Within any sales career, few tangibles remain constant. Market dynamics, customer expectations and technology are perpetually evolving. Even sales processes and methodology diversify. One immortal certainty is the relationship between Sales and Operations will remain tense. Personal experiences stipulates this relationship will go beyond tense, toward breaking point. Sales people need to close business, this is a necessity. Excuses are seldom tolerated. As a result, the ops team need to deliver and implement the solution expected by the customer. I have witnessed many adjectives levied at Ops people, ranging from unhelpful and obstinate to belligerent and ‘deal wreckers’.
I’m almost certain ops people would retort with reckless, clueless and even dangerous.
So what or where is the compromise?
Selling is essential to any business but likewise successful projects and happy customers enable selling. Where is the happy median of selling responsibly and allowing ops a chance to deliver a customer centric solution in realistic timeframes, on budget whilst exceeding customer expectations?
To answer this conundrum we need to view this from the most important perspective in this equation, the customers. Despite the belief of many sales people, customers do not buy ‘software’, they buy a solution, hence sales and ops are not different entities. They are one and same, both purveyors of the solution the customer has bought.
I am fortunate enough with an operations manager who is not only customer centric and a solution expert, he is also understands my role and challenges.
Introducing ops has become an integral part of the sales process, it breathes confidence into the customer and vastly increases the chances of closing the deal. Concurrently it allows ops to understand the proposed solution and the customer therefore mitigating risk and vastly increasing the likelihood of a successful project.
The customer dictates, it’s not sales VS ops, its sales AND ops.
Laurie Stanwick | Head of Sales – Sage Enterprise Management
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