What Sales Leaders Can Do When the CEO Doesn’t Get It


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What are the top 10% of sales teams doing differently that is contributing to their outstanding performance?

This is a quote from our “How to Make Your Number in 2015” report.

Each year, SBI releases a research report. The report is a summary of emerging trends in the B2B space. It’s forward-thinking research to help you prepare to make the number next year. You can get a copy and sign up for our 90 minute workshop here.

My CEO Doesn’t Get It

Ever feel like you’re operating with one hand tied behind your back?

You’re leading your sales team to the best of your ability. But, it sometimes feels like rolling a rock up a hill. When you need to invest, your CEO won’t get on board. He doesn’t fund your initiatives. He’d rather invest more in products. Or, he’s after an extra point of EBITDA to keep the board happy. He doesn’t get it and you suffer as a result.

Most CEOs have product or finance backgrounds. They mistrust sales people. You can be viewed as an overpaid cost center vs. a revenue generator.   

A Picture of You

The data collection in this year’s report included over 700 executive interviews. Among them were dozens of sales leaders like you. The below image reveals the top frustrations we heard from sales leaders:


These aren’t excuses. This is the reality of today’s world. You may be passing expectations down to your team you know they can’t hit. You are not alone.

What’s Going On?

You may feel like making the number next year will be a stretch. You’ve been in situations like this in the past, but it takes its toll. Lots of time on the road, sleepless nights and stress-filled days.

Once you’ve read the report, you’ll see what’s causing this for your peers:

  • Trying to solve sales problems with tactics vs. strategy.
  • Sales strategy is not aligned with the corporate strategy.
  • You thought you had a sales strategy, but you don’t.

Perhaps one of these is causing your stress as well. The report will help you get clarity on this.

How to Get Your CEO on Board

If you’re stressed about the 2015 number, get out in front of it now. Sign up for our workshop and get an objective view on your 2015 plan. Invite your CEO. Spend 90 minutes with your CEO answering the questions in the workshop. It will help when your CEO sees how your sales strategy connects to his corporate strategy.

Your peers have found this helps bridge a long-standing gap. We’ve conducted over 100 of these workshops this year. When the CEO is in the room, the discussion shifts. CEOs are engaging with their sales leaders in more effective ways.

This is not a pitch to get your CEO in the room. Many of your peers in this case are well aligned with their CEOs.

If you’re struggling with a CEO who “doesn’t get it,” this might help. To find out more about the workshop, go here. We’re happy to spend a few minutes on the phone with you as well. Good luck in 2015.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ryan Tognazzini
Ryan is a recognized thought leader in business-to-business sales force effectiveness. During his time at Sales Benchmark Index, he developed many of the evidence-based best practices housed in SBI's database of 11,000 companies. Ryan has more than 15 years of experience focused on increasing sales productivity through improvements in account segmentation, lead generation and sales processes.


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