A customer of mine had a right old rant, going off on one when speaking with me late last week. He runs a sales effort. In England, such people are called Sales Directors. Elsewhere, titles may differ (VP Sales, CSOs) but the role remains the same.
He was flummoxed. Why were people like him so low down in the organisational pecking order? It just didn’t make sense, considering that he brings home the bacon. He reckoned the command line ran MD (or CEO equivalent), the top bean counter second, then Ops, then IT. And this is when his blood vessels looked like popping. How on earth can anyone in IT out-rank the sales department? It was a travesty from which I fear he may never recover.
Then I pointed out to him he that hadn’t mentioned Marketing yet. His reaction encouraged me to make my excuses, grab my coat and make a sharp exit!
As I travelled away, I did ponder this exchange though. My experience suggested he was along the right lines. When I myself ran (storming!) sales teams, I was somehow out-gunned by both Finance & Ops fellow Directors on occasion. All through my sales career (practically all the time selling to sales people) I do recall where I’ve got the nod from the sales chief, only for them to come crying to me sobbing that a Board peer had mysteriously scuppered their (and our) plans.
How can we extricate ourselves from this perpetual injustice?