Sales and Operations: it’s a feud that persists in businesses of all stages and sizes. If left unchecked, it can wreak havoc on company morale and will even have a serious impact on productivity.
You’ve probably witnessed it before. A customer complains that they didn’t get what was promised. Internally, the finger-pointing begins. The Operations team believes that the Sales team has oversold and created false expectations while the Sales team believes that the Operations team has underdelivered and failed to do their part.
If you’re tired of watching this scenario play out time and time again in your own business, it’s time to improve communication between your Sales and Operations teams.
Is there a rift between Sales and Operations in your business?
Has interdepartmental strife been the norm in your business for as long as you can remember? You might not even realize it’s a problem. You might just think that’s the way the world works and “it is what it is.”
Well, I’ve got news for you. It’s not.
Here are some common telltale signs that it is time to work on improving communication between Sales and Operations:
- Sales promises an unrealistic timeline for the project
- Sales offers additional services that operations will have to deliver at no charge
- Sales doesn’t disclose the specifics of the deal so operations is unaware of customer expectations
- Operations doesn’t notify sales of problems until it is too late to salvage the account
- Operations considers Sales to be underskilled or undertrained
The Benefits of Improving Communication Between Sales and Operations
Getting your Sales and Operations teams working in harmony can take a lot of work. You may be wondering if it’s even worth the trouble.
As long as new business is coming in and profits are steady, why spend the time and effort to make sure everyone is happy? Improving communication between Sales and Operations can have big benefits, such as:
- Everyone has the same information – When both departments are working with the same information, it’s easier for Sales to make their pitch and for Operations to procure the resources needed to deliver on expectations.
- Improved morale and productivity – When everybody is working together as a team with a common goal, that often equals improved morale and higher levels of productivity.
- The customer experience is improved – When customers’ expectations are being met, this means fewer complaints and less strain on customer service teams.
- Lower churn rates and improved customer retention – Happy customers will stay longer and are easier to upsell, which equals more revenue for the company.
How To Get Between Sales and Operations Working Together
Improving communication between departments is best looked at as a series of small, incremental steps over a long-term period. Here are some actions you can take today to begin the process:
1. Provide Context
Successful customer onboarding depends on Sales and Operations teams being aligned on what delivery actually looks like. This makes it easier to meet – or even exceed – customer expectations and build trust early on in the relationship.
Adopting a central CRM like the HubSpot Service Hub makes it easy for all departments to access the same documents and share Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with one another. This means that teams can gain more context as to what exactly their role is in the agreement and create more alignment and accountability with one another.
2. Set Goals
Creating shared goals makes it easy for different departments to come together under a common purpose. Giving your Sales and Operations teams something to work toward and showing them how their contributions make a difference can be a great way to encourage back-and-forth communication.
For example, if the goal is to increase customer lifetime value, then you can create a shared dashboard that displays the average customer lifetime value over time. When a customer leaves, you can also send out a survey that gathers feedback and then compile that information into an easy-to-understand graph or chart. That way, both the Sales and Operations departments can understand how their role contributes to the progression of the shared goal and communicate better with one another.
3. Promote a Cultural Shift
Whenever there is a rift between one or more departments, the core of the problem can usually be traced to the company culture – and that is an admittedly hard thing to change.
But difficult things are usually the ones that are most worth doing. You can start promoting a cultural shift within your company by taking the following actions:
- Encourage teams to ask for help
- Celebrate big and small wins
- Hold meetings that involve both the Sales and Operations teams
- Cultivate a spirit of teamwork and collaboration
Leadership needs to set an example when it comes to company culture. Small gestures such as highlighting positive customer feedback or rewarding employees for going above and beyond will go a long way. Remember that happy employees are more communicative and cooperative than disgruntled ones.
It can take a while to break down silos and get different departments working together but it will be better for business in the long run.
4. Create a Feedback Loop
Encouraging feedback between Sales and Operations teams can go a long way toward improving internal processes and ultimately providing a better customer experience.
Create a designated time, such as a monthly meeting, where both teams can discuss wins and challenges, and provide constructive feedback (positive or negative). This can be a place where Sales and Operations teams can look at recent projects and review customer feedback to identify current strengths and weaknesses.
Take this opportunity and allow each team to ask questions such as:
- Where were expectations met?
- Where were expectations not met?
- How can we repeat these successes?
- How can we avoid these mistakes?
Creating a feedback loop between Sales and Operations allows each team to see how they are affecting the other’s performance and make continuous strides towards improvement.
Are you up to the challenge?
Keeping your customers’ needs at the center of your business is the best way to ensure long-term growth. By improving communication between Sales and Operations teams, businesses can better manage expectations and reduce customer churn rates.
By implementing the right technology, like a central CRM, leadership teams can make it easier for all departments to share information and collaborate. To learn more about building the right technology stack for your business, download your free Growth Stack Guide today.