You are time starved now more than ever.   If you tackle the right problem, it will help you make the number.  It will help you get promoted. This tool will expose you to the 6 biggest problems sales leaders face.  Solving one of these can accelerate your path to promotion.


Talent Management


CEOs Want Problem Solvers

You want the SVP job.  The power and the pay are appealing. Perhaps at your current company or somewhere else?   When interviewing internally or externally, you will be asked to explain your leadership approach. The standard answer “finding good people and get out of their way” will not fly. 4 in 5 SVP of Sales jobs become available because the number was missed. CEOs have a revenue shortfall.  They want somebody who can fix sales problems. Solving sales productivity problems is a huge obstacle that stands in their way. Solving one problem may not guarantee you a promotion. Learning how to execute consistently like a problem solver will greatly improve your chances. You will stand out from your peers.


Which Problem to Tackle

For a problem to be worth solving it must have 3 things. First, it must be pervasive. You see it everywhere in the sales force.  Secondly, it must be urgent. It impacts this year’s revenue number. Lastly, the company is willing to invest. Both resources and time.  Once you screen your sales problems against this test, you can tackle them.


As a sales and marketing consultancy, our firm has participated in hundreds of sales transformations. There are 6 problems we keep getting asked to fix. These problems meet the criteria above. I will name the metric and the problem.  I will provide you with a few potential points of evidence that helps you get to root cause. This will help you in your diagnosis. Most importantly this will ensure your sales force improvement project is one that matters. You don’t have time to address symptoms.


The Common Sales Problems  #1 – Metric — Sales Cycle Length increasing 15% or more


VP of Sales


Root Cause—your company does not sell the way the customer likes to buy. You are not aligned with how your customer proceeds through their buying process. A solution to this would be the development of a buying process map


#2 – Metric— Missing the New Product Quota
Vice President of Sales


Root Causeyour company does not have a Sales Enablement Program. There is a best practice to get the sales force ready to sell the new product.   You need a segmentation plan and buyer access plan. How will the channel be enabled?  Marketing needs to be running demand generation campaigns in advance so sales has leads. These need to be connected in a Sales & Marketing Supply Chain.


The complete list can be found here. By using this tool you will learn the other 4 common problems we see. Most importantly, you can determine if the project you are looking at undertaking is the right one.  Solving these big problems can help position you for the next step. Attempting to solve the wrong problems can have the reverse effect. Sales leaders are naturally competitive and want to move up. Don’t get distracted working on the wrong sales improvement project.


Action For You

Pick the sales problem that is most acute from the list. Assemble a small team of managers and reps who you can trust. Have them complete the exercise. Pick off the big sales improvement project nobody has solved. Stay focused on pervasive, urgent, time and resources.  This is the one to tackle.


We see sales leaders undertake sales force projects with best intent. They just happen to pick the wrong ones. The right projects have a revenue reward, no question. The big ones will naturally address your ability to stand out. Your ability to solve problems is directly correlated to your probability of promotion. The SVPs of Sales we see cycle through a role in 18 months had the best intentions. They couldn’t execute well enough to solve the problems that impacted making the number.


Good luck — leave a comment below on the big problems you have tackled that allowed you to stand out. We would enjoy hearing from you.



Matt Sharrers

Leads the firm's focus on the CEO’s role in accelerating revenue growth by embracing emerging best practices to grow revenue faster than the industry and competitors. 

Matt Sharrers is the CEO of SBI, a management consulting firm specialized in sales and marketing that is dedicated to helping you Make Your Number. Forbes recognizes SBI as one of The Best Management Consulting Firms in 2017.


Over the course of nearly a decade at SBI, Matt Sharrers was an instrumental early partner guiding SBI as the Senior Partner. Matt’s functional responsibilities included acting as the head of sales where he led SBI’s double-digit revenue growth, and was responsible for the hiring function to build SBI’s team of revenue generation experts.


Prior to joining SBI in 2009, Matt spent eleven years leading sales and marketing teams as a Vice President of Sales. Matt has “lived in the field.” As a result, he is the foremost expert in the art of separating fact from fiction as it relates to revenue growth best practices. CEOs and Private equity investors turn to Matt’s team at SBI when they need to unlock trapped growth inside of their companies.



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