Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall!

Oh I remember those days. East verses West in everything from gymnastics to nuclear warheads. Entire industries designed to do nothing productive, except keep one step ahead of the other guy.

Do you have a long simmering cold war on your planet? Is your sales team going toe to toe with your technical team? If so, whose side are you on? Come on, I know you aren’t Switzerland and everyone in the office knows which side you are on too. So you are shifting the balance to mutually assured destruction of your business.

Fear not, there are ways to help resolve this. First step is to identify the issues. Is it jealousy, misunderstanding, different goals, personality? In my experience it is all of these in different mixtures.

Generally Service and sales people are incented differently for different results. Salespeople get paid to sell new stuff (yes, I know they sell services too). Technical resources get paid to fix broken stuff. Hmmmmm… anyone else see an issue here? Different goals

Technical resources generally get a larger base and a little commission (if any) for doing their job. Salespeople get very little base and bigger commissions for closing business that the technical resource most likely worked on.  Jealousy/personality

Salespeople show up at the customer’s site for a meeting in their BMW, while the Technician shows up in the company van or their 1994 Escort wagon. Jealousy

The salesperson makes a deal they can get done with the least amount of resistance, often this involves discounting the services. Technical resources feel devalued. Misunderstanding

So if we provide commissions or finder’s fees to your technical resources, it makes it easier for them to put old yeller out of his misery and help drive new sales. This commission should be extended to technical resources that function in a presales function. Now we are pulling in the same direction, working together. Different goals/Jealousy

A sales process should be established that is clear about the level of effort required to implement, before it is quoted. Being able to track this will help all understand the value of the sale, as well as letting you see if you are making any money. Misunderstanding

Personality. Ok, this one is cats and dogs sometimes. But the more they work together, are compensated together, and the more they interact together, the better your team is.

So leader of your free world, ready to move the doomsday clock back?