Sales operations and the impact of strategy

All businesses – across the planet and down to the very last one on earth – share the common challenge of making sales occur in a repeatable and predictable manner. Generating sales increases and determining how to fill the sales pipeline are always concerns near the top of the list for business leaders, whether they are heading a start-up or a multibillion-dollar conglomerate. This article is about generating revenue by unlocking the full potential of the sales organisation.

There’s no substitute for sales

The sales challenge is the great equaliser among all competitors and is the common strategic bond across businesses in all industries. Businesses cannot force customers to buy from them, so sales are not within their direct control. However, businesses can control their operating costs. Once costs have been brought under control and are at a reasonable or optimised level, sales are the only other determinant of profitability. The profit equation says it all:

Profit = Sales – (Variable Costs + Fixed Costs)

Increasing or maintaining profits with stagnant or declining sales is an unsustainable scenario, requiring operating cost cuts and strategic retrenchment. While no business would knowingly adopt a long-term strategy of cost-cutting to the exclusion of revenue generation, it is ironic that sales and marketing budgets are usually on the list of cuts made when revenue is flat or profits are in decline.

Sales generation is strategic to every business and is the central theme of strategic planning in for-profit organisations. If lucrative markets for the firm’s offerings do not exist or are not eventually uncovered, it is only a matter of time before cash and credit options run out and the business fails.

Finding a way to generate sales revenue is the only way up for a business in decline. Improving sales operations effectiveness requires analysis, planning and execution. In short, the problem of generating sales requires that it receive the prioritisation and respect it is due, and that it be addressed through strategic planning.

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