Why CEOs Should Embrace The Role Of Chief Sales Officer

As a founder and CEO you'll often wear many hats and perform different roles. However, an essential role that every CEO should perform is that of a Chief...

Photo: Ken Gosnell, CEO and Servant Leader of CXP (CEO Experience); Source: Courtesy Photo
Photo: Ken Gosnell, CEO and Servant Leader of CXP (CEO Experience); Source: Courtesy Photo

As a founder and CEO you’ll often wear many hats and perform different roles. However, an essential role that every CEO should perform is that of a Chief Sales Officer.

According to a study released by the U.S. Small Business Administration, only 44% of small businesses make it past their fourth year in business. Although there are many reasons that businesses fail, one sure way to ensure failure is to overlook and not focus on the sales success of your company.

Here is a fundamental truth for every CEO to understand: Sales are a reflection of how well the CEO sells and performs their role as a Chief Sales Officer. Greta Schultz wrote an excellent article entitled, “5 Things Every CEO Should Do Today To Improve Sales,” that outlines proven strategies to incorporate into the role of CEO.

If you’re ready to increase sales, take a look at three reasons why you – the CEO – should embrace the role of Chief Sales Officer.


CEOs understand the product or service better than anyone else

Many business owners started their businesses because they developed a great product or they had an idea of how to do something better. They didn’t necessarily start a company to become a salesperson. However, no one will ever know more about the product or service then the person that created it and owns the outcomes of its development. This knowledge will help you speak with credibility and passion–which can indirectly lead to increased sales.

Coaching Question: Do you utilize your product knowledge to teach people internally and externally about the benefits of your product or service?


CEOs can often speak more effectively to key decision makers

CEOs Should Be Chief Sales Officers - YFS Magazine
Photo: Bruce Mars, Pexels/YFS Magazine

Decision makers respond better to C-Suite leadership (e.g., CEOs) than they do salespeople. Often gatekeepers will be more respectful to founders, CEOs and business owners than a salesperson making a scripted sales call. One of the best things CEOs can do to boost sales is to make phone calls to other CEOs.

Coaching Question: Do you have a call list of top prospect CEOs and decision makers that you call each week?


CEOs set the focus area in their companies

Here is a simple, but important truth. If the CEO does not believe sales are important, then sales will not be seen as important. When the CEO places a high priority on driving sales and revenue growth, then others will focus on sales as well. Where the CEO focuses, the company will go.

Coaching Question: What would people in your company say you think is the most important focus area?


Final thoughts

Unfortunately, many CEOs never learn the art of selling. However, when a CEO knows and advocates selling fundamentals the entire organization becomes better. As a result, they’ll hire better salespeople and become more equipped to train others on overcoming sales objections and closing more deals.

As Mark Cuban suggests, “There has never been a business that succeeded without sales.”  So it’s important, especially for CEOs, to “know how your company will make money and how you will actually make sales.”


This article has been edited.

Ken Gosnell is the CEO and Servant Leader of CXP (CEO Experience). He serves leaders by helping them to have great experiences that both transform them and their organizations that enable to go further faster. He has worked with hundreds of CEOs and leadership teams to enhance strategic, operational and people accomplishments. He is an author, coach, and strategic partner with CEOs. Ken is the creator and facilitator of the Christian CEO Linkedin Group and creator of the CEO Experience Impact Assessment. He is married to Shonda, and they have four children.


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