CSO, CRO, VP of Sales: Which Leader Fits Your Company? Which Fits You?

By Masami Middleton

As sales consultants, we encounter sales leaders with a variety of fancy acronyms in their titles. In addition to the SVPs/EVPs of Sales, the sales leader landscape also includes CROs, CSOs, and CGOs. While these titles imply a distinction in roles, to most people, it’s just alphabet soup. 

What’s the difference between a Chief Sales Officer (CSO) and a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) or Chief Growth Officer (CGO)? From the CEO or board member perspective, which role does your business need? For a sales leader, which role is the best fit with your capabilities?

The easiest way to distinguish between these roles is to compare their scope of responsibility, core objectives, and what defines success. Appointing a “heavy hitter” to a CSO, CRO or CGO role, rather than a VP of Sales, indicates the need for a greater span of oversight from a strategic, revenue generation, and customer lifecycle perspective.

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The “Unluckiest Generation” of Sellers

By Warren Shiver

We’ve been interested in the impacts of the different generations in the workforce and specifically related to sales since our initial research for our book The Multigenerational Sales Team. According to the US Dept of Labor, in 2019 Millennials displaced Gen X as the largest cohort in the American workforce.

Last week, I came across an article in the Washington Post titled “The unluckiest generation in U.S. history,” which is quite a statement given some of the challenges that have confronted prior generations (world wars, pandemics, Great Depression, etc.), but it certainly caught my attention. The reporter Andrew Van Dam notes, “After accounting for the present crisis, the average millennial has experienced slower economic growth since entering the workforce than any other generation in U.S. history.”

What does this misfortune mean for early career sales professionals? What other trends from today's pandemic will impact the next generation of sellers and sales leaders?

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What Sales Leaders Can Learn from Epicurean Philosophers

By Hope Eyre

It’s called Pandemic Downtime, and we have it. That extra time we’d normally never have because we’re on airplanes, entertaining clients, and generally doing the things people do when they’re free to leave the house.

A lawyer friend of mine and his wife always have interesting podcast recommendations. So while I was browsing through a list they’d given me, I stumbled across a series called Philosophize This!  by Stephen West.

The host is a superb storyteller, adept at explaining philosophical tenets in a relatable, entertaining way. Imagine attending a lecture on Socrates given by Jimmy Kimmel. That’s what he’s like.

My colleague, Warren, was nearing the end of a Thomas Keller cooking series he’d been watching on Masterclass, so I suggested Philosophize This!  We figured strolling through non-business topics while we had the time might boost creativity when we returned to a faster pace.

Philosophy isn’t exactly familiar territory for either of us, but after listening to a few episodes (Daoism, Confucianism, Stoicism), we were hooked. It was only a matter of time before we started trying to relate the concepts we learned to the business of sales.

Topics: sales process
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Using “Down Time” to Get Your CRM In Order

By Erica Abt

Sales professionals are occasionally faced with a lull in client meetings due to regular business seasonality, vacation schedules, or as we all know too well - a global health pandemic. While maximizing face time with clients should always be the #1 priority, it is important that sales teams take advantage of any extra time at their computers executing high value activities.


When the reason for the extra time calls for increased sensitivity around typical sales tactics (like aggressively cold calling for new meetings or asking for more business), we encourage sales teams to look inward and use the time to evaluate and improve their own business processes and tools so that they are ready to hit the ground running when a normal schedule resumes. One example of an internal tool that requires “TLC” in order to drive sales effectiveness is the CRM tool.


In this blog we explore four foundational CRM data elements that sales leaders should routinely evaluate to ensure the tool accurately reflects the status their client relationships in addition to their territory’s pipeline potential.

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Talking to Your Sales Team: Do it More Often, Starting Now

By Hope Eyre

If you manage sellers, frontline sales managers or indeed anyone, you understand they’re under stress, apprehensive, and craving any type of normalcy until actual normalcy returns.

Most sales leaders we talk to are currently in break/fix mode: Some are having to shrink their organizations or reduce pay. Most are trying to figure out how to help customers whose businesses or entire industries have been upended.

All are worried about the health and safety of their teams in addition to working hard to help sellers quickly become accomplished in a virtual environment. The key to managing much of this lies in how you’re communicating with your team while stress is running high.

