"Nothing happens until someone sells something" is a famous quote from Henry Ford. Or it could have been Peter Drucker. Or IBM's Thomas Watson. Google says it is from Arthur "Red" Motley, the former Publisher of "Parade" Magazine. It might have been Mary Kay, the founder of the company that bares her name. She also believed that selling was as noble as buying.
What the quote also means (really means) is that without sales, there is no revenue. And without revenue, there is no business. However, before a sales person can sell anything the product or service they sell needs to be created and have value that people want.
I recently hosted a NYDLAcast.com interview (Part II) with a senior partner at the world's premier executive leadership firm with more than 60 offices across 30 countries. He personally led over 800 senior searches, specialized in CEO, CMO and Board of Director searches for many of America's top consumer companies. A frequent contributor to the likes of Harvard Business Review, the WSJ and Adweek.
In other words, he knows his stuff.
During our talk, I mentioned that "I'm a CEO, but I gave myself that title. I don't know if I could ever WORK for a company, as a CEO. After all, I'm a SELLING CEO."
And that is when the interview hit the gas... He said "A selling CEO is the BEST KIND of CEO!"
Typically, CEOs focus on high-level strategic decisions, managing the executive team, and overseeing the overall direction of the company. However, in certain situations, particularly in small or early-stage businesses, a CEO may also take on the role of a salesperson to drive growth and secure new business opportunities.
It turns out that a Selling CEO may engage in activities such as:
1. Prospecting and lead generation: Actively seeking out potential clients and identifying opportunities for business development.
2. Sales presentations: Delivering sales pitches, product demonstrations, and presentations to potential customers.
3. Relationship building: Building and maintaining strong relationships with key clients, partners, and stakeholders.
4. Negotiation and deal closing: Participating in contract negotiations and finalizing sales agreements.
5. Customer retention: Ensuring customer satisfaction and addressing any concerns to maintain long-term relationships.
6. Strategic sales planning: Collaborating with the sales team to develop effective sales strategies and set targets.
For many years, one could major in Marketing at just about any School of Business at the College or University level. But not Sales. Now, today, there are over 100 Colleges and Universities that have Sales as a Major or a Minor. Here is a link to the Sales Education Foundation (list of over 100 schools offering degrees in sales).
So now, today, in 2023 a CSO (Chief Sales Officer) is a thing. And the CSO usually reports to CRO (Chief Revenue Officer) which is also a thing. And they all roll up and report to the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) which has always been a thing.
My "Sales Career" started in 1983. Four decades in business, as a "Selling CEO". I do embrace the "No Revenue No Business" mantra. I also like the concept that nothing happens until someone sells something. I remember in the 80s I was in a (potential) customer's office, and he had a embroidered sign hanging behind his desk: "Selling is like Shaving. You have to do it every day or you're a Bum."
Forty years later, I still remember that sign. I also remember that I got the sale that day. Now in 2023, there are days that I skip shaving. To my wife's dismay, I do not shave every single day. But for the life of me, I can't remember the last day that I did not sell something.
Later this year, I'll be launching the CROdepot.com
It will be kinda like the Home Depot, but for all things...sales. Did you click on the link? Come on, you know you want to... Don't make me go shave, it's a Sunday.