Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Why Sales isn't process driven

One of the statements I've made on a semi-regular basis is that the concept of business process being the most important thing in a business is a myth. The other day this was brought home to me perfectly when I was looking at packaged solutions and particularly pieces around the "sales process".

Now I'm not going to say that there is no such thing within an organisation as a sales process, of course there is, but what I'm saying is that this isn't actually the important factor when looking at the success or failure of a sales organisation. Having a process that says "Stage 3 - Agreed issue with client" and "Stage 9 - Contract Signed" isn't the thing that actually drives successful sales.

No its sales people, sales targets, bonuses and most importantly goal driven behaviour that is the important factor in sales. Understanding what the goals are is much more important that understanding what the process is, different people will have massively different approaches to the selling process and while they will move from one step to another and this will give you the ability to measure and audit their performance it will not give you the ability to help focus or improve it.

Its an old truism that KPIs drive behaviour and its massively the case in sales, it is therefore, when modelling the architecture, more important to consider these KPIs and the underlying business goals than to worry about the audit process that will allow elements to be measured. This is a great example of where the business value and importance is assessed via the KPIs and Goals, but is measured by the implementation of a process.

This is one of the critical things to remember when creating an SOA, understand that the mechanism for the implementation and measurement of a service can be different to the mechanism for defining the external drivers and business critical value of the service. In some cases process might be both of these elements, in some it will be none but do not fall into the trap that because the measurement is by process that this is actually the thing that drives the business behaviour and value.

In fact I'd say that for most Services the concept of "Goals" will be more useful than the concept of "Process".

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Birol Berkem said...

I agree with you especially when you say : "Understanding what the goals are is much more important that understanding what the process is, ... " and will try to reference your citation in my site about the Goal-Driven SOA.

Birol Berkem

Birol Berkem said...

Hi Steve,

I think that I have found the right place to insert your reference on my site (

Please take a look at the Conclusion and References section on :

The article is about "How to Align IT to the Changes on a Goal-Driven SOA".

All the best,
Birol Berkem

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