SALES AND STRUCTURE ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT
The mindset of entrepreneurs and start-ups is too often dominated by the need to make sales at the expense of organisational structure and client service. Rapid sales, followed by rapid expansion, can lead to rapid business failure. Never equate success purely in terms of your extensive business growth, order book or client list, as you can quickly become overwhelmed by the demands made on your time. A focus on slow and manageable growth is optimal. After all, strong houses are built on solid foundations, and the same applies to businesses.
Don’t get me wrong. The ability to convert a potential customer into a sale is one of the most useful - and difficult - business skills to acquire. Equally important is the ability of a sales team to ensure they give sales aftercare its due importance. Afterall, if you are going to grow your business organically, you must ensure your clients not only value your products or services, but also trust your ability to deliver.
NEVER OVERPROMISE TO CLIENTS
Unfortunately if you overpromise, the consequences will be twofold. Your delivery team will become overstretched trying to satisfy your client’s demands. This can quickly leave your staff feeling burnt out and dispirited, as they focus their energies on one impossible task, and fail to service all their other accounts to the level required. The end result is an increase in absenteeism and your bottom line decreasing, as dissatisfied clients take their business elsewhere. Furthermore your company’s reputation will suffer as word gets around your organisation doesn’t deliver on its promises.
The best solution is organise your sales and delivery team so that they work together and understand each other’s workloads. Too often salespeople are guilty of “throw it over the wall” behaviour. This is slang for a team completing its part of the project, and then passing their work over to the next team, whether they are ready to receive it or not. Delivery teams are not blameless either. They forget that sales people have an intensively competitive job, typically work on commission, and need to move fast to secure that vital next piece of business before a rival company does.
TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAMWORK
A good business leader will ensure that their sales and delivery teams do not work at cross purposes by putting processes in place that are supported by a culture of shared interests and mutual understanding. For example delivery managers who understand the needs of both teams should be used to oversee a specific sales project in its entirety. Sales managers should also review delivery timelines, so they do not overpromise.
If your employees don’t have a pull together mentality, your business will be at cross purposes and any competitive edge it has will be lost. This is essentially due to a failure of leadership and an inability to organise your workforce. Don’t jump before you can walk. If your product or service is great, you will always sell.
Structure your business, manage its processes effectively and success will naturally follow.