Why Your CEO Should Be Your First Salesperson

 

There are countless stories of startups hiring six-figured seasoned salespeople with giant rolodexes to kick-start their sales pipeline. Time after time, we’ve seen them met with disappointment. Our advice, until you reach $1 million in sales, your CEO should be your chief salesperson.

If you’re a CEO, you’ve got 99 other tasks to accomplish besides sales. It’s easy to think that if you hire someone, your sales will improve, and your life will be better. This is not the case for most early stage companies. Let’s look at eight reasons why you as the CEO need to be the chief salesperson and make sales a top priority:

1. Most sales people require clearly defined and proven processes.

Early companies are still working out those processes and it’s usually the CEO’s job to develop them.

2. Early sales is not sales, it’s validation and product co-creation.

Early sales is about proving a product-market fit. It requires partnering with customers to validate and develop the product. Most sales people are not trained in validation, pre-sales, or product co-creation. 

3. No one has more passion for the product than the CEO.

People buy because of emotions, which are usually strongest in the CEO.

4. Nobody can tell the story better than the CEO.

Buyers care more about the reason behind the company rather than what the company does.

5. People like buying from the CEO.

Taking a shot on a new product is a risk. Buyers are much more inclined to take that risk after working with the CEO.

6. Nobody can make promises like the CEO.

Early products don’t always have what the customer wants. Only the CEO can change the direction of the company to get the customer what they want. 

7. Your relationships are your number one asset.

If you hire a salesperson and they leave, those relationships and that asset leaves with them.

8. Nobody should be closer to the customer than the CEO.

Great products come from listening to the customer.

If you absolutely need to find a salesperson to replace what should be the CEO’s role, look for entrepreneurs that have worked on past startups, people who value the relationship above the sale, and athletic minded folks who are willing to endure the constant back and forth of developing a new product and process.

 

 

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