We’ve all been there.
Needing to deliver a crucial piece of work but also having half an eye on a drying up pipeline. Or, your pipeline is fit to burst but you’re not sure when you’re going to find the time to coax prospects to the close.
It’s a tightrope. And there’s no silver bullet. But there are steps you can take and things to bear in mind if you need some balance in your life.
Balancing sales and delivery is a tightrope
Finding the right time to focus on sales over delivery is a tricky one. The natural conundrum inside your head is “Do I sacrifice a client for this project, or sacrifice this project for a new client?”.
Getting it right is hard, but can be done.
You should be focusing on your current projects, but that can only be done guilt-free if you’ve got the sales engine working seamlessly in the background. You need to put the hard yards in first before you can take your foot off the gas – and even then you need to keep an eye on the speedometer.
However, if you’re a senior leader in your organisation, closing deals might be – or should be – part of your roles and responsibilities.
So that begs the question “Should I even be doing delivery?”.
Well, the answer is yes. You should be able to conduct the orchestra just as much as you’re able to perform the tune that they’re playing.
So how do you balance the two?
Delivering the best for your clients is correct – but at what cost?
So, we know that you should still be able to deliver for your clients. But at what cost?
Especially for your flagship clients or retainers, you should still be able to pitch in, roll up your sleeves, and get your hands dirty. Doesn’t matter what it is. If you’ve landed the business, you should know how the project runs.
The same goes for pitches. You should be able to get hands-on and win that piece of work.
But doing all this at the expense of…what? Well, if you’re operating as a well-oiled machine, in theory, nothing.
The problem, however, is when you’ve got either:
- Too much work on, and a full pipeline
- An empty pipeline, and too few (and precious) clients
If your scenario is 1, then your problem is how you’re going to close the deals whilst maintaining the level of work you expect of your business for the clients you already have.
If it’s 2, then you’re torn between ensuring your existing clients remain happy, and pumping the pipeline so you’ve got something to close.
Finding the balance in either of those scenarios is tough. And there’s no finite answer – it all depends on your team, your processes, and your setup.
Why is next.
Don’t let the pipeline dry up
Of course you want every project to go well and end up as a retainer. But if you’re not focusing on your pipeline at any point, you won’t have any new business at all.
As mentioned, there’s no definitive answer as to how to balance sales and delivery. But they can’t exist without each other.
However, if you’ve built your sales engine inside your business and you’ve got a smooth sales process with the right people in the right place…it can operate without you overseeing it 100% of the time.
This frees you up to focus on delivery for a portion of your time. Of course, this will depend on:
- Team size
- Business size
- Business goals
- How healthy your pipeline already is
If you’re a small team, with just the Founder as the senior leadership team, the balance is trickier. If you’re larger, with other senior figures to lean on, you’ll find it easier to balance your time.
So it’s worth putting the hard yards in upfront and developing an internal sales engine so you can set it running whilst you deliver for your clients.
So, if there’s no definitive answer to the balance between sales and delivery, where do you go next?
For us, we feel that the answer lies in building a functioning engine inside your business and putting the right people in the right place so you can:
- Build authority
- Go to market
- Conduct outreach
- Generate demand
…without having to do it all yourself.
Then, in theory, all that’s left to do is hold conversations and build relationships with prospects so you can close the deals. This should be something that you can check in on a couple of times a day to maintain cadence, whilst keeping the delivery plate spinning.
It’s also about empowering your team to be able to function without you.
Can your lead designer run a project end-to-end? Can your senior leadership team close a deal without you?
It’s about putting building blocks in place so you can hover and dip into the areas you need to, whilst maintaining the all-seeing-eye that every leader should have. That’s not to say you should micro-manage, however. It just means that you should be clear on expectations, reality, and what your team can or can’t do without you.
Need a hand balancing sales and delivery? Give us a shout, and we’ll take a look at your sales engine and team alignment.