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Becoming a Sales-Driven Company

(June 2008) posted on Wed Jun 18, 2008

Take control of your production processes and become a sales-driven company.

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By Marty McGhie

One of the goals often discussed in business is becoming a sales-driven company. This is indeed a great objective, but unless you're able to get control over your production processes and workflow you'll never quite get there.

You first have to identify if your company is production-driven. Let's take a look at some of the 'symptoms' of this type of shop: A production-driven business will typically control the flow of work based on its production capacities. The communication will usually flow from production management to the sales force, letting the sales reps know how much they can or cannot sell at any given time due to production constraints.

Because production capacities dictate the flow of sales in a production-driven company, there often is no compelling reason to improve workflow and, hence, increase production capabilities. The result: a false sense of security that production must be working great since sales are being managed.

While that process can work for a time, you will never really achieve significant growth as a company as long as production dictates what you sell. And if you don’t grow in your business, you can easily die.

A philosophy shift
So how do you convert your organization to a sales-driven company? The first requirement is a change in mentality. As always, this begins with a commitment from top management. A good initial step is to establish a six-month to one-year sales goal for your business that will push production beyond their current capabilities. We'd be naive to assume that sales will come just because a goal has been set, but since we're dealing with production processes here, we'll assume that your sales organization has the ability to increase sales to the desired level.

Once management has committed to this philosophical change, you must then communicate and commit the entire organization to the same goals and attitudes about your organization. Everyone has to be on the same page. All relevant decisions need to be based upon the sales mentality.

Having set and committed to a sales goal that will create overcapacity in your production flow, it’s now time to break down your processes and identify what you can do to create efficiencies and resulting capacity.