Don't Hand Off the Chief Sales Officer Job

When it comes to making sales and winning over investors, don't sell yourself short.

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Everyone knows small business owners have to wear multiple hats. But what if one of them doesn't fit properly?

Many entrepreneurs tend to be practiced in one or two specific areas -- maybe marketing is their thing. Or perhaps they're an engineer or software developer by training. Being a salesperson and landing big fish clients, however, is rarely an entrepreneur's forte.

For this reason, business owners often want to remove themselves from the top sales role and bring in a specialist. Although it's possible -- and perhaps a good idea -- to hire salespeople or even sales managers, handing off the top job can be a mistake -- especially when you're just starting up.

Here are three reasons you -- and only you -- need to be your company's chief sales officer:

Only you really know the product or service. You don't just know how it works, you know why it works that way. You know how it got to this point, why it is what it is and it isn't what it isn't. You know what it's great at, and you know its weaknesses.

A big customer for a new product or service doesn't want to hear the answers to these questions from an employee -- only from the founder or CEO.

Only you have the drive. Bankers or venture capitalists extending you a line of credit or funding know that an employee can always walk away when the going gets tough. And even the most loyal employees aren't generally as motivated as you. Financiers want to see that you -- with your passion for the business in tow -- are responsible for your company's bottom line. So does your biggest customer.

It is only your company on the line. Big customers and investors want to feel that personal commitment that only an owner can give. At the end of the day, your business is still not a sure thing -- it's the personal assurance that you are accountable, which drives the final deals. And you can't hand that off.

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