The roles of the Chief Sales Officer become best visible in the value chain of business management:
This goal determines the Chief Sales Officer’s roles: executive selling, operational sales leadership and designing the sales related elements of company strategy:
Sales success with important clients or opportunities requires personal time from the Chief Sales Officer.
This is a unique feature of the job - Chief Financial Officers need not work in accounting, Chief Supply Chain Managers don’t work on the assembly line.
This role is classic sales management: the sales organization reports to the Chief Sales Officer.
Far beyond leading the sales organization you must lead the entire sales ecosystem.
This network comprises any element, which influences - supports or constrains ("hinders") - achieving the operational sales goal - within and outside of the company's own functions:
Sales constraints by company internal functions
Sales constraints by company external functions
To lead the sales ecosystem you need to lead any of its functions to perform as required for the operational sales goal - even if most functions in that ecosystem do not report to you:
Company strategy defines the framework for operational leadership for the entire company.
Within strategy the Chief Sales Officer is responsible to collect data and define three elements most closely related to the sales goal - for example:
Without clear agreement on your three roles you will run into nasty conflicts about rights to decide. Avoid such conflicts:
If this agreement is not rock solid your role as Chief Sales Officer builds on sand.
The entire C-level team must be in agreement on you three roles in the management value chain.
The entire C-level management team must share one common view of the sales ecosystem. Lack of agreement will make your job impossible.
For success you must lead the entire sales ecosystem. The entire C-level management team must agree to that.