You are always the Chief Sales Officer of your company, startup or entrepreneurship. Even if that’s not your job title, it is your job function. Even if you work for somebody else, you are the CEO of your career. Even if you don’t have a background in business or sales, your goal is to become a Businessperson of Worth.
In today’s globally competitive business ecosystem, business development is part of everyone’s job function. Your primary function is to drive revenue through your organization. The primary outcome of your job function is the sustainability of your organization. That’s pretty serious stuff.
No matter how much your company grows, here are 5 tips for keeping your business head on straight while creating credibility with funders, establishing a foothold in new marketplaces and acquiring new customers.
Tip 1 – Always remain in touch with your customers’ pulse. Remain tuned in to changes in the marketplace, industry verticals, legislation and regulation, supply chains and you-name-it. These factors can impact your competitive position. Weigh the impact of these changes on your business model and how you deliver to the marketplace. It’s always time to take your customers’ pulse.
Tip 2 – Always remain in touch with your own business’s pulse. Develop your ability to simultaneously “see” your business both tactically as well as strategically. When your business is nascent or small, it’s easy to become busy “doing:” fulfilling orders and fighting daily fires. As a result, you lose track of what and why your customers are buying from you. Make it a daily habit to pull your head out of the tactical sand and take a strategic look around your company.
Tip 3 – Always be responsible and accountable for revenue generation. No one understands your company better than you do. Become comfortable articulating the value your product or service delivers. Far too many technically oriented professionals feel it’s “someone else’s” responsibility to create revenue (aka, “sell”). If you sell for someone else, make sure you understand what’s on your CEO’s mind. So go ahead, have that conversation with her instead of spieling your company’s marcom stuff. Otherwise, you may never learn to articulate the true value of your company to customers and colleagues. It’s a wonderful story for you to tell.
Tip 4 – Always remember that you are your company’s Avatar. As a startup CEO or entrepreneur, your first customers invest in you because they believe in you – not your App or service or product. As a sales or sales engineering representative for your established company, you are the go-to resource for your customers. You become a symbol of success from your first sale onward. Never forget what it took, on your part, overcoming your feelings of selling self-doubt. Your partnership with your internal and external customers is the key to your success and the sustainability of your enterprise. Celebrate your success, and company growth, with your first customers and each subsequent customer whose business you earn.
Tip 5 – Always wear your Chief Sales Officer title like a second skin. Your job function, as Chief Sales Officer of your career or business, is your mantra. Over time, you will become One with the value creation you leverage each day. You will have revenue-producing conversations instead of constantly being aware of whether you are talking sales, engineering, operations or finance. You will speak like a Businessperson of Worth because you have taken the time to become one.
In order to run your own career, business or startup, you must embrace becoming a Businessperson of Worth. You require nothing short of a business boot camp. You will find solid information, tips and guidelines to get you started on your path in my book on collaboration strategies, Do You Mean Business? , available on Amazon.com. Enjoy!
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, catalyzes business transition, startup growth, and professional development. She works with non-traditional sellers like engineers, manufacturers, and technical startups to create sustainable business models and revenue strategies. This post first appeared on the salesforce Blog and is adapted and reprinted with this author’s permission.