When you think about it, salespeople have an awesome amount of freedom—but also a huge amount of personal responsibility. In many senses, we really are entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs march to their own drummer. They have goals, translated both to financial aspirations (revenue, earnings, growth), and strategies (share, market visibility, brand reputation, etc.) They develop plans, then invest in the people, facilities, capital, and other resources needed to achieve them.
Great entrepreneurs are relentless, driven, disciplined, and focused. They make no personal excuses, and focus on optimizing the deployment of resources and performance within their organizations.
Being an entrepreneur is satisfying and liberating. We revel in accountability and responsibility. Success or failure is really within our control.
Sales is a lot like this. Whether we work for a large or small company, we are given relatively large amounts of autonomy. Our companies entrust us with a “patch.” Our patch might be an account, collection of accounts, industry segment, or geographic territory.
It’s up to us to maximize the results Yes, our companies give us quotas and goals, but like great entrepreneurs, we really want to maximize our penetration, share, and to grow our territory.
Our companies also entrust us with resources to leverage in producing results. They may be pre-sales specialists, support people, marketing people, customer service, or designers. They provide us opportunities to use tools, programs, and other resources we can deploy as part of our plans and strategies. It’s up to us to use these resources well to maximize our achievements.
While our companies may provide various levels of “guidance,” about our strategies for growing the territories and maximizing results, it really is our job to figure it out how to get from the lead to the sale. It’s our job to develop the strategies and plans, lead the execution, and produce the best results.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly—To customers, we really are “the company.” While we may have armies of people supporting us, we are the face and voice of the company. We are the people they work with every day. We are the people they are trusting to help them achieve their goals. We are the people accountable for the commitments our organization makes.
Within our patches, we represent the company. We are the entrepreneurs running our companies and maximizing our abilities to achieve our goals.
Can you think of anything more fun or challenging in your business life?