Customer-focused organisations around the world invest a huge amount of money in customer service teams, website widgets, and company training programmes to create that holy grail of business: a customer-centric experience. What many organisations forget, however, is that if the right processes are in place when the customer’s solution is being sold and delivered, then a large step towards true customer delight is already taken.
A major cause of customer dissatisfaction, is the huge disconnect that exists between the people who sell a solution, and the people who deliver that solution post-sale. The problem is that there’s no continuity between the two teams.
Let’s begin by taking a look at what sales teams and solution delivery teams (project managers) have as their KPIs.
Sales teams tend to be targeted on sales made, revenue, sales cycle and so on. The whole bonus and commission structure of sales teams is designed to get deals closed quickly, and to allow the salesperson to move on to the next opportunity. This drives great behaviours for winning new business, but not necessarily for winning sustainable business. It encourages salespeople to cut corners on admin, and sometimes to exaggerate in order to win the deal. This exaggeration is often about timescales, but can also be about support levels or other areas. When they hand the deal over to the delivery team, many salespeople wash their hands of that particular piece of business, pocket the commission, and move onto the next opportunity.
Solution delivery teams
KPIs for delivery teams on the other hand, are all about quality and process. And in project management terms, quality is about sticking to a project plan. This is a great way to get projects completed on time and within budget, but can make project managers resistant to changes requested by the customer. Why? Because changes mean more time and more budget, which can upset workloads in the team and delay other projects. This is because project teams are designed to run efficiently and minimise waste. The result is that project managers can cling too rigidly to project plans and scope documents.
On paper, the ways these two teams are managed makes sense… until you bring them together and put a customer in the picture as well. Because now, you have a customer looking for a bespoke solution. The sales team has a tendency to over-promise. Their sometimes lack of technical knowledge means that some details might need to be tweaked once delivery is under way. But the rigid adherence to the project plan means that project managers are reluctant to accommodate these tweaks. And all this adds up to an unhappy customer.
The solution, is to bring these two teams together. It’s about bringing a mutual understanding of each other’s roles and skill sets, and it’s about increasing the performance of both sides of the business, by sharing skills across the entire customer journey. What many organisations have realised, is that implementing a common framework which allows for more successful selling and more efficient delivery can bring benefits to both teams, and to the customers. Rather than investing big money in customer service teams to solve problems, this can prevent many of the problems ever happening.
Get this right, and customer will have a seamless experience with professionals across the selling organisation, who have complementary skills sets, a common approach, and who work together to create delighted customers who go on to become advocates in the future.
This is where Navanter's Sales-PM Fusion™ methodology comes to the rescue.