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business ceo coaching growth habits leadership mgs success Jan 12, 2018

As a CEO/Leadership team coach, I work with many companies that have gross sales both above and below $10 Million. I call out the value of $10M here, as I often see a common issue with those falling below this value. In my experience, the majority of companies with a topline under $10M have a CEO that is also leading sales! I know that this is a common practice of a new and growing company due to small start-up teams and rapid growth, but why is it still so common in established companies that fall under the $10M mark? Are you a CEO in an established company that is guilty of this? If you are, it’s likely the key reason you can’t break a $10M topline. But whats your excuse and how can you correct it?



Excuses, excuses! I have heard and said them all myself. The biggest one, “HIRING A SALES LEAD IS HARD!”.  When a CEO is ready to make this leap to hire a sales leader, they are often in a state of desperation. This desperate state leads to rushed hiring;  filing the sales lead position with the first person that “sells” them self in an interview, or by “promoting” the top performing sales person currently on the team. And once you have made these hiring mistakes once, the fear of “another bad hire” is sometimes enough to not hire at all. I made all these mistake as CEO in my first company.  Very costly to both the bottom line and your momentum to grow. 


After two times of being “unlucky” in choosing the wrong sales leader, I took a step back. I needed to make some changes to my process, and FAST! It was then that I took the following steps:

  1. Mapped out the marketing using a tool called – THE MAP – to draw how your company goes to market. Yes – create a picture for your wall!
  2. Drew our Key Process Flow Map (KPFM) to show what the key “money making” functions of our company were. (This might seem obvious but do not skip this step.    Put this on the wall next to your MAP.
  3. Draw the 3-5 key processes for the Sales Function in a Process Flow Map and put it on the wall.


Now that you can clearly see how you go to market, how sales interacts with the other key processes in your company to make money, and have an excellent understanding on how the sales process flow works, you can have a strategic discussion with your leadership team. This discussion will allow you and your team to decide what should be improved or evolved in the KPFM and the Sales Process Flow for maximum success.  Start implementing these adjustments! While this is taking place, you can take on the follow next steps: 


  1. Create a Scorecard – for the Sales Leader Position. Check out for a Scorecard example – which is a simple and clear way to articulate what a position in your company is accountable for and it will be measured.  A Players are attracted to this clarity.
  2. Now you are ready to share with you network and the market – who you are looking for to be accountable for converting your opportunities to Revenue.
  3. Once you start attracting and identifying candidates, I recommend using the “Topgrading for Sales” written by Bradford D. Smart Ph.D. and Greg Alexander as an approach to ensuring the candidate is an A Player Sales Leader.


This process will provide you with the clarity needed to not only identify the sales leader that will be most valuable to your organization, but it will also improve the your understanding and the whole leaderships team understanding of how the company makes money and who is accountable. 


#CommittoGrowth Try this out and give us your feedback! To get more CEO tips and tricks visit


-Shannon Susko

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