Growth Doesn’t Come From Sales, Part II

Five months ago I wrote a post arguing that a companies growth doesn’t come from sales. You can read it here. I read it again today and believe it just as much now as I did then. Sales isn’t responsible for growth. Sales is an accelerant. You can’t live without sales, but if you rely on sales to grow your business you’re toast.

The post has created a lot of conversation on LinkedIn back when I wrote it. For some reason, over the last two days the conversation has started up again and the folks have had some great thoughts on the idea of who is responsible for a companies growth. LinkedIn’s comments are closed, so I thought I’d bring them here. These are some of the best:

Great Post, and I agree, sales is not solely responsible for a company’s growth. There are many people who think sales people are that powerful. We’re not. In the same way no sales person (or sales team) should ever take full credit for a company’s success, they can’t bear the blame either for slow or declining growth.Lilly Ferrick

Revenue generation is truly a company responsibility. –Walter Wise

I will take a great sales team with a mediocre product any day over a poor sales team with great product—any day. I have a team right now who complains “we don’t have anything unique to sell–our competition has the same stuff.” To which I reply–is there really a difference between the cell companies, or auto dealers selling the same brand, or RiteAid vs. CVS vs. Walgreens, or any printing company, or Dell vs. Compaq etc? In almost every market, true differentiation is in minutes, not degrees (go back to trigonometry). Sales is what finds those in the market who need or want that tiny difference and exploit it into significant profits and many times it is the sales person him or herself which is the only minute difference. –Jeffrey Bowe

The discussion appears to be quite interesting. But before moving forward the first question that should be addressed first is- What exactly do we mean when we say a “company’s growth”. So breaking up the question into two parts is required in my view. So we’ll have two questions now- What do we mean by Company’s growth and second what is Sales responsible for? Correct me if i am wrong but i feel this is a better way of addressing the topic. How? Here i go…When we talk about a company’s growth we normally mean an organization’s growth in terms of revenue and bottom line. Although i agree that growth means a lot of other things. So now, whom does an organization entrust the responsibility of bringing in revenues and bottom line growth? Thats Sales. And this also answers the second question i.e.,”what is Sales responsible for?” So when an organization decides on its growth strategies and fixes on a goal/objective for a year it does it in terms of X% growth figure to reach X figure of revenue & bottom line. So, these figures and percentage growth that does define an organization’s growth is driven through sales. Sales gives a true picture of an organization’s presence in the market, it takes a customer’s voice to boardrooms and its a real time test of an organization’s capability to understand and respond to market’s needs. So apart from being a catalyst for external growth it also ensures growth within. –Avinash M

Sales is the only process in an enterprise that creates revenue.

Sales provides the foundation for growth but that’s not enough – the rest of the enterprise must play their part to ensure that the products and services delivered are competitive and that the costs (of production, loans and sales etc) are kept down so that a healthy profit is turned – it is the profits that are earned which provide the collateral for growth and a talented management team will invest them wisely for sustainable growth. –Steve Dobson

This is my favorite. I agree with Yashwanth, sales is more responsible for growth when it comes to start-ups. Great insight.

During the initial stages of the company, sales is largely responsible for growth. A company might have the best product or might offer the best service, but the survival solely depends on how much and how fast they sell. This determines whether they move to the next stage of growth where processes play a key role.

But the biggest factor that is responsible for any company’s growth is innovation in all key areas – Creating products, marketing them, creating sales strategies, managing customers, etc.

But Sales is largely responsible for ensuring a startup moves on to the growth stage. –Yashwanth Madhusudan

What do you think? Is sales responsible for a companies growth?

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