Imagine the scenario: your sales team has been flat out on an exciting prospect. The customer is driving a hard bargain, wanting more for less, faster than ever. At last signatures are on the contract, you have a new client and the celebrations begin, but can you deliver?
As long as you can deliver the promises for this new client everything will be alright in the end.
Imagine also, with ink barely dry on the contract, it’s thrown over to the delivery team, who respond in a less than encouraging way.
Often, this is the first time that the team will realise what they’ve been signed up to. They either won’t have been consulted while the offer was being shaped, or their contributions will have been worked ever-so-slightly to make the numbers work.
In the rush to achieve a sale, one fact can be unnoticed: it doesn’t matter how good the deal looks on paper, if it can’t be delivered.
The ability to deliver what is sold to a new client is important for many reasons. The most important by a long way is the desire for repeat business. It is all well and good to hook a new client by offering them a first time discount, as is the case with genting casino promotions. But a successful business keeps them coming back time and time again.
The need to keep a healthy business pipeline has never been clearer. If there’s no work coming in, you won’t last very long. Business development, locating opportunities and sales are essential, so that everything possible is done to generate real, hard cash.
But remember that someone will need to deliver for this new client.
Here are five key questions which might help determine if you’re ready to deliver for your potential new client:
1. Have you got enough delivery capacity?
Everyone needs to keep an eye on costs, but have you actually trimmed away too much? You need to make money, otherwise there is no business there.
Is your delivery team working at an unsustainable pace, because simply too much of the skill base has left the business? Retaining talent is a difficulty for every business, you need enough talent in your company to deliver what you are selling.
Have you kept up your investment in the team? It is great to scrimp and save, but investing in your team development is ideal for retaining employees and being at the forefront of your industry.
2. Have you bent over backwards to win the deal?
Are you offering contracts that simply can’t be delivered? There should be a line you will not cross. Knowing what your team can deliver is essential.
Are you incentivising your sales team in ways which encourage unhelpful behaviours when it comes to delivery? Salespeople will do anything, especially when there is commission on the line. They have to be reasonable and understand that the delivery team cannot perform miracles.
3. Is your organisation set up to maximise the chances of success?
Are your sales and delivery teams and partners working together to shape the best deal for both supplier and customer? Build a healthy team environment. The delivery and sales teams need to be able to deliver for new clients without breaking the business dynamic.
Does everyone have an equal voice at the table before an offer goes out to a new client, or are some more equal than others? Management can have final say, but they need to listen to every member of the team and take their opinion into account before a decision is made.
4. Do you know when you’ve got to walk away?
It’s a buyer’s market; customers will drive as hard a deal as they possibly can. Do you know when “enough is enough”? There is a line for a reason. You want to under-promise and over-deliver, not the opposite. The only place it leads is to friction in the teams and a bad company reputation.
5. Do you know your market position?
Do you understand where you have room to manoeuvre? Taking on a big project can ensure that you are getting paid well, and it is easy to give a little bit extra to get the contract signed. However, no manoeuvrability will just put you in a tight spot. Doing business with the phrase, “what can go wrong, will go wrong” is erring on the side of caution.
Are you competitive, and not only on price? Healthy competition is important for business growth, keeping an eye on your competition could keep you one step ahead when it comes to bidding and delivering on a new project.
Keeping the volume and value of sales healthy is important, but disappointing customers will put you in a very vulnerable position. Repairing damage can be debilitating, and recovery can be a long, arduous journey. Add to that, you’ll also have a huge task on hand, costing money with diminishing chances of a return.
The time to check is long before the pens come out.