#1: Michael Burcham: How to Earn Your Board’s Trust

Most sales leaders are terrified of the Board of Directors. The narrative with your customers is important, but how are you shaping the narrative with your board? Gaining your board’s respect starts with presenting a strong annual strategic plan. In this episode, Michael Burcham talks through the mechanisms of an iterative sales planning process that evolves with the market and engages the voice of the customer. LISTEN TO EPISODE HERE

Michael Burcham spends his time working to build businesses as a CEO, Strategist, Entrepreneur, Educator and Executive Coach. He currently serves as Executive Partner with Shore Capital Partners. Throughout his career, Michael has scaled and sold 3 healthcare organizations – Theraphysics, ParadigmHealth, and Narus Health. He is also the founding President & CEO of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center where he served from 2010 – 2015. 

Sales planning show notes:

  • Planning is an iterative process that involves gathering market intelligence, bringing that intelligence back to the company, and as the market slowly evolves and moves, you know how to work contingency plans and update your plan as you go. 
  • Successful sales planning means watching all the signals coming from the environment and having contingencies set to go so that they can be adjusted week to week as needed.
  • Customer sentiment shifts overtime: what worked a year ago won’t work today, or maybe even six months ago won’t work today.
  • The sales leader and the sales team are the primary voice of the customer. The messages the sales team brings back of both successes and misses should shape and inform the planning process.
  • Performance around process provides powerful insight.
  • Frequent, fruitful conversations on where you’re hitting the mark and where you’re missing the mark between the sales leader and board is key. 
  • When a company does strategic sales planning without the sales leader present, it becomes everybody’s best guess of what we’re going to do and how we’re going to resource it. 
  • If sales plans fail, it’s not because of a lack of resources. It’s because of a lack of resourcefulness.
  • Ask good questions. By asking good questions, you can get a beautiful, crystal-clear picture of what is or isn’t happening.
  • It’s imperative that a sales leader have an opportunity to interact with the company’s advisors who are helping guide the overall strategic direction of the company, because without revenue, there is no strategic growth, and the drivers of revenue are the folks leading sales. 
  • Once you lose control of the narrative with your customer, you are virtually guaranteed to lose control of the narrative with your board.
  • If you’re a sales leader going into a board meeting, prepare as if you were going to see a serious sales prospect. You wouldn’t walk in cold and not be prepared for the meeting. 
  • Ultimately, it’s the entire team that makes a company hit its sales target. 
  • Understand you are part of the team and you’re given the privilege to be the messenger of the company. But it only works when the entire company is working as a team to hit its quarterly number. And if you take all the credit for the sale, you have to also take all the credit for the miss, and neither are ever really true. 
  • Never forget the first 100 days with a customer. 
  • If you can’t grow at a rate that’s faster than the rate the business or the team is growing, you will be replaced. There’s never been more need for a coach.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Great by Choice 

Andy Zoltners


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