In the services world, you typically have sales and delivery of those services. More often than not, those divisions are silo’ed with limited communication and tons of frustration. Delivery develops a hatred for all sales people and sales develops a sense that delivery cannot deliver on time or budget regardless. The purpose here is to outline some ways we recommend to ensure sales and delivery are on the same page.
- Develop a methodology – Prior to our first engagement at Vendere, we developed our ADAPT methodology. Since Jim and I came from a professional services organization (Microsoft Gold partner), methods to deliver was not foreign to us. It was the foundation for all engagements and set us apart. The goal of developing and continuously evaluating a delivery methodology is to ensure delivery gets what they need to meet client expectations. Start with a from of Discovery phase and build from there based on steps it takes to deliver your solution or service. As a result, make sure the sales team is 100% on board and trained on your methods to deliver.
- Think with the end in mind – As Steve Covey would say. Both teams want to stay within budget. The only way to avoid scope creep is by confirming that clients expectations can be made within the budgeted timeframe. This is where sales tends to cut corners, making promises that delivery cannot deliver within the budgeted timeframe. Sign off from the delivery team prior to sales submitting final proposals can help here. The challenge is time. Time for delivery to review. Time extending the sales cycle awaiting delivery’s review. Hiring on sales people that “get it” as opposed to cutting cost with a green team would also benefit your organization overall. Developing a matrix can help in some scenarios but selling today you need to be flexible and able to customize per customer. Delivery should be involved in the requirments gathering and scoping process until sales "Get's it".
- Transparency and communication – Overcommunication and Transparency are very important. Leverage tools available such as Basecamp or any other EPM systems to communicate around timelines and delivery milestones. If you’re a Managed Service Provide, tools such as ConnectWise are common to manage support tickets and communicate with customers. Keep sales in the loop always. They will be the ones getting that phone call if things are going sideways. Do a great job or documenting assumptions and potential scope creep areas of concern in the beginning. Nobody likes surprises so communicating what is working vs not working as it is occurring will go a long way. Too often service providers keep issues a secret and it hurts the relationship and potential for future business.
Projects and contracts can go sideways. It is how you handle the situation between sales, delivery and customer communication that will separate you from the competition.