The Art of Sales and Why It Is the Secret to Fast Growth
By Jim Lundy
I have a confession to make – while I’ve spent my life in and around tech, I have also spent significant time as a Sales professional. Later I graduated to Marketing.
However, it was doing all of those different roles that really has enabled myself and others at Aragon Research to help firms with their go to market challenges.
Sales is What Fast Growth is All About
Sales has been misunderstood for years and often it is looked down upon.
Given all my years in Sales, it is not hard to tell when a firm has issues – that it often points right back at a lack of focus on sales – and all it’s intricacies.
Lessons Learned the Hard Way
Years ago, we had a client – and it was obvious there was an issue with Sales there. The client never mentioned it – and often said things were going well.
However, I could tell that was not the case, given what we saw. Later I asked the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) why he hadn’t mentioned his issues with Sales and he then confessed that it was a massive issue – and he asked how we knew.
I said it was just too obvious and we talked about why he should have brought it up before. In the end, the lack of growth led to a sale of the company.
In that case, a few minor changes in leadership would have fixed the issue – but the management team did not act.
Focusing On Customers is Key
Sales is a craft and it is much more than the role of selling; it is about building relationships with customers. When Sales is described that way, it changes everyone’s perspective on the importance of the role.
So the real point of this blog is that all enterprises need to double down their focus on Sales.
Sales is a sport and there is competition. While the team is on the field, there is an awful lot of support that is needed for them to run their sales plays and win accounts.
While this seems obvious, what many executive teams lack awareness about is how much work is needed to put a high performing sales organization into place.
As a Startup – the CEO is the CSO
Many CEOs know this and many don’t. Until you hit revenues of 10-20 Million, the CEO is the Chief Sales Officer (CSO). That means the CEO needs to learn to sell and they need to start building out a team.
Of course, many firms today want to focus on product led growth – via online signups and e-Commerce. That is part of the go to market mix. At some point, an enterprise will want to meet BEFORE they sign a large contract.
The saying goes it takes a village – well it takes a total focus on Customers by the Executive team if their firm wants to be number one – or at least one of the top players in their respective market.
Cisco is famous for being customer focused – they even measure their executives on how well they do in customer briefings.
The point is that being customer focused means doubling down and focusing on sales. That means having metrics that matter, it means having account planning sessions and it means regular engagement with customers.
Aragon Knows Sales
If this is an area you are struggling with, it might be time to discuss where your issues lie. Often, the answer is to add more technology. More often the issue is lack of focus and poor focus on critical KPIs.
The best advice for Executives is to embrace your customers – and that starts with embracing the Sales organization.
It is not just about looking at metrics of how many sales calls or how many proposals were executed. It is about focusing on customers and solving their problems.
When this level of focus occurs, closing deals becomes a given.
This blog is a part of the Digital Workplace blog series by Aragon Research’s CEO, Jim Lundy.
Missed the previous installments? Catch up here: