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What Does a Chief Sales Officer Do?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 07 December 2016
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A chief sales officer is typically responsible for overseeing sales and marketing of various products or services for a company. This can involve a number of skills and abilities, though this officer is often tasked with managerial oversight of sales teams, marketing teams, and the development and implementation of various measures intended to promote sales. The individual typically answers directly to a chief executive officer (CEO) or company manager and often has extensive managerial and sales experience. While the day-to-day work of this officer can vary, he or she generally develops or oversees the development of sales strategies and analyzes sales numbers to evaluate the success of such strategies.

Sometimes also referred to as a chief marketing officer, the chief sales officer for a business is usually a high level position within a corporation or other company. This officer usually has extensive experience and a professional background in sales and managerial roles, since it is important for this person to understand sales and know how to be a leader. While a bachelor’s degree may be acceptable for some positions, most have a master’s degree and five or more years of professional experience in management and team leadership.

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The responsibilities of this position typically begin with the development of an overall sales plan or strategy for a company. This can be one unifying plan for the entire company or may entail numerous individual plans for different products and regional operations. The chief sales officer's role is to understand the different needs of various markets and to apply those needs in developing the approach to sales taken by the company in those markets. This can be done directly by the officer in some situations, though he or she often oversees one or more marketing and sales teams that develop plans based on the officer’s ideas and expectations.

Once a sales plan is initiated, then the officer typically follows up on that plan and receives sales numbers related to the implementation of that plan. He or she then analyzes those numbers and uses that information to proceed with the plan or develop a new strategy to push or continue sales. This work is often closely related to marketing and promotions, and a chief sales officer may have a background in those fields as well. Since sales information for a company is usually quantitative, analysis of this officer’s work by a CEO can be fairly simple and positive sales numbers are usually expected for the officer to retain his or her position.

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A chief sales or marketing officer will almost always have a Masters of Business Administration and will be expected to continue his education or training to keep up with the latest trends in his specific industry and the marketing world in general.

The economy is constantly changing, and a good marketing officer has to have the knowledge and ability to study those changes and adapt his company's business to continue to succeed.

In some cases, the chief sales or marketing officer can work his way up to a chief financial officer or even chief executive officer position within the company.

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