If We Will Build It, They Will Come. Right?

While we are on the subject of getting things in the wrong order, you can build it, but it doesn’t mean anyone will come. In fact, it can cost your company a lot of money and it can put undo pressure on the sales force to perform.

Building the Capacity to Serve

Starting and growing a business isn’t easy. You need to build the capacity to serve your clients. At the same time you need to make sure you have enough cash to effectively—and profitably—grow the business. The balance can be tricky, and sometimes salespeople are good enough at selling what they need that they get their company in trouble.

The salesperson is pursuing big deals. In order to serve those big deals, money is going to need to be invested. So the salesperson or sales leader, being very persuasive and using his sales prowess to sell inside, creates a vision that the entrepreneurs in the company absolutely love. It’s got fast growth. It’s got client acquisition. It’s a dream.

No, really. It’s a dream.

The vision is wonderful, but it way overstates what the sales force can accomplish and the timeline in which it can be accomplished. Money is poured in, and theresults are negligible to non-existent. Over time, the pressure is ratcheted up on the sales force to produce. Sometimes they fail. Sometimes they get desperate and take bad business. And sometimes people who were hired to serve clients are fired because the clients never show up.

Worse, the salesperson that sold the plan internally has lost his political capital within the organization. He is disappointed he doesn’t have the capacity he wanted, and the company is disappointed they invested their time in money only to lose both.

When They Come, We Will Build It

Building the capacity after you have acquired the clients isn’t easy either. It’s difficult to scale up while you are growing and adding clients. It’s like changing the tires on a moving car.

The employees that you are bringing in to serve need to be trained. They don’t have the experience that will only gain over time and through serving their clients. If the capacity and the delivery isn’t there, if you can’t execute, you lose the client. It can be tough to regain the clients once they are lost.

Losing the client causes the sales force to lose face—and faith—and start to pull their punches. And it frustrates the leadership.

Measure and Balance

Small, growing companies with a vision to be larger need their leadership and their sales team to be on the same page when it comes to growth. The leadership team needs to make sure that just the right investments are made to ensure that they can execute for their new clients. This means that they can’t cave in to the demands of the sales force and overbuild capacity.

The sales force needs to work to acquire the clients necessary to growth. They also need to understand that any money that is poorly invested in one area won’t be available in another later on—when they need the money to serve their new dream client.

Measured and balanced growth means conversations. It requires alignment. It requires cohesion. It requires patience and diligent effort. They won’t come just because you built it. But then they do come, you had better prepared for them.


How do you ensure that the investments your company makes aren’t made too soon and that money isn’t lost with over-capacity?

How do ensure that capacity is built in time to serve the new clients being brought on and that your promised results are realized?

How do you communicate and share information from the sales force and sales management so that the right investments are made?

What happens when too much capacity is built? Too little?

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Filed under: Sales

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