Would you eat at a restaurant that the chef of the restaurant didn’t? Of course not! I expect the chef to know where the ingredients came from, have established the recipes, kitchen practices, hired the staff, set standards for the plating of the food and to be there on a regular basis to check on all of these things.

When I ask VP’s of Sales about their involvement in their sales process, prospects and pipeline, I often get very different answers than I would think. There is a belief that prospecting and selling is something for sales people and that strategy, structure and only key deals are their jobs. Wrong. You are the chef. You have to oversee as the core standard of quality, a regular and strong sampling of every element of your kitchen.

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  1. Prospecting – Beyond setting a contact target, you need to be listening to the efforts, attending the trade shows as well as overseeing the lead generation campaign designs and outcomes.  These are the ingredients.
  2. First meetings – Especially with new sales people, but from time to time with all sales people, you need to be in the field, in the meetings, providing feedback and coaching.
  3. Presentations – Getting sales leaders to attend sales presentations is not usually the highest challenge- who doesn’t like to be at the pitch? The problem is that VP’s want to be at the “sure thing” presentation. Your staff needs to see you in the uncertain presentation moments to get better, not just in the highly likely.

To be relevant and valuable as a leader of a sales team, you have to be in the kitchen, at the market and plating the dish. Bottom line, selling happens in the field, not in your office.

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