You know what they look like, you know where their offices are located and you know their names. The question is, does the C-Suite know you? What do they think about your performance? Do they think you’re an asset to the company? A team player? A potential high-potential?
Fact: When the majority of decisions affecting your career are made, you will not be in the room to speak on your own behalf.
Since you will most likely not be present while others are discussing you, your capabilities and your reputation within the company, you need to be proactive in managing your personal brand. Here are a few tips to help you stand out and integrate with the C-suite:
Hit Your Numbers
This may seem obvious, but inevitably there are sales reps who truly believe that trying their best is enough. Wrong! The C-suite is counting on you to hit your number. They’ve based their financials around a few key factors and hitting your numbers is one of them. You must get it done, otherwise this is a non-starter.
Know Your Numbers
You should know your annual quota. Your actual vs. planned numbers. Is your territory up (or down) month–to–date, year-to-date? How’s your pipeline? Is it full or bare? If bare, what’s your plan of action? How about your market share? Is it increasing or decreasing? Why? New customers? Renewal customers? Your average sales price? Your conversion ratios? Your average sales cycle? You get the point…whatever numbers you’re responsible for, you need to know them “real-time,” all the time. The C-suite knows your numbers – do you?
Know THE Numbers
Sophisticated sales professionals don’t just know their individual numbers, they also know the company’s numbers. Is revenue up or down year-to-date? Why? How’s cash flow? What about EBIT? Are profit margins up or down? Depending on your company culture you may have to ask for this information versus it being freely shared. Nonetheless be sure to know and understand the numbers that are important to the C-suite. They’ll be impressed.
Sell Profitable Deals
Sometimes sales people are so focused on closing the deal, they may disregard whether the deal is worth closing. Not all deals are good deals for the business. Yes, there may be times that you choose to close a deal that makes minimal margin due to extenuating circumstances and that’s fine as long as it’s not your norm. Remember the C-suite has a sweet spot for profits!
Focus On Others
Often times sales people get a reputation for being focused only on the items that are important to them and their ability to hit their numbers. If you are only focused on your wants and needs, you’ll turn-off your customers, alienate your colleagues, and anger your C-suite. Make it a daily habit to look for ways to serve others.
When you’re hitting your numbers, selling profitable deals, and being a team player the C-suite not only knows your name but they’re also very interested in what you have to say especially as it pertains to improving the organization. In their eyes you’ve earned the right to give constructive criticism. Consequently, if you have not consistently executed on the items above then any comments you make, especially those related to areas of improvement, may simply be seen as whining and complaining.
Kick-butt Sales Reps impress the C-suite because they get the job done!
Stephanie Chung is an executive coach, trainer and advisor backed by more than 25 years of team management, business development, and sales leadership experience. She counsels executives and small businesses in a diverse array of strategies and tactics and she is an expert in creating kick-butt salespeople.