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Sales vs Legal: Striking a Balance

Both the profiles are starkly different to each other. One is about following the law, while the other about getting the client or revenue in, mostly irrespective of the means. In a corporate setup, there are times when the two do not agree. And rightfully so. A Salestor nurtures a deal with blood and sweat and brings it to the agreement-signing stage. That is when the Legal gets involved and finds that it is just another proof of the Salestor doing everything in his/her power to get closer to the target.

However, both the profiles work in best interests of the organisation. So, if you belong to an organisation which demands legal intervention before closing a deal, read on. If not, read on anyway 😇.

Striking a Balance

Different industries have varying Sales Cycles and gestation periods. Since so much blood and sweat goes into getting a client on board, Salestors are known to be aggressive.

Similarly, an in-house counsel or lawyer’s primary job is risk assessment and mitigation for the organisation. So every time a Salestor brings in a deal for agreement signing, the lawyer does his job of looking at the risks associated with the services promised to the client. Clashing of the two profiles becomes a tricky situation for the client-oriented management too. While the lawyer needs to consider the psyche of the Salestor in getting the deal to agreement-signing stage, here is a five-point checklist of what we Salestors can do to strike a balance legally.

  1. Be aware of the laws and regulations pertaining to the product and industry: It comes handy just in case a customer happens to know more about it than us, or asks something regarding the same. It also speeds up the process when we take the deal to the legal for agreement signing.

  2. Do a risk assessment before promising the world to the client: Risk assessment involves taking into consideration the view point of other teams who are going to help us serve the client once on-boarding is complete. Now, this is a very tricky situation as we Salestors often find ourselves stuck in the middle of a storm trying to figure out what is a priority: on-boarding the client to move closer to our targets, or hard negotiating that might drive the client away, but will save us from facing certain flak later on.

  3. Keep the respective departments apprised of any extra services you promise: This is not about being honest internally and with the client. It is rather about saving yourself the pain of trying to convince the client that you cannot give what you promised because your team won’t do it. In such a case, you jeopardise the relationship that just began, land the risk of earning a bad repute for the company, and usually end up in a difficult position internally.

  4. Keep everything documented: Besides verbal promises, it is important to keep all internal and external communication documented. Though it may put more pressure on us Salestors to abide by the promises, it more frequently comes to save the day when things go wrong. All promises, whether internal or external, need to be documented to avoid any confusion. This comes handy especially when dealing with the legal.

  5. List the Pros and Cons of the Deal: If the structure of the deal involves stepping out of company’s SOPs, we should have the list of pros and cons ready before approaching the legal and the management.

Every profile has its own expectations and quirks. It is interesting to see how they blend. I’ll be back very soon with more relationships between different profiles at work. Stay tuned!

180 views2 comments


Ishita Nigam
Ishita Nigam
Nov 08, 2020

Very true, Suman! Thanks for reading my article :)


Suman Khetan
Suman Khetan
Nov 07, 2020

Very well articulated.. this is the biggest dilemma of a salesperson and as you said to strike a balance is the key. I have worked in telecom and telecom solutions are at times so complex and dynamic that a salestor fail to have complete knowledge and end up committing services that are hard to fulfil. So it is v necessary to go back and check with the internal stakeholders and yes also document it properly.

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