In the last blog post, I talked about how the project management team can help the sales team. It’s a great way to get the two departments to trust each other and work well together. But don’t worry—it’s 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 wouldn’t be able to sell anything otherwise). By properly coordinating with the project management team, the PMO would be able to adjust the company’s 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 PM’s 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 he’ll get right on it”, or b) the sales rep gets a complete account of the client’s 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 don’t move fast enough to keep up with the timeline. The project manager can nag, bluster, and beg all he likes, but some clients just won’t move.
Thankfully, the project manager isn’t 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 isn’t 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 opinion—one that supports the project manager’s goals.
Just because sales and project management are two separate departments, doesn’t mean that they can’t work together. By pooling your efforts, you can improve your organization’s operations and increase your level of customer service. In this game, everybody wins.
Image credit, Flickr, SalFalko