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Avoiding Panic: What Happens If Sales Don’t Happen?


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What happens if sales don’t happen?

Usually, panic.  And panic leads to more panic.  When sales don’t happen, very often the CEO thinks s/he needs to step in, especially in a consultative sales environment where the sales cycle is typically longer. Then you have situations in which CEOs are doing the sales training, or CEOs being on first sales calls and getting involved in everything and anything that has to do with sales. They fear for their company’s survival and that’s understandable.

And what about the sales managers in these situations? Well, as there is no success to show they often panic as well. In these cases they often just give in and let their CEOs take over instead of putting their feet down and demanding to stay on track.  They tend to go along with their CEOs rather than providing clear measures, guidelines and leading developments in the sales process.

This can have a snowball effect on the sales team. The sales people might fear that they could lose their job or that they won’t be making any money.

The sales managers do both. They panic and fear, both for their team, for their compensation and for their reputation.

Why don’t the sales managers keep their CEO in check?

I have always wondered in situations like that why sales manager wouldn’t stick to their guns? Is it because there aren’t not enough sales managers who are really confident enough and able to make a case for a structured and meaningful sales process?

Or is it because CEOs are used to being powerful leaders and end up steamrolling their team? Or could it be that CEOs are not always good at allowing other opinions?

It really depends on the specific situation, but I have seen both. I have seen some CEOs being so impressed with themselves that they can’t tolerate another opinion. But in all fairness, I have seen more CEOs just lost and not knowing what to do other than to take control.

Sales Managers, you need to manage your CEOs, too!

Sales managers are tasked with building and managing an effective and successful sales team. To be most successful, though, you will need to build an effective and successful relationship with your CEO. That includes open and full communication, documentation and also managing your CEOs. Embracing the CEO’s vision but also making sure your CEO embraces the sales process you put in place.

What is the solution?

Stay calm and on-track. If you have a plan, success will follow it might just take a bit longer. It’s better to wait a month or two as oppose to changing everything and getting derailed completely. When I was managing a sales team I never allowed my CEOs to dictate the sales process, but then again I took all the steps to ensure my CEOs understood and embraced the process. When it comes to sales, sales people and managers need to manage up. CEOs often don’t have a background in sales management, so help them understand the process, manage expectations and stay positive!

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