Can You Think Like A CEO?


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Do you know what is on the mind of the CEO, or indeed the CFO in the organizations you are selling? It is their agenda that is increasingly shaping the agenda in all other departments. So, thinking like the CEO or CFO should help you to boost your sales performance and success.

The CEO/CFO Agenda

The number one item on the agenda for business leaders is ‘how to boost results in low growth times’. This reflects the market reality. In selling your product, or solution into any organization, connecting with that agenda is key.


A Crash-Course In ‘Thinking Like A CEO’

Here is a crash course in thinking like a CEO. Simply follow the instructions below.

You are the CEO or CFO of an international company with sales of 100 million who wants to improve the performance on last year, you needed to deliver an extra 2-3 million in new profits to keep shareholders happy and to fund strategic investments in the business and you want the results fast, impacting on the bottom line this quarter and the next. You will find a summary in the visual below.

What would you do? Take a piece of paper and make a list of 3-5 actions, or strategies you would pursue.

Well, in normal times you would drive sales and marketing to increase sales and capture a larger share of the market, but you are in an industry of low growth – just 2%. While you are not giving up on sales, there has to be other strategies to deliver results fast. So, what would you do other than boost sales or marketing? Most, importantly how would your product, or solution help?

The answers that sellers typically provide include ‘cut spending’, ‘slash costs’, ‘increase efficiency’ and ‘improve productivity’. No surprises there! We have seen our customers do it time and time again, and it makes perfect sense. That shows sellers don’t have a problem thinking like a CEO, or CFO. Inside every salesperson is a CEO, or CPO trying to get out!

Thinking Like A CPO

Indeed, it seems sellers don’t have a problem thinking like a CPO (Chief Procurement Officer) either. The diagram makes this clear – it is a list of strategies to achieve the CEO/CFOs cost saving goals as suggested by salespeople in a ‘Think Like The Buyer’ workshop we undertook recently .

If as salespeople we think like the CEO and CFO we will encounter few surprises. More importantly, if we are on the same wavelength as our customers and connect our solutions to their business agenda we are certain to enjoy increased success.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ray Collis
Ray Collis is a Business to Business sales coach, sales trainer, Director and Buyer Research Practice Lead of The ASG Group - recognized among the Top 5 sales training organizations worldwide in terms of overcoming the challenges in B2B selling to procurement, or the sophisticated buying organization (ES Research Group). Ray is co-author of several books, including The B2B Sales Revolution and QuickWin B2B Sales, and also of the sales blog Buyer Insights.


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