Monday, September 5, 2011

Your Corporate Culture: Is it in service of these two things?

We all know of the constant conflict between sales and operations. Sales feels that by dealing with the moment of truth with customers, that their needs should be prioritized. Operations feels they need to protect the assets of the company, acting as a balance to sales when they over-promise customers. Both groups have valid reasons for their behavior and their rules.

Unless your organization is set up with someone who specifically arbitrates these two attitudes, you will constantly find yourself and your company in this vicious cycle.

I argue that their should be two questions for both sides that drive the corporate culture, behavior, a sales approach:
1) Is our culture fostering a positive or negative story among our customers?
2) Is our culture making us better or worse than our competition?

Think of these questions the next time you use your corporate rules to explain why a customer's order has not arrived on time, why you don't have inventory available for a strategic project, why your prices are higher (or lower), or why your company doesn't have a clear sales channel.

There may be valid reasons based on your internal processes, but how does the outside world view these? More importantly, what are your customers telling others about your company when they perceive these processes have failed them?

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