The War Room

CEO as your Sales Manager?

Selling SaaS at a small start up and the CEO got rid of the SVP of Sales and took over sales management so now we all report directly to him. Great CEO with a solid vision but comes from a technical background and certainly not the best sales manager or person you want calling you asking where the deal is. This person is a total micro-manager and also likes to unnecessarily invite himself to meetings with prospects. Anyone been in a situation like this? Is this a recipe for disaster?

๐Ÿงข Sales Management
โœŒ๏ธ Growing Pains
๐Ÿข Org Chart
I don't see anything wrong with them being a part of client meetings. But micro-managing is a super no no. I'd politely ask them to back off when it comes to that and let them know the expectations. The fact that the CEO needs to trust you and other sales people is paramount in this stage of startup. CEO soon will realize themselves too that its not scalable
Call me what you want, just sign the damn contract
I'd be very, very careful. I've been in situations where the sales leader was still there but effectively not in charge. My guess is you'll be miserable.
Client Director
This would be an ideal time to make sure or suggest that you guys start to follow a formal "sales process" (not sure if your org uses one)...A technical background person will really grasp a "checklist" style and could help ease the micro-management.

I used to work in sales consulting and when we had to help technical people like engineers learn how to do BD activities the first thing we would do would be implement a formal sales process because it works well with their brains/technical thought process.
I donโ€™t even know anymore ๐Ÿคช
the SAME thing is happening to us (minus jumping on the calls), so exact, I had to send this to my teammate to make sure they didn't post it LOL However...advice on our side...

Just have empathy for the CEO and sort of take it as they need extra comforting. If they just got rid of their SVP and they have to take over the position, likely they are in hot water with those above (an SVP is not a cheap investment). They are probably micro-managing b/c so much went unseen they sort of are starting from square one.ย 

I think there is advice below on it being a good time to establish a sales process. That's probably the best approach to help them feel like they can be more hands-off. Couple this with more pro-active reporting or setting up set times on the calendar for updates so they know they'll still get the info and your day won't be disrupted.ย 
Enterprise Account Executive
Having CEO play the role of technical evangelist in your sales process can very helpful in a sales cycle. Hopefully, they'll establish trust in you quickly and back off the micromanaging. If it becomes a big problem you may need to bring it up directly with them in a constructive way.
This exact thing happened to me for a year and it was far from ideal. The CEO started asking for notes and updates on ever single opp regardless of size.ย 
Director of Sales
CEOs are not wired the same as salespeople. I reported to our CEO for 2 years. I was so relieved when we promoted a VP of Sales and I reported to someone who had done my exact job.ย 

Our CEO is amazing just day to day is tough.ย 
Senior AE
I don't think it's a recipe for disaster, he's probably learning a ton and can experience the challenges sales face each day. I'd be slightly worried about his ability to handle the other aspects of his job and also manage the sales team but you can't really say anything to him since, ya know... he's the CEOย 
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