Press Release


STAMFORD, Conn., March 16, 2022

Gartner Identifies Three Immediate Actions for Chief Sales Officers in Response to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

B2B Sales Leaders Should Acknowledge and Communicate the Impacts, and Pivot Commercial Strategy

Chief sales officers (CSOs) play an important role in an organization’s response efforts to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and there are three immediate actions CSOs should prioritize, according to Gartner, Inc. CSOs play an important role in ensuring commercial efforts are aligned with the company’s broader response to the war.

“As B2B organizations plan their response to a highly variable situation, CSOs should pay particular attention to actions within their immediate control to both acknowledge the impacts and pivot commercial strategy,” said Craig Riley, chief of research in the Gartner Sales practice. “Sales leaders should collaborate with marketing and communications to adjust and/or pause commercial messages that may appear to either internal or external stakeholders as inappropriate, unempathetic or ill-timed.”

The three immediate actions CSOs should prioritize in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine include:

Communication Support to the Entire Sales Ecosystem

CSOs must work with senior leaders to establish proactive lines of communication for providing direct, clear, consistent and up-to-date messages to employees and sales teams. This includes supporting and reinforcing human resources (HR) and internal communications’ efforts to provide updates on directly impacted employees and build awareness of ways to indirectly, but personally, support ongoing humanitarian efforts. CSOs must take an active role in reinforcing and reminding sellers about ways they can help.

The second area CSOs must focus communications efforts on is providing sellers with updates on commercial operations. This includes impacts on and decisions around quotas, salaries and client outreach. “Sellers will continue to turn to CSOs for updates on operations,” said Riley. “CSOs must remember that authenticity is critical.”

Collaborate to Adapt Commercial Messaging

To ensure public statements and commercial strategies align, sales, marketing, customer service and communications leaders should take a close look at customer-facing messages (e.g., social media, prospecting, email campaign, etc.) to identify any that might appear inappropriate or ill-timed.

CSOs should pay close attention to, and create guardrails around, messages crafted by sellers and/or sales development representative (SDR) teams. “Suspending or pausing commercial activity is never a decision commercial leaders make lightly,” added Riley. “But it is better to err on the side of caution and temporarily halt outreach than risk a poorly timed commercial message that sours clients’ or prospects’ perception of the company and its values.”

Mitigate Impacts of Supply Disruptions

Working with supply chain leaders, CSOs should locate and quantify all product inventories, then conduct a vulnerability assessment and create scenario plans to assess potential impacts. Scenario plans should be used to assess the potential impacts to sales channels, indirect partners, and inventory levels and to estimate the company’s ability to meet current and future demand.

“While there are few supply chain disruptions a CSO can stop, a well developed plan can mitigate the impact of disruptions and enable sales teams to quickly adjust as necessary and keep clients up to date,” said Riley.

Additional information is available to Gartner for Sales clients in the report: “3 Immediate Actions for CSOs in Response to the Russian Invasion of Ukraine” and Resources for Executives and Their Teams Amid Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine.

About the Gartner CSO & Sales Leaders Conference

Sales leaders face unprecedented changes in B2B buying behaviors, customer expectations, technology and the talent needed to drive results. At the Gartner CSO & Sales Leader Conference, taking place virtually on May 16-18, 2022, sales leaders will learn from the latest research and Gartner experts covering sales talent, customer buying behavior, account-based marketing strategies and leveraging digital channels. Follow news and updates from the event on Twitter at #GartnerSales.

About Gartner for Sales Leaders

Gartner for Sales Leaders provides heads of sales and their teams with the insights, advice and tools they need to address mission-critical priorities amid mounting pressures to drive growth through new and existing customers. With extensive qualitative and quantitative research, Gartner for Sales Leaders helps sales teams combat commoditization and price-based purchasing, develop critical manager and seller skills, elevate the value of sales interactions, unlock existing growth potential, and optimize sales force enablement. Follow news and update from the Gartner Sales practice on Twitter and LinkedIn using #GartnerSales. Members of the media can find additional information and insights in the Gartner Sales Newsroom.


About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) delivers actionable, objective insight to executives and their teams. Our expert guidance and tools enable faster, smarter decisions and stronger performance on an organization’s mission critical priorities. To learn more, visit