The storm clouds have passed. Europe has stabilized (for now).  Congress avoided a fiscal nightmare (in spite of itself).  Businesses are talking about making interntal investments.  Despite the optimism, now is not the time to relax.  Here are the biggest threats to the CSO in 2013.


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Your CMO is Suddenly Able to Trace Her Effectiveness

 Your CEO and CFO are data-driven.  5 years ago, the two black boxes of reliable data were Sales and Marketing.  CMOs touted unquantifiable metrics like Increased Brand Awareness and Customer Perception.  CSOs talked about Pipeline, which sometimes eroded quickly as quarter-end approached. 


Today, marketing has dramatically changed.  Armed with Marketing Automation Software, CMOs are tracing new customers back to their campaigns.  They can track dollar figures on investments.  They show the CEO where marketing dollars should be shifted.  With this increased transparency in marketing, CMOs can clearly show their worth. 


Overall, this is an incredibly positive trend.  However, it leaves sales as the sole department with spotty metrics. If you present metrics like win rate, pre-qualified pipeline, and prospect meetings to the CEO, you’re in trouble.  These are “inward out” metrics that only Sales leaders care about.  The CEO wants metrics to help them evalute two things: Revenue and Costs.  Talk about metrics that your CEO cares about.  Download this Sales Metrics that Matter Tool and go into the office armed with data they want.


Your Buyers Are Getting More Comfortable Buying Without a Face to Face Meeting

As your customers flock to the internet, the face to face interaction continues to lose value.  Webcams, webinars, and self-directed presentations have narrowed the distance between vendor and prospect.  Smart, nimble companies will be building Inside Sales departments capable of developing and closing opportunities.  As their average customer acquisition cost drops, they can lower prices.  Prospects like face to face meetings, but most would concede this interaction in exchange for a lower price.  


Last month, I sat in on four software demonstrations for a client.  One presentation was virtual. The other three vendors sent AT LEAST two field representatives. The virtual vendor made the final cut of two, and was considered to have the best presentation.  Let me repeat that:  The sole inside sales rep, sitting North Dakota, delivered the best presentation of four vendors. Furthermore, her price was approximately 50% of the others’ average. After she provided the final price, the decision maker called her solution “the safe bet”.


If your field team drives all new logo sales, you may be paying too much in sales expenses. Expect competitors with a less expensive sales force model to be aggressive on pricing.


Your CEO and CFO Think This is the Year of the Great Recovery: After a glut of economic activity, hope is emerging.  The consensus on Wall Street is a strong 2013.  Note: If you study history, this fact alone should concern you. At SBI, we’ve seen very aggressive quotas and targets for 2013.  CEOs and CFOs won’t like it if you miss the number, but they hate two things even more: 1) The CSO who shrugs his shoulders and says “I don’t know”. 2) A CSO who talks about the promise ahead by referencing metrics that the Sales team can manipulate.


Stay on top of the metrics that matter to your CEO and CFO.  Download the Sales Metrics that Matter Tool to monitor true indicators of cost and revenue.  If you can walk into the CEOs office with these 5 metrics, you’ll be better prepared than 80% of your peers.  2013 is going to be tough year.  Stop wasting the CEOs time with “Sales Cycle Length” and “Win Rate”, which are only important to the sales team.  Start talking about revenue, new customers, and costs.