Why the Chief Sales Officer isn’t a VP of Sales or a VP of Marketing.
Some people think the Chief Sales Officer title is a throwback to the first dot-com days. Others suggest it was concocted by marketers who didn’t have a seat at the executive table, that it’s just a pumped up title for the VP of Marketing or the VP of Sales.
We couldn’t disagree more. In most companies, sales and marketing VPs are tasked with leading their teams to win the short-term revenue battles AND, in their free time, working with the CEO to chart a course for the future. Unfortunately, the company’s correct long-term strategy might actually derail a VP’s own compensation and/or desired career path, creating a conflict of interest.
In addition, the reality is that field execution of marketing, sales, channel management, leading field organizations, etc. is a highly skilled full-time job that should have clear, measurable short-term objectives.
Thus, the Chief Sales Officer (or CEO wearing that hat using “CSO Thinking”) is an executive who applies expertise in “Revenue Generation” and leads the strategy for generating more profitable revenue over the long term.
The CSO builds the bridge from long-term corporate strategy to field execution, ensuring that the entire organization has the direction, information, resources and support to successfully execute in the field. The VPs then lead the execution of that strategy.
The company wins by having both short-term results AND a guide to ensure that the organization dominates the competition, generates profitable revenue, and achieves the company’s long-term strategic goals.