Really, What is the Handoff Between Sales and Operations?
- By Charlie Howell
- Jan 01, 2015
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
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.