Every game has a scoreboard and business is no exception.

Business Development Managers.  Account Executives.  Client Success Manager.  Sr Account Executive.  Account Manager.  Chief Revenue Officer.  Global Account Manager.  Sales Engineer.  Inbound Specialist.  Business Representative.  Broker.  Agent.  Chief Growth Officer.  

Wow, do we go to great lengths to do anything but call ourselves salespeople?  Why is this?  Most other professionals are proud of their role.  You don’t come across too many doctors or lawyers who disguise their profession with a nebulous title.  The best salespeople have just as much time, energy, and effort into their vocation as any other professional.  Some may argue that being at the top of your game in sales is harder than any other vocation.  

Those who play at the top of this game have an amazing, albeit rare set of skills.  They are polished and seasoned enough to be comfortable and welcome in a boardroom, yet possess enough social and emotional intelligence to comfortably mingle with the folks on the manufacturing floor.  They have tremendous financial acumen, knowledge of financial statements, and the ability to do quick math on the fly.  They persist with tens or hundreds of touches on different platforms and mediums to get a deal done, showing tremendous project management skills.  When they lose they get back in the game immediately, showing tremendous resiliency and toughness.    

In Daniel Pink’s great book To Sell is Human published many years ago he suggested that we are apprehensive to call ourselves salespeople because of the negative stigma associated with this role.  He even conducted word association research showing most people connect salespeople with words like “pushy” and “bothersome”.  In fact, 20 of the 25 words most commonly associated with salespeople were negative.  

Pink surmised that this is a legacy association from days gone by when there was an asymmetry of information – the buyer and the seller didn’t have equal access to information.  This gives one side the edge, assuming the seller is trying to get maximum selling price regardless of the cost or the value of the product or service.  Think of buying a used car in 1984 before that thing called the World Wide Web gave everyone access to the same data.  

So things have changed and the playing field is level now, right?  We have equal access to data so we shouldn’t be apprehensive to call ourselves salespeople.  It doesn’t seem that way.  We still disguise our titles and most are slow to identify as salespeople.  We have to change this because the ability to sell is so critically important for any business – for any person, frankly.  Nobody gets the dream job without being able to sell, whether it’s a sales role or not.  More importantly, we should be extremely proud of the work that we do – because it is indeed so important and it is also very, very difficult to do it well.  

Every game has a scoreboard and business is no exception.  It’s fair to say that the easiest way to measure the health of a company is to analyze the financial statements – Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet and Statement of Cash Flows.  Of these three, the P & L shows the clearest picture of current performance, so let’s call this scoreboard – the P & L.

The top line of the P & L is REVENUE.  That’s what salespeople create.  Every dollar that is wired to our company, every check that is stroked to our company, every product purchased online – it all goes into this big bucket of revenue.  Everything else in the company is a derivative of this number.  The amount of money we spend on making our product is contingent on revenue.  The amount of money we pay in salaries is contingent on revenue.  A marketing budget depends on revenue.  Whether we can have our bathrooms in the office cleaned every night depends on revenue.  We can open a new location because of revenue.  

So without revenue the company doesn’t exist, plain and simple.  So those of us who generate revenue should be very proud of what we do.  Most folks aren’t up for these jobs because they are so difficult.  We get rejected every day.  We lose deals all the time.  Customers leave.  

We also win.  We create.  We deliver.  And we do it again and again.  We are providers.  We should be proud.  

So I am proud to be salesperson, but I don’t think this title effectively captures how big of an impact we can have for our team.  In order to remember how important and critical my role is I like calling myself a revenue generator.  Let’s call it an RG.  If we don’t succeed with generating revenue the company is impacted in so many ways.  I like this pressure because I want to help my teammates.  I am inspired to do my job – create revenue.

Are you a real RG?  Can you create?  Can you qualify?  Can you finish?  Can you find a deal on your own?  Can you get the meeting you need to get to make it happen?  Can you come up with the best ideas to generate good leads?

Ask yourself, truly, are you a real RG? 


“We also win.  We create.  We deliver.  And we do it again and again.  We are providers.  We should be proud.”