When Contract Management Goes Wrong, No One is Safe from the Wrath of Sales
Interactions with prospects and customers are traditionally regarded as the ‘front line’ of business operations. Making sales to those customers follows the same warfare analogy of fighting ‘in the trenches’, clawing for every inch of ground against increasingly aggressive competition for customer dollars. No wonder, then, that salespeople have a tendency to respond very negatively to situations in which their hard fought deals are undermined by errors back at the head office.
As any veteran salesperson will tell you, deals are landed based on promises and trust. Customers are promised that the goods or services they purchased will perform exactly as described in the literature, and that the features and benefits will solve their problems and make their lives easier. In addition, the sales team assures all of their customers that every aspect of the entire customer experience will be flawless, and they really need it to be if they’re going to earn future business from those customers.
Imagine their extreme frustration, then, when they hear from a new customer that there are problems with the contract paperwork. From their perspective, that constitutes an internal declaration of war against the contact administration team. If they can’t count on their peers back at head office to “dot the i’s and cross the t’s,” how are they supposed to beat the competition?
If you have just pulled off a miracle in processing the paperwork for that deal with no time and no resources, such negative feedback may seem unfair and may be hard to swallow, but it does serve to remind you that in contract management, there is no credit for a good effort.
Contracts represent legal obligations, and companies become liable for fines and penalties for non-performance and non-compliance once those documents are signed. Giving it your “best shot” doesn’t earn you any discounts or mercy from the court.
If the sales department has already placed a bounty on the contract manager’s head, your contract management process is probably failing in one of these three areas: