How to get CEO Signoff on Sales Coaching Strategies

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How to get CEO Signoff on Sales Coaching Strategies

Need to figure you how to get CEO signoff on sales coaching strategies? You are not alone. Every company wants more out of its sales team. Whether it’s the standard 15% YoY increase or a new ‘low-quality’ lead source or you’re just having a bad month, we have all at one point or another had the “you need to do better” conversation. And depending on the company and your level of seniority, there might be an implicit “or else” attached.

But I bet that same CEO that is quick to crack the whip is also gun shy about investing substantive time and resources into sales coaching strategies. And this makes perfect sense, the average age of CEO’s is steadily increasing, here’s the average age of CEO’s at Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companies:

Image from think-boundless.com

Why is this? Aren’t there any young visionaries capable of leading a company? Well no, the data actually suggests that the baby boomer generation are just staying in the workforce longer than previous generations and they came into leadership positions in the 90’s and early 2000’s. So what we’re really seeing is just a sign of the times where the average retirement age in most countries is climbing.

Image from think-boundless.com

But why does this matter when it come to investing time and resources into sales coaching strategies?

To answer that, let’s take a step back and remember that most sales these days are buyer-led, it used to be that reps would hit the road or cold call to make their sales and whilst that still takes place, the advent of inbound marketing and the buyer empowerment of this worldwide web, means the buyer has more information than ever before, more choice and is already being bombarded by other businesses trying to get their attention.

It’s hard to think back now, but it wasn’t until 2005 when Dave Kurlan popularised solution-based selling and not until 2011 that Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson introduced content marketing in their book ‘The Challenger Sale’. Undoubtedly, these concepts of needs-based selling and inbound marketing led to innovation and explosive growth of companies like HubSpot, DropBox, Slack, Trello etc etc. Moreover, these big B2B SaaS companies led the sales enablement movements in the last 10-20 years.

Remember those CEO’s that learnt how to lead a company back in the 90’s and early 2000’s? Now put yourself in their shoes when you go and ask them to spend x thousands of dollars on conversational intelligence or want to spend an hour a day on coaching your reps. So if you aren’t a part of a young, innovative company, how can you compete with the big SaaS companies that have teams of sales enablement professionals?

How to get CEO Signoff on Sales Coaching Strategies

Simply put, if you’re going to ask for time or money to spend on sales coaching strategies then your CEO wants to align that with a goal or vision of theirs. The obvious one is showing how your sales coaching strategy will lead to increased revenue and you should be able to put forward a convincing business case, but remember that comes with inherent risk. What if you don’t see the expected return on revenue?

A more rounded approach that shows the revenue upside but also aligns with other operational goals can have a lot of cut-through. If you get into the mind of your CEO, you’ll soon realise whilst the bottom line is usually the most important thing, the role of the CEO has many responsibilities.

McKinsey & Company looked at what mindsets and practices distinguish excellent CEOs. If you can tap into how sales coaching will enable them to meet their organisational and operational responsibilities, you’ll get a very different response.

McKinsey & Company

Top tips

  • Looking at McKinsey & Company’s findings, we can turn ‘Board Engagement’ into showing how you will report on your performance improvement beyond revenue gain. If your CEO can clearly show value to the board, it makes them look good and shows that they are being forward-thinking.
  • Show the value of hiring an external service can promote the business and give you more credibility and authority in your industry. Strategic partnerships go both ways and sometimes come with a PR opportunity.
  • Remember that this is a good opportunity to show that you are the sales expert and you are taking charge of the future. Some CEO’s try to take on every executive role their selves, this can be a good chance to carve out some independence and gently remind the CEO of your expertise.
  • Include how you will implement your sales coaching strategies, they will want to see that this isn’t a quick fix or knee-jerk reaction. It should be seen to be a well-considered and thoughtful plan.

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