I had an interesting debate with one of my close friends who happens to lead and manage a big support function for a leading company in India. He had asked me “How do companies define sales and support functions in terms of performance review and rewards?”
It happened that my friend who handles a critical support function and one of his colleagues who works in the sales division joined the company at almost the same time. While the sales guy has already moved to the Assistant manager level my friend still is a senior executive. His point was what a company looks at when it promotes someone?
Here is a short profile of both of them.
- They had achieved similar targets which was a tough one and required some really good experience and excellent execution
- They had outperformed themselves and the expectations of the management
- The sales guy has been promoted to assistant manger level and my friend who happens to handle the huge logistics operation ( the backbone of the company) has received a different appraisal
- Is it in terms of new customers acquired (sales) or ability to retain existing customers (support)?
- Is it the amount of business someone brings in or the amount of business that the company realises because of the work done by the support staff?
- If the company thinks that its only sales that drives a company then it has to be remembered that for any company a sale would happen only when there is a sound support function existing in the company
- While the sales teams close deals it is the support teams which actually have to execute the orders in most of the cases—then doesn’t the company think that it also is an important function and division of the company
- Most importantly any company can grow only when it has the ability to retain its customers (assured and regular income to support its growth plans) and acquire new ones
- If sales gets you new customers, then in a majority of the cases customers choose the company based on how well the existing customers of the company have been provided support for the products or services
- In most cases it is the sales teams in companies that are given incentives for getting new business. This is quite a laudable effort towards improving the motivation levels of the sales guys, but what about other divisions?
- Does a sale happen without any other division of the company putting in their efforts?
Ultimately it is this step motherly treatment from most of the companies towards their support divisions which make them lose highly efficient talent whose efforts have not been acknowledged, rewarded or motivated.