Handling Conflicts Between IT and Your Sales Team

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When your IT team and salespeople get along and collaborate effectively, they can often achieve significant growth and revenue generation.

When your IT team and salespeople get along and collaborate effectively, they can often achieve significant growth and revenue generation.

However, when these two departments clash, it can cause major issues both inside and outside the company.

1. IT and Sales…oil and water?

A major IT and sales divergence has been a “throw it over the wall” mindset. This is where one group works independently from the other until it’s too late in the process to turn back.

Making sure that each member of these teams is adequately incentivized to work toward a common goal is an effective strategy to combat this. As a result, it’s critical to hire people who are enthusiastic about working toward a common purpose.

2. Battle back against inadequate empathy.

If the problem is a lack of empathy, the solution might be increased visibility.

Look for opportunities to expose the vulnerable side of doing business. How difficult was it to get that deal? How many challenges did you have to overcome to get that new feature up and running?

We’re all working on puzzles. Seeing that someone else is working on similar but unrelated difficulties demonstrates that we’re on the same team. We are far less likely to throw each other under the bus.

3. Root out ineffective communication.

Communication is at the root of most corporate conflicts, whether within or across teams.

Because sales targets are the primary focus, sales teams frequently don’t understand the technology and don’t make time for it. Tech teams, on the other hand, frequently exist in a realm that is too far removed from clients.

In this case, having business plans — rather than personal or departmental agendas — is beneficial.

4. Eliminate IT under-delivery and/or over-selling.

Overselling is risky. It almost always leads to under-delivery.

It’s critical that your sales force is aware of the benefits and drawbacks of your service or product. For every two sales executives, a solutions expert is required to keep them honest. Setting client expectations and presenting the solution’s roadmap is both refreshing and beneficial to a potential client relationship.

5. Is there a lack of clarity on specific issues and use cases?

The most common source of disagreement is when IT teams lack insight on the exact problem, scenarios, or use cases that sales teams are grappling with. Additional tools or technology aren’t always worth it for the sales team, no matter how snazzy.

6. Your sales team lacks the capacity to articulate customer requirements.

When sales teams are unable to communicate exactly what their clients want, this is a recipe for problems. This can also happen when tech teams are not clear about development dates for things that the sales team is attempting to pre-sell. The keys to establishing alignment are open communication and openness.

7. Watch out for sales engineering or proof of concept engineering.

According to the tech world, development protocols are constantly broken while attempting to persuade that quarter-million-dollar deal customer.

8. Are salespeople force-feeding “solutions” rather than addressing a problem to be solved?

The most common disputes occur whenever the sales team gives the tech team the “solution” rather than the “issue” to fix.

Including engineers in the problem-solving process gives them a sense of belonging and importance to the issue. This also brings in a variety of viewpoints that may enable businesses to create better software more quickly.

9. Be aware of any IT desire to provide clients with quicker service.

Sales teams seek to meet their clients’ needs as quickly as possible. IT groups, on the other hand, may take more time to meet the need for delivering quality.

As a tech leader, you should negotiate with the customer for the bare minimum MVP required. Prioritize that outcome with your sales teams. After that, engage with IT to avoid over-architecting the solution. This will result in a win-win situation. As a result, leveraging win-win results leads to long-term success.

10. Different departments work in different ways.

Sales and tech teams operate inherently differently. Sales teams are aggressive…and perhaps oversell. Tech teams operate with prudent restraint. These differences can be beneficial since it drives the teams to be constructive, collaborative, and reach a balance point.

11. Any danger of forgetting what the operational purpose is?

Tech teams are frequently so engrossed in their apps that they fail to recognize the operational purpose of ops requests.

Salespeople are frequently willing to make promises that they suspect they won’t be able to keep.

To close the gap, the IT team should be more involved in understanding their impact on important KPIs. Sales should be mindful that promises take time to fulfill.

12. When should deliverables be expected?

It’s the responsibility of top management to maintain a close eye on sales commitments against development sprint accomplishments.

Scrum masters/project managers on the development side and sales operations leaders on the sales side need to work together like peanut butter and jelly.

13. Has IT been led astray by product specifications?

The majority of the time, sales teams are unaware of where a product is and what it can do. They are frequently tripped up by a product’s specifics.

If the product fails to meet expectations, the momentum is lost not only from a business standpoint but also from the perspective of the sales team’s morale. It’s critical that sales pitches be in sync and that the tech team is involved.

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Becca Williams is a writer, editor, and small business owner. She writes a column for Smallbiztechnology.com and many more major media outlets.