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4 R’s of Building Trust and Customer Relationships in a Virtual Environment

By Rachel Cavallo

What if today’s unprecedented circumstances could actually help us to build stronger relationships with our customers? What if today, when faced with insurmountable barriers like quarantine and social distancing, we could actually get to know our customers better and be the type of sellers we always say that we want to be – the type of sellers who genuinely care about our customers’ success, who empathize with their challenges, and who bring vital information that is insightful and highly relevant to the situation our customers face today? But how?

The general presumption among sellers has long been that if you really want to develop relationships, you have to get face-to-face. While we find that many sellers interact with their customers over email, text, and phone, they really rely on those face-to-face moments in the office or over lunch to build strong relationships. But maybe today, when we take away the “easy” part, we’re actually left with what really matters… it’s not the lunch or the warm smile and firm handshake (Yikes! Where’s the sanitizer? Will we ever do that again?), it’s the trust and the value that really matter… that’s what builds and sustains a firm foundation.  We can build solid relationships remotely… in fact, we might even be able to do it better – we just have to adjust our approach.

The fundamentals don’t change. We believe there are 4 key components – We call them the 4 R’s: Be Relevant, Be Real, Be Relatable, and Be Reliable.

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The Big (Data) Obstacle that Sales Organizations Must Overcome

By Kelsey Peusch

Buzzwords like “big data” and phrases like “strategic data-driven decision making” have been bouncing around board rooms for quite some time. Experts report that up to 97% of organizations are investing in big data and AI, with each striving to harness data to be smarter about the people they target, the products they offer, the pricing they set, and the distribution paths they select.

Organizations across industries are clamoring for tools and techniques capable of aggregating important data as they mine for meaningful insights. No doubt the topic is hot, and there are bright spots emerging within the world of sales, yet why do so many sales organizations still struggle to fully optimize the potential of the data at their disposal?  

Read on to learn more about the power behind data analytics, why sales organizations continue to struggle to unlock its true potential, and the bright spots emerging within our own client portfolio.

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Prepare for Gen Z in Four Ways: Leadership, Learning, Technology, and Data

By Erica Abt

It is difficult to keep up with the latest generational trends, especially for sales leaders trying to drive performance while also balancing the needs of those they lead and serve. In fact, many sales leaders express how complicated it is to prioritize and implement any sort of business or culture change that they think will get the best return on their time, money, and effort.

My colleague, Kelsey, recently broke the bad news that Generation Z – yes, people born after 2001 – will soon be another key consideration for sales organizations. If you haven’t been paying attention to how generational differences are impacting your sales team, then you’re already late to the game. So, what’s our recommendation? Instead of just catching up on Millennials (which you can do here), this blog explores the critical places to focus in order to prepare for Generation Z that will also positively benefit Millennials along the way.

Topics: generation Z
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Generation Z is Coming, with Skills that will Surprise You... and Your Buyers

By Kelsey Peusch

What sounds as ominous as a Game of Thrones catchphrase or foreboding as a Brad Pitt Zombie reboot might be a blessing for corporations that will soon be forced to navigate a new set of rules to prime the next generation for the sales roles of those on the road to retirement. 

By our research, the oldest members of Generation Z are 18 years old (born in 2001 or after). Their story is yet to be fully written, but societal norms have shifted so significantly in the past 5 to 10 years that their impact on this next generation will likely be significant. From Washington’s partisan politicking and Hollywood’s #MeToo Movement to the power of social influencers, Generation Z exquisitely balances the need to be unique with that of being highly empathetic. Vulnerability is becoming a badge of honor, and authenticity seems to trump all else. Let’s take a deeper look to better understand how these influences are molding the next generation of highly empathetic sellers and thought leaders.

Spoiler alert – there is a lot more good than bad!

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How Do Sales Leaders Stay Credible and Legitimate?

By Hope Eyre

There’s this TED talk I like by General Stanley McChrystal called “Listen, Learn… then Lead.” We assign it as homework in our Leadership Academy, a 6-module program we’ve run for years at individual clients to ready their next generation managers for leadership positions across a variety of functions.

General McChrystal (who knew he was funny?) has several poignant messages delivered compellingly against the backdrop of combat, but his key takeaway is this: Leaders are good when they’re willing to learn.

“How," he asks, "does a leader stay credible and legitimate when they haven’t done what the people (they’re) leading are doing?”

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