- We never had one before. Other C-Level
positions, like Chief Technology Officer (CTO), did not exist in the past but
the rapid and rampant changes in technology necessitated including the impact
of technological innovations in decision making.
- Salespeople are required to achieve the
corporate objectives. “We decide; you implement.” In too many companies the
salespeople are considered to be “different” in the way they are compensated
but similar in that they are to achieve top-down driven objectives regardless
of what customers want.
- There is no training for the CSO. Libraries are
being built now to give the CSO the information they need to execute their
- There are no tools for measuring the
effectiveness of the CSO. In fact, Extreme Sales Analytics (ESA) and Sales
Resource Planner (SRP) software programs, similar to ERPs, are emerging. ROI,
TCO and other calculators are giving way to sophisticated dashboards which are
morphing into sales analytic cockpits (multiple, integrated dashboards).
- Your customers do not need for you have a CSO. So why bother? You need to have the CSO for your customer relationships to grow. Customer relationships are dynamic, not static. Either you will drive the changes in the relationship or someone else will: your customer or your competitor. After all, if your competitor has a strategic-focused CSO and you do not, are they more likely to introduce the next new thing to your customers?
- The C-Level plans for the long-term future; the
vice president thinks in shorter time frames. For instance, if the CEO, the
corporate visionary, is thinking three years out, the C-Levels reporting to the
CEO need to be thinking two years out. In that scenario, the VP level needs to
be thinking one year out, the sales management team thinking one quarter and
salespeople thinking one month out.
- The C-Level invests their time in learning and
evaluating what new processes and technologies are coming that will impact
their business. VPs focus their time and talents on what current capabilities
are viable for making more immediate improvements in sales activities and
- C-Levels are rarely involved in the day-to-day activities while the VP is occasionally brought in to address pressing customer and market issues. The vice president of sales is likely to know the details of significant pending sales while the CSO is uninvolved with them.
- The VP Sales did not have the time to thoroughly investigate the new technology.
- A six-figure investment would be required – a decision that would have gone to the C-Level anyway.
- Agreements needed to be negotiated with the software vendor for market exclusivity.
- These activities were time-consuming and the VP could not have managed this quickly enough, if at all.
- Evaluating new processes including Lean/Kaizen/Six
Sigma for sales and discussing them with the other C-Levels, beginning with the
- Evaluating new technologies for planning and
executing sales activities and discussing them with the other C-Levels,
beginning with the CTO.
- Evaluating the applicability of new compensation concepts and discussing them with the other C-Levels, beginning with the CFO.
- Hire for tomorrow, not today. Find someone who
is comfortable with the changes that are happening in your market, industry,
technology and management processes.
- Look for a strategic mindset. Rather than
someone who knows how to get things done, look for someone who can determine
alternatives for moving the organization forward.
- CSOs think about “who else?” and “what else?” Look for a creative thinker who knows how to find and solicit new ideas.