I recently consulted for a “sales” led firm, a Software Company. The CEO had been a Sales Professional, very successful and very wealthy. He had taken a year out completed his MBA, then came back and bought the Company.
He changed the Culture of the Company from Product “centric” to a focus on Sales, a ‘Sales’ culture was established. Everybody worked in, on and with Sales.
His results were spectacular, he doubled the business each year for three years.
Having spent three years as CEO and having proved his point, that Sales Led = Success,
he wanted more. After attending a Software ‘Jamboree’ run by the charismatic boss of another Software Company, he whole heartedly adopted and installed a state of the art CRM and SFA, (at great expense!)
Overnight his people who had been treated as ‘Professionals’ felt they were now being treated as ‘naughty children’, They felt that they no longer could use initiative or judgement, they felt that they were no longer “trusted”.
In public and in private the CEO continued to treat his people with confidence, but the new Software ‘systems’ were running the day-to-day business. According to the ‘systems’ 21 DIFFERENT things were all “high” priority.
Sales success was no longer appreciated,
compliance with the system was more valued.
The ‘crunch’ came when his top ten sales people were taken off-the-road, to play in a “sandbox”, before the release of of yet another version of the SFA and modified Sales Process.
His leading Sales Manager and six Sales people left and joined their competitor.
The CEO’s ambivalence has proved to be very expensive, wanting to trust yet being afraid to trust at the same time. Make up your mind, choose, then have a consistent set of behaviours.