You missed the number. Fortunately you have a plan, and you quantified its impact. As CEO you need to ask: who will own the rollout of the plan? Who on my executive team will manage my initiative?


Your improvement plan started with a Sales Productivity Benchmark (SPB). This is a comprehensive environmental scan of your entire sales force. After that, you likely conducted a Feasibility Study. This Study helped calculate the impact of your proposed solutions.

Now is time to transition from strategy to results. You need to define roles and responsibilities according to a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). Download this Work Breakdown Guide to see a portion of a WBS. Essentially, the WBS has the following features:


  • Assign specific individuals to tasks
  • Define tasks that are clear to achieve
  • Accomplish strategic objectives with every task


Why Care About the Details

Without a WBS, a sales improvement initiative is susceptible to role corruption. This leads to two common CEO pitfalls:

  • You blame for things you did not ask for.
  • You ask for things you did not need.


Avoid the Pitfalls

Defining roles and responsibilities is not just for the lower layers of the organization. Strategic sales initiatives need this level of detail at the executive level too. To get started, make sure your executive team follows these simple rules of thumb:


  • Start with the objective of the sales improvement plan
  • Don’t over-engineer the solution
  • Keep the roles, responsibilities, and deliverables simple
  • Obtain executive team agreement on who owns what
  • Get to work


Benefits of Clearly Defined Work Breakdown

Clearly defining the execution plan will have several benefits to your organization


  • Avoid Disruption. If the executive staff does not clearly define who does what, the finger pointing begins. Details are missed. This leads to organizational disruption. Avoid disruption by defining roles up front[
  • Minimize Opportunity Cost. You are rolling out an initiative for a reason: to make the number. With every initiative delay; it’s likely you will continue to miss your number. Defining roles and deliverables with a WBS avoids this cost.
  • Reduce Sales Overhead. As initiatives stall, your team is distracted. They become less effective at generating revenue. Then the team focuses on non-sales activity. This ultimately cuts into your margin. A rapid initiative rollout allows your team to get back to their “day jobs.”
  • Assign roles according to know-how. Align your experts with the work at hand. A clear Work Breakdown makes it easier to identify the experts and align them with tasks. Your experts will produce superior results


Next Steps

You missed the number. You quantified the impact of your improvement plan. Nowork_breakdown_guide_cta2bw is time to define roles and responsibilities according to a Work Breakdown Structure. Download this brief Work Breakdown Guide to get started




Dan Bernoske

Go-to Market Innovator

Prior to SBI, Dan held business development, sales, and product management leadership positions at several start-up companies, developing Apple iOS platforms and E-Commerce-based social networks. Most notably, Dan was co-founder of Video Lantern, an online video advertising sales and operations firm. He is Six Sigma certified from GE.

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