Every commercial business thrives on the collective contributions of its various business units. Guys in sales and marketing work to capture, nurture, and convert leads to customers, and build excellent business relationship with customers. IT folks ensure the business software and networks are stable and functioning optimally. The customer service department is busy with customers support, promptly responding to customers complaints and inquires. The HR unit is effectively playing the intermediary role between the business owners and the entire workforce. It is working on the new hires to make sure they imbue the ideals of the organization. It is also making sure that new hires skill-sets will contribute to realizing organization goals and objectives. No doubt, this workplace synergy is what is required for a business to be successful.
Interestingly, employees are expected to contribute to the overall growth of an organization based on their specialties. Most employees’ assessments methodology clearly shows how business executives usually focus primarily on how well an employee is performing in his specialized role rather than how well his contributions are helping organization to move closer to its goals. While the concept of division of labour in business is vital, it has also placed limitations on how creative and innovative employees can be in achieving overall business goals and objectives.
Let me share with you a personal story. Some few years back, I worked as an IT Analyst in a Real Estate firm. My duties and roles were spelled out to me and none of them had to do with sales and marketing. In those days, sales and marketing was a “no-go-area” for my temperament, personality and skill sets. As an introvert and a programmer, marketing and sales related work would make me feel strongly uncomfortable. Writing programming codes and other IT related jobs were my interests and strengths. After working for 3 month with the firm, management decided that in addition to whatever everyone does, an individual employee must close at least a deal in a month. It felt like the heavens were crashing on me. The rewards and penalty were bundled with the announcement. The reward was full salary plus 20% sharing of the profit for the month amongst all employees. While the penalty was a 15% salary deduction.
With this rude shock of the century, I quickly learned an invaluable lesson about how sales and marketing should be the concerns of all employees and not for salespeople alone. You may have contrary opinions, but I believe organizations with low sales will struggle with its obligations to business owners, employees and the community where they operate. When a business is faced with low sales, everyone is under due pressure.
Whether a business wants more sales than the core salespeople could deliver or creating a model where everyone can directly contribute to the tangible expectations of the business; employees should be trained to see the big picture of business expectations and how their direct contribution to the whole could make a huge difference.