As a business owner, you’re probably used to wearing many hats. However, as your company grows, it will be important that you share the workload with a leadership team that will help you continue your growth and take your business to the next level.
One of the most important hires for your leadership team will be a CSO, or Chief Sales Officer. The Chief Sales Officer will, ultimately, be responsible for building your sales team and driving more revenue into your business.
In this article, we will explore several topics that will be helpful if you are considering hiring a Chief Sales Officer for your organization or if you’re pursuing a CSO career yourself.
The Chief Sales Officer leads your company’s sales department to meet revenue and sales growth targets. The person in this role provides daily operations management and oversees the vice president of sales and other sales managers, like the Customer Success Manager (CSM). The Chief Sales Officer job description entails overseeing all sales-related activities including assessing, implementing and reporting on sales strategies that will bring in more revenue and grow your company.
However, before you decide to promote your top-performing salesperson to fill your Chief Sales Officer role, it’s important to note that the person you hire to fill this position must be good at more than just sales. The Chief Sales Officer must also be a savvy businessperson who is able to navigate complexities within the organization and marketplace to drive real results for your bottom line.
What chief sales officers do is important. Not only do they ensure that your company sustains revenue growth by increasing sales, but they also take on the following important tasks:
Although the function of both the Chief Revenue Officer and Chief Sales Officer is to increase sales revenue, the means they use to achieve that goal can be vastly different. As such, it is important to understand the difference between these important roles because confusing them could spell disaster for a growing company.
A Chief Sales Officer is a tactical master and focused primarily on execution. They are focused on beating the competition and work best in simple, single-channel business environments.
On the other hand, a Chief Revenue Officer knows how to increase sales by designing and implementing the right strategy for each channel. They are, therefore, better suited for more complex business environments with multiple sales channels.
Execution and strategy are unique and challenging skillsets, but aligning them with the right role is critical to their success.
For instance, if you put someone with Chief Revenue Officer strengths in a Chief Sales officer position sales execution could suffer. A Chief Revenue Officer is an expert at strategy and their inclination to collaborate with others will slow down decision-making.
Conversely, if you put someone in a Chief Revenue Officer position who has Chief Sales Officer strengths, sales strategy could suffer. They will be more inclined to push program implementation and tactics and could neglect collaboration in order to make things happen quickly.
Following is a compilation of average salaries for Chief Sales Officers in English speaking countries around the world including the United States, United Kingdom and Australia (as of February 2021):
In order to be successful, there are several qualities and requirements needed to be a Chief Sales Officer, including experience in developing effective sales strategies, leading in a fast-paced and dynamic business environment and experience in sales. In addition, a Chief Sales Officer should possess these essential skills:
As the customer buying experience continues to evolve with e-commerce, so has the role of the Chief Sales Officer. According to leadership consultants, Spencer Stuart:
“As the role of the sales leader continues to evolve, key capabilities—such as the development and execution of sales strategy, account coverage and deployment, and management of cross-functional go-to market systems—remain vital.”
They go on to explain that when hiring a Chief Sales Officer, “Organizations must consider the full spectrum of sales officer expertise, including e-commerce, as well as their overall sales strategy when assessing their current sales leadership capabilities and needs.”
There are several qualifications you should include in your resume and cover letter to be considered for a Chief Sales Officer role. For additional help crafting an attention-grabbing cover letter and resume, we also recommend checking out the following Pipedrive articles:
Below is a list of important skills that might be mentioned in the job description for a Chief Sales Officer position.
A Chief Sales Officer should have a master’s degree (or higher) in Sales, Advertising, Marketing, Finance, or another business-related field. If you lack the degrees, an equivalent of the same in working experience is also acceptable for the position.
A Chief Sales Officer should have a minimum of at least 10 years of high-level sales experience working in a fast-paced, dynamic business environment. They should also have a successful track record of achieving and exceeding goals in leadership positions while growing a sales organization for businesses.
A Chief Sales Officer should also have a proven track record of developing innovative sale strategies that have helped put the companies they worked for ahead of the competition. A good candidate should also have experience working in strategic financial planning and the ability to deliver management-level analyses and opinions to senior executives and board members.
This skill is a must for any Chief Sales Officer. They must be capable of conducting research and analyzing raw data and information. Candidates should also be technologically savvy
As the head of the sales department, the Chief Sales Officer must be able to effectively and clearly communicate with their team. This will be necessary to not only determine their performance internally, but also to determine their ability to maintain and establish business relationships externally.
The Chief Sales Officer must be able to communicate with key stakeholders concerning the sales department in the form of reports, proposals and presentations and provide instructional materials to junior level sales personnel. Therefore, their communication in materials must be concise, clear and convincing.
A Chief Sales Officer should be able to lead a team of professionals in a single direction with a common objective and vision. They should be personable and able to make meaningful and strong connections with others.
A Chief Sales Officer should be a consumer-oriented, people person with a commitment to delivering excellence to customers. They should be dedicated to quality, capable of working independently or with others, be highly motivated, capable of multi-tasking and work well under pressure.
If you’re a thriving sales-driven organization, the chances of you needing a Chief Sales Officer at one point is inevitable. When you will need a CSO depends on your customer relationships and your ability to grow those relationships.
Like so many things in business, customer relationships are not static, they are dynamic. Therefore, you must be able to drive changes in the relationship before your customer or competitor does. If that is no longer possible, that is the pivotal point where you know you will need to enlist the expertise of a Chief Sales Officer.
Once you have determined your need for a CSO, here are some tips on how to hire one and what to include in the job description:
Whatever you do, take your time when hiring a Chief Sales Officer by rigorously evaluating their education, experience, skills, and ability to adapt to change. Hiring the right person can mean the difference between the success or failure of your growing business.
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