This is part of the FirstRain Persona Series.
Every company needs an executive leader with a lion mentality. One that won’t shy away from a tough deal, someone that has mastered an intuitive awareness of how and when to nurture new business, and one that can lead the rest of the sales pack with a clear vision. And across many enterprise C-suites, Sales now has a direct seat at the table.
With today’s fast moving digital marketplace, the objectives of a sales executive continue to transform the traditional sales role. Sales responsibilities are inheritably linked to revenue goals and the tasks have brought on new members to the C-suite, such as the Chief Sales Officer, Chief Commercial Officer and Chief Revenue Officer. To keep things simple in this persona post, we will refer to these C-Suite level lions as the Chief Sales Officer.
Today, CSOs are constantly leveraging a sales strategy and market trends that will create the most impact for the enterprise, evaluating ways for new revenue streams, analyzing market disruptions and always, always on the hunt for business opportunities.
Clearly, the role today involves more than managing sales teams and includes strategic goals such as finding niche market opportunities and enterprise solutions to better position the company’s products and services. With characteristics of a true pioneer, they are always steps ahead and on the quest to competently execute a sales plan and turn value propositions into business deals.
In the Venture Beat article, “The Rise of the Chief Revenue Officer: Silicon Valley’s new secret sauce,” the author states, “A great CRO must be able to wedge into any aspect of the company to lay the underpinnings of a scalable revenue engine and tune everything for execution.” CSOs must continually assess and re-assess the current marketplace and then look for avenues to implement acute strategic business analysis to meet and exceed revenue goals.
Identifying what will create the strongest impact for the enterprise is the first step; deciding what steps to take next requires setting both, short-term and long-term goals; does the company continue to make deals more profitable and lower cost of sales, does it need to expand current contracts or scale products and service offerings into new industries, does the company leverage cross selling, does the company win in competitive situations, does the company provide thought leadership, does the company create sustainable teams and of course, they must execute.
Quarter after quarter CSOs must measure activities, technology and marketing strategy campaigns and understand what works, what doesn’t and ensure that they are introducing their products with the most compelling value proposition and approach into the market. The mindset is results-driven and efficiently integrating activities that will ignite results, both short-term and long-term is a must.
In addressing the need for a CSO, Greg Alexander of Sales BenchMark Index (SBI) writes, “A CSO understands how change ripples throughout an organization. They understand how decisions affect organizations, markets, product lines, competitors and business units.” – CSO’s leadership style must demonstrate an intuitive understanding of industry analysis, region, contract deals and clearly match them to the appropriate team members that will get the job done. They must always strategically seek, nurture and create business relationships for the profitability and product expansion of the business.
CSOs must find ways to connect the dots within an enterprise and bring more revenue streams in a constantly changing market. Relentlessly, they solicit new ideas to approach more streams of business and strengthen value propositions within different industries, often partnering with the Chief Marketing Officer to present the strongest, sometimes aggressive, go-to-market-strategy into play. Together, they will assess the strength of a business deal, with the aid of marketing campaigns, and deploy salespeople to initiate contact, and work together with product development to ensure that the product presentation maximizes value factors for the end markets.
Today’s CSOs must understand disruptions and their competitors, and be agile with a clear mindset, bold attitude and a keen insight of the best marketing strategy. They are responsible for connecting the dots; finding sales intelligence and new value propositions to better target go-to-markets and finding ways to move enterprise solutions forward, making the business profitable and expanding value in the product offering.
Partnering with other members of the C-suite is crucial to the successful growth of the enterprise. To transcend value through different industries in today’s digital marketplace, CSOs need competitive intelligence tools that show them the way, like FirstRain, that uses modern day technology not only to predict business opportunities but rather align business deals with real customer needs. FirstRain’s dynamic platforms aligns:
- industry targeted coaching for sales reps with reasons to call and reasons to check-in
- market analysis intelligence that identifies threats and accelerators that will leverage sales teams’ agility around business deals
- industry knowledge to better position sales deals, that is intermingled with internal and external content
- trigger events of when deals require attention or when a new target and acquisition plan is taking place
The responsibility for the growth and acquisition of new business is heavy, but with the successful integration of competitive intelligence tools and a solid marketing strategy, CSOs can propel a company forward.
CSOs do a lot of talking to nurture business relationships, but at the end of the day, their role is all about measurable results. True, successful sales leaders have a sixth sense of where profitability and business development must stand within their company’s initiatives, and partnering with sales intelligence tools that deliver them a cunning, comprehensive view of their customers and markets, allows them to execute on their sales acumen with real smart data.
Like a lion on the hunt, sales executives must have an acute awareness of their environment, and understand what small step will cause a disruption, when it is best to go in for the kill and when it is best to act patiently and wait for a bigger meal.
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