Strong leadership practices are more important than ever in a time of unprecedented uncertainty and opportunity. Sales organizations look for their CRO/CSO to be the exemplar of executional intensity, sales excellence, professional presence, energy, and preparation, to name a few things. For these critical culture cues, leadership genuinely “comes from the top”.
Why should a CRO “Lead from the Front”:
- The CRO is the best or one of the best sellers
- The CRO should be the “owner” of the sales process and example setting
- Field perspective, prospect/client perceptions, objections and areas of excitement are vital to the CRO’s knowledge-base
- Creating a follow-up cadence with accounts and prospects to build key relationships
- First-hand POV in order to “Set Product/Vision” agenda and operate effectively with product management and engineering peers.
The CRO should have sales process excellence, meeting presence, be persuasive and strong and also be real, and sincere. There is an excellent opportunity to SHOW your selling acumen. You should OWN the sales process and show the team you’ve got the 10,000 hours to lead with confidence.
Time in the field is priceless and sacred. If you don’t get out there at least 10-25% of your time, you will come off as sitting in your ivory tower. Conversely, if you spend too much time in the field and you’ll lose control of the organization and be perceived to be a simplistic grinder with no senior management and org skills.
The CRO should decide what percentage of the time they are going to spend “building and enhancing the machine” versus “running the machine”. Time in the field is the most valuable time in the “running the machine” category.
Is very important that the CRO has a direct personal relationship with executive decision-makers at every single one of the top 10 clients of the company. It is also important that the CRO is personally involved in most of the top 25 net new sales that are happening either directly or Indirectly
The CRO‘s “personal style” when they meet clients is an important way to lead from the front. They should be perceived as knowledgeable yet curious. They should go into these interactions with a learner’s mindset. Far too often, I’ve seen sales leaders “show up and throw up” instead of asking empowering questions of their external stakeholders.
This is an excellent opportunity to reinforce behavior excellence practices such as pre-call planners, meeting objectives, clarity of next steps, and project management to keep processes moving efficiently. The CRO should always be looking to reduce cycle times. Time, as they say, is the killer of all deals.
This is also an awesome opportunity to spend time in small groups with the teams… It’s a great time to communicate in more personal settings about their confidence in the company, knowledge of the industry, high standards, etc.
When the CRO can speak in detail about specific client and prospect situations to the rest of the management team and the board this is a massive credibility builder!
So many good things happen when the revenue leader is out in the field ….there needs to be accountability to make sure that this is happening often enough and she or he is here to lead with passion and commitment. No revenue leader wants to get stuck internally too much… She or he needs to put in place rigid measures to make sure they are staying out in front consistently and set the same expectations with their leadership team.