Smaller Consulting Companies Play Tug of War with Customer Ownership

tug-of-war

Often, when a consulting contract is closed and the delivery phase has begun, a sigh of relief can be heard now that the competition has folded their tent and gone away. We believe the battle is over. In many cases, however, the battle has just begun. Yes, the internal battle of “Who owns the account?” “Is it sales or delivery?”

Until this point, Sales took the spotlight and, in many cases, shared it with a pre-sales consultant. They worked together to create the proper expectation and showcased their company’s capabilities. After the sale, the spotlight quickly moves to delivery where the ‘real sale’ is tested. Delivery must exceed expectations, not only to grow that customer but also to put another arrow in the salesperson’s quiver when securing referrals for new customers. Salespeople typically have a challenging time letting go and thus the sales vs. delivery ‘tug of war’ begins.

Delivery, if trained properly, can have the customer looking for more opportunities as the aura of credibility fills the customer’s to do list. Why then is the sales rep so reluctant to give the delivery person his or her moment in the spotlight? Maybe it’s a throw back from the old Sales philosophy that any account is MY ACCOUNT – hands off. The new reality is Delivery now has the customer’s faith and any reentry from the sales rep named ‘Joey Needanymore’ is not welcome.

I often see Sales trying to run internal meetings with Delivery. The concept sounds like a good effort to get everyone to work together as a team but, when Sales runs the meeting, a different outcome is the usual result. Delivery’s eyes roll and this adversarial phase now accounts for the least desirable part of their employment experience.

Times have changed. Customers want to buy but they don’t want to be sold. I will always put my money on a sales rep, using all the company resources availed to them, closing a new deal over a delivery person. However, I will always double down on a well-trained delivery person to grow that customer. I am not talking about training Delivery people to act like sales people. No way. They are much more effective doing what they do while highlighting their company’s ability to deliver. This not only must be taught but must also be integrated into the consulting company’s process or the tug of war will continue until the customer finds a new provider.

Author: Rich Lucia
www.RichLucia.com
April 5, 2017

 

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