Learn and Lead

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Delivery Led or Sales Led

I have been wondering about this for a while now. What’s better for a business – to be delivery focused or to be sales focused?  Who’s a better business leader – a delivery focused leader or a sales focused leader? I know of companies bracketed as being sales focused or delivery focused. Sales led/focused companies are known for their aggressive attitude towards grabbing business, at any cost, at any promise, irrespective of its delivery capabilities. Deliver led/focused companies are known to be more focused on selling only what they can deliver, known to be risk averse but perhaps more predictable in their ability to deliver. Do customers prefer one over the other? What’s better?


Umesh Bisht said...

Hi Manish,

At first I thought it was one of those “management related” questions that seem too highbrow for someone like me to answer. But then I thought about it in the context of my personal experience in various organizations and came up with this:

I guess a bit of both would be an ideal model for a company.

A company which is too aggressive with its sales pitch, or in other words does its best work during sales, would likely promise more than they can deliver. Most probably at a lower price. Such a company would also ramp up their capacity, including their resources, in a makeshift manner after they have "won" the business and signed the contract. The “lower price” tag would ensure that the capacity built would be “makeshift” too since to meet their profit targets they would have to focus on reducing costs. The "makeshift" capacity would deliver a “makeshift” product or service. So from a customer's point of view, sales led/focused companies are bad news and will probably leave the customer "high and dry". Especially, if the customer has been lied to. If the customer knows that they are dealing with a sales led company but is still focused on "cheaper" then the customer probably doesn't care for quality anyway.

A delivery led/focused company on the other hand would tend to lose out on a lot of business, even that which they could've managed with a bit of a risk or strain. This would mean that the overall growth of the company would be slower as they’ll be focused on sustainability more than their growth.

So I guess a company which has a bit of both in its character will be a better company (to work with and to work for) in that it would not only be able to meet customer expectations but also grow organically as an organization.

Ron (on Facebook) said...

It is better to be customer value focused. Whoever, therefore, has greater insight about the customer's real needs should lead. Sometimes sales is able to engage closely with the customer. And sometimes delivery gets a better opportunity to engage and insight. At the end of the day, such insights get converted to 'products' that lead both sales and delivery actions.

Manish Mohan said...

Hi Umesh
No question is too highbrow for you to answer. It just depends on how you word your response :-)

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my personal opinions. Content published here is not read or approved in advance by my employers and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of my employers.

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