I have spoken with many analysts who have been called upon to do the job that the sales rep simply cannot do and that is perform the role of sales engineer much like you would find in a technology vendor. They describe the scenario as the sales guy sets up the call or meeting, they explain the product, methodology and impress the clients with their expertise then the sales guy processes the order and gets both the credit and the commission. The detrimental impact of this on the organization cannot be ignored.
I know a lot of sales guys and ladies will defend their value in the sales process til their dying breath. This posting isn’t about them but rather how the firm sets policy so that cooperation is fostered AND rewarded for all involved.
Is your compensation structure for analysts tied to company performance, their products alone, some combination of the two? If the answer is no then consider yourself lucky to still be in business.
Compensation policies should encourage everyone in the firm (external/associate) to participate in revenue generation. If you have people who don’t consider it part of their responsibility then you have two choices in front of you. Create incentives for them to get involved or if they exist and you can’t get buy in then show them the door. Consulting and other types of professional firms out the emphasis on the account people to generate billable hours. Analysts shouldn’t have the luxury of sitting in a bubble that ignores revenue generation.
And a culture of cooperation between your content and revenue producers has to be established and nurtured at every turn. Sales people can’t live in fear that their accounts are being pilfered by analysts looking to secure a sales commission. Competition between teams is great, not between sales and content.
How do your sales and analyst teams interact with one another? Is it cooperative or combative?
Do you have sales meetings where the analysts are present? If not, why?
Do you train your analysts on how to sell?
Do your analysts refer business back to the sales team?
Do your analysts ask clients what sorts of things they might want to buy in the future?
Are your analysts compensated in some fashion on customer retention?
Do your analysts know when it’s time to stop talking and let sales take over to bring the process to close?
As a side note, these structures are harder to apply when you are relying upon third-party content producers but nonetheless, you can take steps to ensure that your associate analysts and subcontractors can participate as well. I will address that in another post