What should Sales be doing?
It is often not the fault of the Salesperson that unrealistic promises are being made to the customer. Again, this is where communication, education and understanding are important.
The role of the Sales Director is vital to ensure that his team understand the new policies and procedures of the company, as well as the benefit of the increased communication with Operations. If he does not accept the new culture then it will fail, if he does the results will be very rewarding.
It also brings up the subject of recruitment and employing the right kind of person. If you can find the right team members who can adapt to this environment, then they will be very successful and reap the financial and personal benefits.
Martyn has provided us with his list of requirements and attitudes, which he believes is a useful blueprint to ensure that they benefit and maximise their relationship with Operations. If you really want to set yourself apart from other salespeople, this approach is essential reading.
How to lead the way in Sales by enhancing your relationship with Operations
- Understand your route to market
- Understand what your company can achieve
- Feed back information from the customer to Sales/Operations about how you can improve on an ongoing basis
- Know your customers well
- Communicate to all your customers and your colleagues
- Remember that your customer is not the only customer in the company
- Be a team player and respect other departments
- Realise that the Production and Warehouse staff are on your side and your relationship with them is important – build it and they will support you, destroy it and you will not be supported
- Understand what is involved in preparing an order, system difficulties and processes and ensure you are aware of manufacturing lead times, dispatch slots, packing time (including products that need to be assembled), transport implications and possible surcharge costs
- Considering spending some time working in the warehouse
- Be aware that the wrong kind of pressure can create errors (eg Warehouse staff pack without care) and more of a problem than you had in the first place
- Understand your standard lead-times and procedures and don’t make decisions that you have no basis or authority to make
- Don’t lie: ask, check and seek advice and then go back to the customer with an informed solution
- Good customers are long-term customers. Don’t over-promise so that all the stops have to be pulled out on every occasion, it will only lead to letting them down. A customer wants a reliable and trustworthy partner that keeps their promises and meets their needs
Catch up on our series: 'How to establish a team relationship between Sales & Operations'
Part one: Understanding the issues between Sales and Operations
Part two: Creating a new culture and the role Operations play
Part three: How Sales can help and gain competitive advantage
Part four: The Benefits of a close relationship
Martyn has worked in managerial and directorship positions for market-leading companies including: manufacturers of sprinkler bulbs used in fire protection systems; catering fit-out equipment for hotels, restaurants and commercial kitchens; commercial ventilation extraction units; and domestic plastic piping systems and accessories. Martyn currently works for Day-Impex