When sales are slowing down, revenue is down, and the businesses turnover will not meet the forecast, the stage is set for sacrificing a scapegoat.
Where should the axe fall when the sales department miss revenue targets? After all aren’t the sales and revenue the responsibility of the sales manager/director?
The answer to that question may not be as obvious as it appears.
To a greater or lesser degree everyone in the organisation impacts on the company’s success or failure. The strategic plan of the board of directors and the CEO provides the strategy for revenue generation. The marketing department provides information regarding the crucial demographic and psychographic customer information which the sale department rely upon for formatting sales and account strategies.
All other departments within the organisation help or inhibit the process of generating revenue each in their own particular way
The sale department’s influence on the company’s revenue generation is concentrated in the sales pipeline. Identifying credible sales opportunities; managing those opportunities through the sales pipeline until they produce revenue and then looking after customer or client relationships are the fundamental responsibilities of the sales department and sales management teams. The sales organisation rarely regulates the manufacturing, finance, legal and customer services departments.
The image most companies present to the world show the sales organization “out there,” in front of customers and clients and ahead of the rest of the company’s departments. Even the marketing department, which should be closely allied to sales, is more often than not as disconnected from sales as are the other departments. The sales group leads the company assault, and the other departments take up rear support positions, providing substantial and sometimes inconspicuous support.
Revenue generation is a cross functional, company-wide process that involves every department and all employees in the organization. The Board of Directors set corporate strategy and everyone else in the organization executes that strategy. Every department in an organization either contributes to the company’s success or contaminates it.
There is very rarely a situation where the sales organization is in disarray while all the other departments are humming along with little or no friction. In those rare cases where the failure of a company’s revenue generation process lies within the sales department, the appropriate sales executives, managers and sales professionals should be held accountable and should suffer the appropriate consequences.
But before CEO’s shoot their sales teams, however, they should take a critical look at the entire revenue generation process and how each department contributes to or detracts from the success of this process.