The Dreaded Sales Prevention DepartmentArticle by Colleen Francis, April 17, 2022
A Sales Prevention Department? You might have one.
Right on the Money thinking is all about getting your business back on the right footing so you can compete and grow fully in today’s forever-changed marketplace.
Let’s look now at how you make that happen.
As I explain in my new book, there’s a strategy you must engage now to regain much-needed poise and balance in your business: it’s what I call Corporate Velocity. It means that with every action you take as a business, you must understand how it affects your buyer’s experience. It also means uncovering gaps in your service and quickly making changes in your organization so you serve your customers better.
Your Corporate Velocity strategy has many supporting activities. I shared one example recently, explaining how to create a black-ops squad in your business. Now, let’s look at another example: figuring out whether you have a Sales Prevention Department operating (figuratively) in your business.
It’s a tongue-in-cheek expression, but frankly it’s what’s behind slow growth, missed sales targets, and uneven customer loyalty. A Sales Prevention Department propagates when a company takes its eye off the buyer and is instead mired in solving internal problems. When this happens, mistakes get made, customers get frustrated, and tough losses start to add up.
Here are a few examples of how unaddressed problems within your business can scare away buyers and drag-down revenue.
Getting Rid of Sales Prevention Department Habits
1. Treacherous Technology Snafus
Ensure your in-house IT is serving the needs of your customers first. This is a notorious problem now in businesses of all sizes. Consider the hard lesson learned by a client of mine who developed and rolled out a fancy new version of their CRM software. It had all kinds of exciting new components—all of which were strictly to the benefit of their internal operations. None of it was tested properly with the customer service side of their operation. As a result, the upgrade broke existing features…the only ones their customers really cared about. And boy did they hear about it! Score a point for the Sales Prevention Department.
2. Painful Production Problems
You can’t sell what you can’t produce. And you can’t produce in reliable quantities if your forecasting data is wrong. That’s what happened to a manufacturing client of mine: their forecasting software didn’t crosstalk properly with existing production planning tools. As a result, when the company landed a giant deal, their supply lines were instantly overwhelmed. Production logjams ensued. Customers got annoyed. Deals were lost. That dreaded Sales Prevention Department struck again!
3. Faulty Follow-Up
Another way you allow a Sales Prevention Department to propagate is by either ignoring or being too slow with customer follow-up. An engineering consulting firm I know found themselves with cratering sales, simply because teams were taking more than two weeks to issue quotes on projects. Two weeks! Many customers just moved on. Similarly, a hardware company fell behind on its production schedule and began missing important shipping deadlines. Again, customers weren’t interested in waiting, so they defected.
4. Customer-Repellant IT Policies
As I’ve discussed before, since virtual selling is the new normal of business now, you must be platform agnostic and willing to meet your customer on the one they prefer to use. And that can create problems with IT, where concerns are typically focused on preventing cyberattacks and having other security loopholes. For example, when an IT department forbids sellers from using a client-requested video platform, bans app downloads, or discourages you from using social media as a prospecting tool, that company handcuffs those sellers and saddles them with a competitive disadvantage.
NEXT STEPS: GETTING YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER
You can’t solve a problem until you first recognize that you have a problem. As with the work of your black-ops squad, getting rid of Sales Prevention Department habits must be done with methodical execution and focus. Conduct a regularly scheduled working group, comprising members from all departments of your organization. Task them with finding those unexpected, otherwise overlooked friction points that are leading to lost sales. Make it a “no blame” exercise where the needs of the customer come first. The job here is to find real problems and find solid solutions.
Weeding out your customer-repellent habits (thereby shutting down your Sales Prevention Department) is an integral part of your Corporate Velocity strategy. Every tactic you engage in this area reveals the changes you must make in your organization so you’re ready to grow fully in today’s market. Get started now!