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Bridging the Sales-Delivery Gap in IT Consulting: Focus on What Was Sold

Bridging the Sales-Delivery Gap in IT Consulting: Focus on What Was Sold

In IT Consulting, we often witness a common challenge: the Sales-Delivery gap. But overcoming this gap can be easier than you think! And the solution is for Delivery to make a mental shift. Not overcoming this gap is dangerous.

What happens when the gap occurs?

Wherever you find the gap occurring in your organization, you will find finger-pointing. Delivery is mad at Sales. Sales is mad at Delivery. You will hear Delivery saying things like, "Sales does not even know what they are selling." You will hear Sales complain that, "Delivery is not managing their project." So, why does this gap occur?

Why does the Sales-Delivery gap exist?

There are various reasons for the Sales-Delivery gap's existence. Some of those reasons are:

1.     The communication divide

2.     Clashing incentives

3.     Revenue recognition policies

4.     An imperfect view of the future

In regards to the communication divide, Sales and Delivery often do not effectively communicate with each other on what was sold to the client and, more specifically, what was not sold to the client. This is why the internal "Sales-to-Delivery handover meeting" is such a crucial step in your processes.

Sales is also often incentivized to win client engagements by dropping the number of resources and/or hours to complete the job. Of course, Delivery wants an engagement and may also go along with Sales in lowering hours or resources when it is not what it takes to deliver the project.

Revenue recognition policies will also mean that Sales maybe paid on a deal before the project is completed, then a deal that did not state the correct hours to complete the job leaves Delivery holding the bag for an unprofitable engagement while Sales still gets paid. The opposite is also true. Delivery may run over on a project, causing the project to be unprofitable and lowering the commissions paid to Sales.

It is also impossible for Sales to know what Delivery knows regarding the engagement because of time. Delivery is on the project for an extended period of time and goes into business process in depth while Sales has a limited time and a limited amount of knowledge with which to produce the statement of work.

The Solution to your gap problem

The solution to the problem can be quite simple if we want it to be. Delivery should work to what Sales has sold and not put their spin on the project. When a gap arises between what was sold and what must occur, then the Developers, QAs, and Business Analysts on the project should raise the issue immediately with their Project Managers. And the burden of these changes should not solely rest on the shoulders of the Project Managers. Project Managers should escalate these issues to the Salesperson who sold the job to communicate with the client on why the Delivery team feels there is a gap between what was sold and what is required to delivering the project.

So, keep it simple. If the Salesperson sold an oil job for a car, then simply do the oil change. The second something comes up in conducting the oil change that was not written as an "assumption" or the" proposed solution", then stop the work. Raise the issue with the Manager. The Manager can then escalate to Sales.

Delivery should not shoulder the burden of the discrepancy between what was sold and what is required to deliver. Instead, stick to what was sold and escalate the rest. Do not proceed without the escalation though.

Happy IT Consulting everyone.

About Purely CRM

For close to a decade our Purely CRM team has been laser-like focused on delivering CRM solutions built solely on Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM, combined with Power Apps and the Microsoft Power Platform. We’ve expanded our team immensely in the past years to help better serve our clients and partners. Most recently we merged with Endeavour Solutions, a top Microsoft ERP, CRM, and Cloud consulting firm to further expand our talented team of CRM consultants.

Our core focus is on large mid-market and enterprise CRM Design & Development projects, Staff Augmentation, and CRM Support. When needed we can also tap upon our peers at Endeavour for Dynamics 365 Business Central ERP to provide an All-in-One Cloud ERP-CRM.  We provide services to clients Coast to Coast across the United States and Canada. We do not use resources overseas.

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