Can a Sales-Driven Philosophy Hurt a Company?

I know that without adequate sales, a company will wither on the vine. But can a sales-driven culture also harm a company?

From my experience instructing hundreds of audiovisual integration professionals and working with a multitude of AV integrators and technology management organizations, my answer is a resounding “yes.” It’s especially true when the sales department doesn’t see successful implementation of a job as the ultimate goal, but rather considers the sale itself as the primary the goal.

It usually starts with a special project, which has to get done right away in order to meet a particular client’s deadline. Even though the company policy states 4 to 6 weeks from signing the purchase order, this project is deemed important, and the account manager talks to the owner of the company (who is a salesperson at heart) and gets an exception to the policy.

This causes a lot of rearranging by the installation department in order to meet this special, one-time-only request, often with little acknowledgment from the account manager. Although this was supposedly an exception, every account manager now sees their opportunity to classify their projects as “special.” And thus a pattern begins: Each new project is viewed in a vacuum, with little regard for the overall portfolio of projects waiting to be done. Integration staff becomes fully or overbooked, with account managers looking for scheduling holes in which to squeeze simple projects (which are never simple).

This scenario, left unchecked, creates a ripple effect across multiple departments. Equipment is used for other jobs; technicians can’t find drawings that weren’t fully completed; programming doesn’t have time to understand the client’s interface needs; project managers are scurrying around putting out the biggest fires; change orders aren’t processed; and jobs are rarely closed effectively because another urgent, special project has come up.

Does any of this sound familiar?

About Brad Malone

Bradley A. Malone, PMP, is an InfoComm University™ senior instructor and president of Twin Star Consulting, an organizational excellence and program management consulting company serving multiple industries worldwide. He holds the Project Management Professional (PMP®) designation from the Project Management Institute (PMI) and is one of PMI’s and InfoComm’s highest-rated instructors. Please share your thoughts with him.

One Response to “Can a Sales-Driven Philosophy Hurt a Company?”

  1. Very interesting and happens a lot to most companies I’m sure.
    But I didn’t read any suggestions for how to combat this problem…