I had a conversation last week with a sales prospect… he was the co-founder of a firm with about 20 employees. Actually, it was the last of several phone calls and email exchanges and I was calling to find out if he was going to accept the proposal I had sent to him. He didn’t.
He said that, rather than outsource to us, he was going to have one of his employees “take care of” sales and marketing… in addition to continuing to work with and service clients, which he does now.
I’m gonna let that sink in for a minute.
In what most people would surely describe as three very separate roles (two, at best), this one individual is being asked to do them all. And this doesn’t take into consideration the very different skill sets required for each role.
One of two things – and only two things – will happen here…
- If the employee tries to do all three things… HE WILL FAIL. It’s simply not possible to allocate your time to three jobs and expect to achieve the same kind of results as three full-time efforts.
- But the more likely scenario is – and what happens far too often in our industry – is that this ‘operations’ employee will gravitate toward those things he is most comfortable with… taking care of clients.
Think about it… at any given opportunity, if you have to choose between taking care of [paying] clients or trying to stir up some new business, which are you going to choose? Taking care of clients, of course… and you should!
So what happens? Business development gets pushed to the back burner again and again (and again)… and before you know it, there’s none of it getting done.
I understand that solo-preneurs and very small firms really have no choice but to “serve two masters”… but when your firm has size and resources – you must find a way to focus someone on your business development efforts – preferably splitting the marketing and sales duties. Without that focus, two things happen:
- Marketing and sales becomes something in your organization that is seen as an afterthought or unimportant… and nothing could be further from the truth.
- You will simply NOT achieve the kind of growth that firms with a dedicated business development effort achieve.
So, take a look at your company… if you have significant growth goals, then you really have no choice but to find a way to build focus into your marketing and sales efforts. Do that… and the sky’s the limit. Take the half-ass approach… and you’ll need to get comfortable with low-level organic growth… or worse!
For ideas on how to structure marketing & sales in your organization, Click Here to download our eBook, How to Build an Effective Business Development Structure.