When working with clients on their organizational structure, we often see very separated departmental silos. It is a very common mistake, but a very correctable mistake. This post is going to focus on the most common departmental silos, sales and operations. It is common for these same clients to believe that it is the sales departments responsibility to sell accounts, and the operations department’s responsibility to service accounts, with a clear hand-off once you have completed the sale, and having very little collaboration between the two. This is a big mistake and is likely hurting your business operation.
Sales Supplies Operations
- It is pretty obvious, without sales, there are no operations!
- The less obvious is that your sales team can actually help the operations team resolve issues. The salesperson or sales team has a likely developed a close relationship with the client, and can help operations deliver bad news, or help navigate a client to operations desired direction.
- Typically sales has their finger on the pulse in regards to what is going right, and more importantly, what is going wrong with a client execution, from the client perspective. Operations should leverage those bits of information to prevent potential issues.
Operations Supplies Sales
- The operations team in most cases has a better sense of what is going on internally at the company. Operations can pick up on interesting client learnings, that can lead into new potential opportunities for the sales team. Things like learning about new projects, budgeting, or new needs of clients, etc. All of this information needs to be shared with the sales team so that they can use the information in a potential strategy such as, “land and expand”.
- The operations team expertise often can help the sales team close a sale. Bringing your real life past-client experiences of the operations team into a sales call with clients, is often one of the things that a prospective client is looking for, to prove that your company has a credible and experienced team that can handle what they are looking for.
Things Not To Do
- The operations team should never try to make financial decisions or implement change orders, renewals, or upsells in a vacuum. The sales team should always be kept informed of the clients needs, so they can help you price is appropriately and get the most out of the opportunity. Salespeople are trained to sell, and operating people are trained to fulfill, don’t step on each others toes and let each group do what they do best.
- Operations should not give valuable services away for free. Clients are absolutely notorious for trying to ask for more and more and more and more out of a contract, so they don’t have to pay for the “more” (You can’t really blame them, right?). Utilize your sales team to be the gatekeeper to make sure that any service that is being asked for by the client beyond the original contract is captured and properly paid for.
- When things go wrong and they will at times, departments CANNOT point fingers at each other. Whether the operations team screws up a deliverable, or the sales team screws up adding in the proper details to a contract, keep in mind: YOU ARE BOTH ON THE SAME TEAM! Take a deep breath and work to resolve the situation at hand, together.
Coupled Account Coverage
So, given all of the above, it is hopefully clear you need double account coverage on all clients, one person from sales and one person from operations, that are tied to the hip, and in constant discussions with each other, sharing both ways. The additional benefit of this structure is the company is protected with at least one client relationship manager in place, in the event either of the client team members leaves the company.
It is important to break down those silos between sales and operations and make sure both departments are collaborating with each other for optimal success and client satisfaction.
If your sales and operations teams are struggling to work together please contact us at MCDA CCG, Inc. today for a free no-obligation discussion. We can help guide you towards creating a cohesive team, that will provide world-class customer service all the way around. Complete the form below or call us directly at (714) 872-2393