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Couple sales with services and everyone wins

Like lions and hyenas, sales and services have been long time enemies. Sales’ job is to close business and they may have to make some promises on behalf of services along the way. These promises are typically around pricing, delivery dates and available resources with the perfect skill sets. Services has to make good on these promises, often in a reactive mode, scrambling to realign resources and existing projects.

The  adverse downstream effect of service deals getting lobbed over the fence by sales can be seen directly and indirectly.

Does services even have the available resources when and where they were promised? “You sold this deal for how much? Our PSO is comped on margin.”

The direct financial impact in not having the right resources available may result in revenue getting pushed, margin erosion by having to use expensive resources or free hours being given away by under-scoped projects. The indirect impacts are poorly run projects, customer satisfaction, overworked resources resulting in possible attrition and continued animosity between the lions and hyenas.

You had me at capacity planning

When sales and services can hug it out, everyone wins – including the customer. That success begins long before the deal is ever sold. In order to make informed decisions, services needs visibility into the sales pipeline. Not just what’s closing this month, but long term vision, months and quarters out. On average, it takes 120 days for a PSO to recruit, hire, onboard and train a resource. Services needs a telescope into the pipeline, not bifocals.

The name of the game for a successful PSO is resource management and that starts with capacity planning. No doubt, the further into the future a PSO looks, the more assumptive it is. But with the right tools in place, business analytics can be applied rather than a finger in the air. A PSO that has this information at hand can make both strategic and tactical decisions far in advance.

And what about sales lobbing deals over the fence to services? “Surprise! Here you go.”

If services is charged with delivering successful, profitable projects, then services needs to be empowered to scope, plan, and price the deals. If sales needs to discount or press the envelope on delivery, so be it. But now sales is working in unison with services on selling the RIGHT deals. Services becomes part of the sales cycle. Services wins because they can align the right project resources, work with customers under proper expectations and deliver against a project plan created by SME’s. Sales wins because successful projects result in happy, referencable customers (who sales also likes to cross and upsell to).

Oh yeah, the customers win too.

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