Sales vs Finance: It's All About the Revenue!



Both are revenue related profiles. One generates it, the other manages it. Here are some real life scenarios we come across in our corporate lives.


Salestor: Hi! Can you share our company’s GST Reg? I need to share it with the client for the onboarding process.

Financer: Please check your email. I shared it with you for every client the previous four times.

***

Financer: Why do you need to give gifts worth Rs 2000 to each client for Diwali? Past records show no change in sales led by the expensive gifting.

Salestor: Because that is a list of the premium clients who give us an annual business of Rs 10 million each. And moreover, everyone expects gifts on Diwali.

Oh that reminds me! Are we receiving a bonus this Diwali?

***

Salestor: Hey! I guess there is some discrepancy in the commission I received for the previous quarter.

Financer: Oh, that’s weird. Did you achieve your targets?

Salestor: Of course! I achieved 70% of the targets.

Financer: Well, that’s not achieving your targets now, is it?

Salestor: Yes, it is. Because, I am eligible to earn commission on achievement of 50% and 70% targets too.

Financer: Oh okay. Sure, I will take a look.

Salestor: Please. And before the cheques are printed.

***

How many times have you had one of these conversations with your finance person?


A Salestor’s job is getting clients on board and, in some organisations, retaining them as well. Once a client has been onboarded, the Salestor (or the Key Account Manager) tries to keep him engaged through small tokens of gratitude every now and then, like company printed merchandise, Diwali gifts and even dinner and cocktails. That is where the finance guy comes into the picture and tries to understand why such lavish expenses are needed.


For a Finance guy, on the other hand, the priority is profitability and hence every penny counts. That is why it becomes important to scrutinise every expense termed as an investment by the Salestor. While the finance guy should understand a Salestor’s psyche behind spending on client retention, here are some measures we Salestors can take in order to ensure a less-frustrating discussion with the finance team.


  1. Having Set Procedures, or SOPs: This is the ideal scenario and differs from organisation to organisation. Having set procedures helps make the tasks of both the departments easier and manage expectations and communication better.

  2. Maintaining Own Records: Highly mundane for a Salestor, but comes to save the day on more occasions than one. For me, keeping personal records of the daily movement in Sales, influx or efflux of monthly invoicing/payment from a critical client, or expiry date of a service agreement always came to the rescue whenever needed. Personal records help especially when you want to be doubly sure of the incentives, want to avoid any discussion turning awkward without proper information, or simply want to save the number of trips (or calls) to the Finance. In case you happen to have a strong CRM platform to keep these records, it is an icing on the cake!

  3. Keep everything Documented: This one is borrowed from my article Sales vs Legal. Non-verbal communication is an essential part of corporate life, but doesn’t help much when it comes to liaison, both internal and external. Keeping things like to-do’s, requests, client expectations that need to be fulfilled by the organisation, documents shared, et al. need to be documented.

  4. Negotiation: Obvious. The profile of Sales demands negotiating with internal and external customers all the time. Be it a budgeting activity, negotiating the services agreement with client, or simply getting the invoices earlier than SOP timeline, everything comes down to negotiating a better deal with finance.

Every profile has its own quirks and hence communication and expectations need to be managed effectively for smooth functioning of the organisation. However, the fact remains that there always are ways to manage the priorities of different profiles and find a middle ground for smooth co-existence.


I would love to know what you thought of this article! Please share your comments below and show some love ❤️

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