In the last blog post, I talked about how the project management team can help the sales team. Its a great way to get the two departments to trust each other and work well together. But dont worryits not a one-sided relationship at all. The sales team can also return the favor and help the project management team be more effective.
Sales can help the project management team out in the following areas:
The sales team is arguably the department most in tune with what clients want (they wouldnt be able to sell anything otherwise). By properly coordinating with the project management team, the PMO would be able to adjust the companys product or service in line with what sales is seeing the market demand.
Salesmen are usually good at reading people and situations, especially within a corporate environment. With a good inter-department relationship, sales can give the project manager a client brief listing organizational hierarchies and personality profiles. Useful information for a PMs first client meeting.
First Line of Support
When the client has an issue, they sometimes turn to the first person they met in your organization: the sales rep. What happens next really depends on the company workflow. Either a) the sales rep says Call [Project Manager] and hell get right on it, or b) the sales rep gets a complete account of the clients problem and discusses it with the project manager, so that the client only ever has to explain his problem once. This route definitely needs more time and effort from the sales team, but I believe the amount of customer service the client gets makes it more than worth it.
Good Cop-Bad Cop
Clients can sometimes obstruct project progress, even without meaning to. Either they insist on going down the wrong path, or they dont move fast enough to keep up with the timeline. The project manager can nag, bluster, and beg all he likes, but some clients just wont move.
Thankfully, the project manager isnt the only one in the organization that the client knows. The sales rep can help by sidling into the conversation all subtle-like. If the PM isnt making headway, the sales rep can send the client a quick, friendly email just to say hi. Then the rep gives the client a second opinionone that supports the project managers goals.
Just because sales and project management are two separate departments, doesnt mean that they cant work together. By pooling your efforts, you can improve your organizations operations and increase your level of customer service. In this game, everybody wins.
Image credit, Flickr, SalFalko