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CEO Must Also Be Chief Sales Officer

Posted on February 9, 2015

An increasingly complex and competitive business environment demands a clearly defined sales process to drive profitable growth in any company.

Two_WomenThe CEO must set the context for the sales and marketing strategy, with a focus on key performance indicators, process, pipeline management, and a common sales methodology and system.

Jim Ayraud, president of Next Level, Inc. said, “Sales can no longer be only about relationships and generating as many proposals as possible. Sales is not a random process, but a carefully planned systematic approach that helps potential customers see well-defined differentiation in the products and services recommended.”

Ayraud recently led a discussion about sales management with a dozen chief executive officers who are members of the AIM CEO Connection.  He delineated the CEO’s role in sales:

  • Serve as the chief sales officer with critical customers;
  • Be chief story teller, to express clearly and passionately what the company does;
  • Define performance indicators to track progress towards monthly revenue goals;
  • Participate in the “war game,” challenging salespeople to define behaviors that drive success;
  • Give candid feedback to hold the sales and sales leadership team accountable;
  • Constantly ask “What are we missing?” and “If we could do one thing better, what would it be?”

The CEO alone can align the sales organization with the overall needs of the customer and company. And the most successful CEOs do so with passion. Recall that Estee Lauder famously said, “I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard.”

The AIM CEO Connection brings together CEOs to talk about important topics with their peers to help them make critical decisions that will drive their company’s growth. Each session of the CEO Connection includes a presentation from an outside expert, open discussion about current issues, and a company tour.

CEO Connection groups are currently running in both southeastern and northeastern Massachusetts with room for one or two additional participants. A third sessions will begin soon in central Massachusetts.

Manufacturing/industrial CEOs interested to learn more about the AIM CEO Connection may contact Brian Gilmore ( or Gary MacDonald (