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The Delicate Balance of Sales and Operations

I was just on the phone with Seth, our CEO, who was sharing a conversation with me about a client who wanted to transfer the sales responsibilities of the company over to a the VP of Operations. The reason? Budget concerns and the inability of the company to fund a VP of Sales position. While this may seem like a brilliant idea, I would like to point out the risk and persuade you to think differently about these two roles as I know many organizations operate with this model.

The best way I can describe it is by using my own company as an example. Like you, we have an ops and a sales division. While they work incredibly well together, there are times they simply don’t see eye to eye. While the focus in sales is closing sales and growing revenue, the objective of operations is to map out capacity and determine project timelines- who will do the work, when will it be done and so on. Our sales team loves to sell- there is nothing like solving people’s problems. Our ops team likes operate- there is nothing like creating structure, processes and work flows- and will advise our sales team to put on the sales breaks out of concern that we won’t be ready to meet the demand. Sales and ops…such a delicate balance.

Here is a fact. Both roles are incredibly important. Sales is the engine that drives the revenue of a business and in turn allows it to do what it does.  Operations is the machine that runs everything we do. Most machines can’t run without an engine and most engines are worthless without a machine to power. The best thing to do is realize the importance of each role and to clearly define their tasks. Building a strong organization requires incredible collaboration and a solid commitment to keep the success of the company front of mind no matter how hard it may be.

Bild & Company has doubled in size pretty much every year since the great recession. Imagine what would happen if we decided to pull our head of sales and move the ops director into that role? You might not want to say it- I will. It would be detrimental. It doesn’t mean that person is not capable, but it’s simply not in the DNA of an ops person to have a passion for selling. The truth is, most ops people hate sales and that is okay. Most sales people hate the role and tasks involved in operations!

So the point of my story is that to grow a wildly successful business, you need both- a strong head of sales to drive revenue and a solid head of operations to ensure the delivery of service and the creation of a raving fan base. These people will disagree, may even have heated discussions from time to time over the best course of action to take…that is good and makes for a healthy company! Together, they must continually work to strike a balance between sales and operations, without getting in each other’s way.

If you are an ops driven company right now, I would like to challenge you to ponder where you might be with an equal focus on sales- to go hand in hand with ops. Let each division do their job and do it well. I’m certain, if the right team is in place, you can exceed 95% occupancy as a company and reach benchmarks never achieved; perhaps even 98-100% occupancy at market rate rents.

Curious? Want to know if your company has what it takes to move toward a sales and ops balanced business model? Reach out to our team today by contacting Seth Garber at sgarber@tracibild.com and let us show you how to model the best sales driven organizations in the world.

Written by Traci Bild, Author, Entrepreneur and founder of Bild & Company www.BildandCo.com

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