As CEO of your company, you’re probably overrun with jobs to do, people demanding your attention every other minute and an overarching responsibility to ensure the success of your company.
At the end of the day, a CEO has to report back to his or her board of directors and demonstrate year-on-year sales success. While no CEO should micro-manage their head of sales, every single one should take a serious interest in the way that all-important department is going. Introducing a CEO into the mix can often be the nudge any prospective customer needs to sign on the dotted line; it shows that you see them as important enough to dedicate your time to and makes them feel truly wanted.
So, how can you, as a CEO help to create sales success?
1) Talk to other CEOs
You should be engaging with the CEOs of certain key accounts to forge strong relationships with your customers and prospects. Not only will this help to bolster customer retention as, ultimately, the buck lies with them, but liaising directly with senior management during the sales process can also help to move a sale along.
Establishing a CEO-to-CEO relationship is beneficial to both you and your counterparts’ company. Your customer or prospect has a direct port of call should any questions or queries about your product or service arise, while you can routinely check in with them to ensure they’re happy. It’s a nice touch for them to be able to liaise directly with a CEO; they’ll feel special and like you’re taking the time out of your day just for them, which shows that you care.
2) Devise a systematic sales process
As CEO of your company, you know exactly how all the cogs turn and your experience lends itself to understanding the real nitty-gritty of selling. So when it comes to devising your sales process, you should ensure that you’re involved in creating a sales process.
But be sure to also include your sales team and managers in the creation of your sales process. They’re interacting with your market and talking to your prospects and customers every single day, they will know a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t. Together, with your business acumen and their industry wisdom, you’ll be able to create an airtight sales process that has a higher possibility of ending in a yes .
From the basics of prospecting to how to approach each sale, a well-defined, well thought out sales process can aid in ensuring a professional picture is painted of your company during every customer interaction. Forget whimsically diving into every sale, hoping for one to close; a sales process should be a repeatable, scalable and systematic approach to selling that allows each of your salespeople to demonstrate knowledge about your product.
3) Spend time with your salespeople
This is (or should be) an incredibly important part of your role as a CEO. There’s little use being a boss that sits in an office, door closed to the world and not knowing the names of the newest members of your sales team. Despite your position in the company, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and spend time at the coalface of your business.
A few hours here or there spent with your salespeople can not only reduce the level of intimidation that, naturally, they may feel towards you as a CEO, but they’ll start to see you as a trusted colleague that they can come to for advice.
You by no means need to get involved in the day-to-day sales operation; that’s what you have managers for. But take the time to sit in on sales meetings (even if you don’t have anything to say), have a look at sales pipelines and periodically review performance vs. targets. Spending time with your salespeople will help them to understand that you don’t perceive them just as the moneymakers, but as people, and integral ones at that.
4) Invest in your sales team
In a fast-paced and ever changing profession, investing in your salespeople is often one of the many things you can do as a CEO to bolster motivation and efficiency.
Invest in your sales team’s development, whether that’s professional training and qualifications, or if they want to spend 20 minutes with you to run through their pitch for advice about a deal that’s on the table; make sure they know they can come to you for advice and support.
What’s more, if there are tools and technology out there that can help them to do their job that little bit better, don’t brush them off. If there are tools that can help with ordering, marketing, creating reports or even analyzing data, take the time to have a look at them and evaluate if they would aid in your team’s overall sales success.