Job Titles In Sales & Establishing Sales Authority

Have you ever scrolled through LinkedIn or a job board and questioned the truth of those job titles? There are so many Directors, Executives, Managers and Senior People;

  • Senior Sales Manager
  • Executive of Sales
  • Senior Director of Sales (Double the seniority in this one!)

This isn’t about genuine managerial roles, this is about sales roles that adopt a senior title. One thing we’ve noticed is that Sales Roles often emphasise seniority, but similar Marketing Roles do not do this to the same extent. Why is this and is there a better way to establish Sales Authority?

Companies Encourage Titles That Establish Sales Authority

One glance at the vast professional network, LinkedIn, reveals a host of seemingly high-ranking sales job titles. You may stumble upon titles like ‘Senior Vice President of Sales’, ‘Chief Sales Officer’, or ‘Director of Global Sales’ that initially command respect and admiration. Companies know that authority helps their sales team sell and they know that titles help with attracting talent.

LinkedIn Job Titles – Seniority & Authority

On closer scrutiny, these high-ranking titles frequently do not reflect the actual responsibilities or hierarchical status that these roles encompass.

Even if you go further, you’ll notice the words ‘Senior’ and ‘Manager’ more often in Sales Roles than others. The representation of seniority in sales can be useful for authority and negotiation. Whilst this is true to an extent but there’s a better way for employers to establish Sales Authority in their team.

A Better Way For Companies To Establish Authority In Sales

You should definitely check this out, it’s pretty well documented that authority plays a role in performance. There’s been dozens of peer-reviewed tests that by simply popping on a what they are called is a scientist’s white coat can make someone seem smarter and give a higher ranking. There’s also experiments where they take the same coat and say it’s a painter’s coat and it actually has the opposite effect.

Establishing Sales Authority

A rank can portray authority and this is often useful in negotiating. But is this the best approach? Perhaps, not. Do you know what is more useful in negotiating? Establishing Trust.

The key to gaining meaningful authority in any business situation lies not in an inflated title, but in establishing trust. Trust is built over time, through consistently delivering on promises, showing empathy and understanding, and offering solutions that truly address customers’ needs.

A way to fast track this though is to be disarmingly honest. Make super clear your intentions, and then discuss extensively about what’s good for them. This will invariably wield more influence than one who relies on their job designation.

The Path Forward: Encourage Authenticity and Transparency In Your Team

Again, this is the companies making the roles that have started this game of cat and mouse with titles. A better method to help their team establish sales authority of B2B Sales is authenticity and transparency. It may be simpler to identify the issue at hand, but the real challenge lies in developing sustainable solutions for big companies. Here’s a few suggestions from our end though:

  1. Let your team use their own voice – When people speak in their own voice and not ‘work speak’, then they’ll be more likely to come from a place of authenticity and honesty when pitching.
  2. No room for egos, only collaboration – Sales is a pretty compeitive environment. Create a workplace where problems and wins are shared. Get people contributing to everyone’s success, not just their own wins
  3. Clear pathways for career progression – These should be anchored to tangible achievements and responsibilities, rather than a mere escalation in the job title.

Last but certainly not least, a culture that places skills and contributions above mere titles needs to be nurtured. Have a common language that objectively shows who’s done a great job, so there’s no room for egos. A workforce that values substance over titles would not just foster better job satisfaction but also drive productivity and innovation. An organisation teeming with people who carry lofty titles but lack in substance will invariably lag behind a team filled with talented and committed individuals.

In essence, the path forward demands a reorientation in how we perceive and award job titles. By doing so, we can ensure that sales authority is not just a matter of inflated titles, but a true reflection of an individual’s role, responsibilities and contributions.