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A Delicate Balance: Sales Growth and Production

(February 2012) posted on Tue Jan 24, 2012

"Much like the Chinese concept of yin and yang, the sales and production departments must exist side by side, harmoniously."

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By Marty McGhie

One of the constant challenges we all face in our shops is finding the proper balance between sales and production. Strategically, you want to continue to grow in the marketplace, of course, so you’re constantly searching for new ways to increase sales. But if the result is your production team being unable to keep up with the sales department’s efforts, this approach can be dangerous. Your company will be focusing too heavily on sales and miss on the production side, disappointing clients.

On the other hand, if you concentrate too heavily on production, ignoring sales, you’ll likely never garner the business you want and need in your shop in the first place.

What you want is an effective balance between the two, so that sales and production are more evenly matched. Much like the Chinese concept of yin and yang, the sales and production departments must exist side by side, harmoniously. Yes, it can be a tricky challenge – but if you choose to ignore this delicate balance, your company will undoubtedly lose business. If you continually work on the right balance, however, your business can reap long-term rewards.

Challenges on both sides
First, let’s analyze your sales staff. In past columns, I’ve noted that cash is the lifeblood of your business. But if we agree that our ability to keep sales flowing through a business is the way we create cash, then we can also agree that you need to constantly focus on maintaining current sales and securing new sales. Your sales team is, of course, very critical to that process. Your sales reps should always be driving toward the next sale. They should be doing everything in their power to land the next sale, and rightly so. At our shop, this is why we compensate our sales reps with commissions based on sales.

But this constant drive for additional sales is also why it will always be a challenge for management to ensure that the sales team considers the production side of the equation, not just the sales.

On the other side of the business, your production staff’s mentality obviously comes from a different direction than sales. Your production team’s priorities include getting the jobs done accurately, efficiently, and on-time for your customers.