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  • Writer's pictureBrian Shea

CEOs need to pause, pivot and reinvent sales workforce productivity

If you are a CEO, especially leading an emerging growth firm, please repeat after me.

"The revenue machine playbook has been rewritten."

"The revenue machine playbook has been rewritten."

"The revenue machine playbook has been rewritten."

"The revenue machine playbook has been rewritten."

"The revenue machine playbook has been rewritten."

As confirmed by the recently released the Gartner 2023-2024 CEO survey of top strategic priorities, driving business productivity and rebuilding a new three-to-seven year growth strategy must be at the top of the CEO's imperatives

The days of growth at all costs are gone. A renewed focus on business productivity is a must.

While growth remains the #1 CEO priority, it's slightly down from 2022. Cost management is up 69% and efficiency & productivity jumped 46% year over year. Each of these three can be impacted through digitization and increasing a firms digital capabilities.

In chapter 3 of our eBook "Red Flags in Revenue: A Guide for Private Equity", we make the case for emerging growth CEOs to redefine their three planning horizons into maturity execution layers.

Horizon 1 is now the Execution Layer, Horizon 2 is the Business Improvement Layer, and Horizon 3 is the Visionary Layer. While CEOs often navigate to Horizon 3, maintaining oversight on execution and business improvement is critically important. Fast growing firms often lack the maturity of key operating machines including the sales system, talent systems and sales management coaching systems, the CEO must keep two hands on the wheel at all times.

Talent (workforce) remains a top 3 priority, up slightly from 2022. We invest an entire chapter in the eBook to sales talent. As Marc Bennioff of Salesforce stated, "Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth". Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball, The Art of Winning an Unfair Game" said "There was but one question he left unasked, and it vibrated between his lines: if gross miscalculations of a person’s value could occur on a baseball field before a live audience of thirty thousand and a television audience of millions more, what did that say about the measurement of performance in other lines of work? If professional baseball players could be over or undervalued, who couldn’t?”

As the next CEO summit, don't be surprised to hear these three outlooks:

1. CEOs remain cautious about 2023 but expect business to improve in 2024 and beyond.

2. Budgets and approvals remain tight in the short term, but executive leaders should find time to ideate and plan for the longer term, assuming no major new crises arise.

3. By 2025, productivity will be a top 5 CEO strategic business priority.

If you are a CEO of a fast growing company and you believe that "The revenue machine playbook has been rewritten", but your firm may be operating with obsolete instructions, contact us at We can help.

Download you copy of the above mentioned eBook at


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