Really, What is the Handoff Between Sales and Operations?

Really, What is the Handoff Between Sales and Operations?

For many security integrators sales are everything. Without sales, what are you going to install? How will you pay for the technicians, trucks, products to install, connectors, wire ties and so on? I want to talk about the moving focus of a security integration company.

When a security integration company is small, installation and sales are 100 percent of the focuses of time and attention. The sales have to be lean but profitable. The installation has to be clean and accurate without a bunch of waste. The handoff between sales and operation ends up being the sales person telling the installer what to do and where do put the equipment. The end user experience is solid because they get a seamless transition between those two people talking about their project and then it gets installed. Typically, in this model you also see the sales person involved mostly throughout the installation to check in on the client.

So success starts coming along and now there are a couple of sales people and a couple of installers. The same small model applies though the end user experience may have some inconsistencies because now the sales person is less likely to stay involved in the installation of the project and is most likely just headed out to get more sales.

So, let’s stay crazy success happens, and now there are multiple offices with multiple sales people working under a sales manager and multiple installers, service technicians, project managers and project engineers, all working under an operations manager. Let’s also not leave out that this is the same company that had the hungry hunter sales person that began driving the company to success and is now the President/CEO guiding this, large organization. This is the dream of every security integrator manager or entrepreneur that I have ever met. However, now the end user experience is all over the map. The sales team sales and the operations team installs what they think was sold and try to meet the unclear expectations of the end user.

It sounds so simple but it is overlooked so many times, and it takes companies that have grown large and forces them to have roller coaster quarters, which means they will probably not stay at the top long, because the end user experience was not as solid as the first 2 models shown above. The simple part of the equation is the handoff between sales and operations.

When I was an integrator I worked for the small to the large in my pursuit of promotion and looking for the right way to do it so that people didn’t hate you when you walked in to their business or residence. Without a doubt, the key answer that I was able to create at one of the large security integration firms I worked for, was putting the project engineer as the consistency component and client project advocate from pre-sales to post install.

The Project Engineer guided the handoff because that was the one role that touched a project while it was becoming a project, the client expectations were being set and still be involved throughout the installation of the project. In fact, having the project engineer then go on a walk through with the end user after the install to make sure their expectations were met, became the main driver in the service technician not being ambushed on the first service call for how bad the company was.

So, I put to you today, that the most overlooked item when growing the small integration company to a large integration organization is the end user experience. This end user experience suffers when the handoff between sales and operations is left to chance. I have heard a lot of integration companies say “sure we have a handoff meeting” but when diving in deeper it is apparent that this is a lackluster meeting not very well attended by sales or operations. It is seldom that I see successful models of this handoff, but when I do there is always a happy client right behind that.

This article originally appeared in the issue of .

About the Author

Charlie Howell is an independent security consultant in Northern California.


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