and share. If you have any questions regarding sales as a career, please leave a comment. I am always happy to help.
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