I have found eight common myths when rolling out an Executive Sponsor Program. They are:
1. We don't need the CEO and/or President involved to be successful.
2. Each Executive Sponsor can effectively handle 10 accounts.
3. The Executive knows how important this is. They are senior people; they don't need training/overview.
4. As long as they are considered to be an executive, they should be expected to take accounts
5. We have 40 executives; let’s give everyone 2 accounts. We need 80 accounts.
6. We can assign 100 accounts in 90 days and still be successful.
7. We don't need anyone to manage this program. Everyone will know what to do.
8. Just have our Executive meet with the Customer Executive. We don't need a lot of structure.
Today, I'm going to focus on Myths #3 and 4.
Myth #3 – We told the Executives how important this is. They are senior people. They don’t need training or an overview.
This is a fine line you walk when rolling out a program of this magnitude. The executives within your organization got to their position for a reason. However, they need to know what’s expected of them and “what a good job looks like.” I have found there is a key strategy that needs to be deployed here to achieve the desired results.
Myth #4 – As long as they are considered an executive, they should be expected to take accounts.
This one always brings a lot of discussion. Everyone has an opinion here. I was in a meeting this week where a Sales EVP said that he absolutely wanted his Sales SVP’s in the ESP Program. Our experience has shown this is one group that needs to stay out of the program.
The Sales EVP can be in the program. That makes sense. We have found that customers really frown upon sales executives calling on them because it takes longer to build trust. Why? Because the customer thinks they’ll try to sell them something. The exception to that rule is when you have a very senior/savvy Sales Team that has strong business acumen skills and sells across the enterprise already to win business. If that’s your scenario then your sales executive can separate themselves from any sales transaction as long as there supporting a different geography then their responsibilities.
I will discuss "Common Myths 5 & 6 in Launching and Sustaining an Executive Sponsor Program" in my next blog.