Sales Management Advice for CEOs

Back in 2005 when I was Managing Director for an international software company, I developed a simple framework for transforming sales. The results were staggering for our corporation at the the time. We won three massive contracts, achieved 300% of our full year target and with exceptional margins. I handed our leading sales person a commission cheque, for one quarter, of almost $500,000. All of our pre-sales people received commission cheques for a single quarter equal to their annual salaries. This framework led me to leaving the corporate world in 2012 to start RSVPselling and the framework has helped many of my clients win large new customers and contracts as big a hundred million dollars.

Whether you’re talking over a coffee or sitting in a board room, you should ask these four sets of questions of your sales manager or sales person every time you visit a client with them, every time you’re in an opportunity review or forecast call, and every time they mention a new business opportunity. You can embed these four sets questions as a methodology or as way of thinking. Here they are:

  1. Relationships: Do we have the right relationships? Followed by: Are we selling at the right level? Do they have genuine political and economic power? Do our relationships provide differentiating intelligence, insight and genuine influence?

  2. Strategy: Do we have an effective strategy for managing relationships and competitive threats? Followed by: Do we understand the power-base and have we identified the competition (external and internal including the risk of them doing nothing)? What's our strategy for winning while engineering a positive bias in the customer's requirements toward us?

  3. Value: Are we leading with insight and uniquely creating compelling business value in the eyes of the customer? Followed by: How are we differentiating and evidencing our credentials as lowest risk and best value?

  4. Process: Are we aligned and do we truly understand the customer’s process for evaluation, selection, approval and procurement? Followed by: Do we understand how they define and assess risk with suppliers and solutions? Do we have a close plan validated by the customer?

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Main Image Photo by Flickr: pasotraspaso