“I Hate the Sales Force!”
Let’s use a hypothetical situation, such as the gulf between the engineers and the sales group in a technology company, to dramatize the definitions of Core and Context. For the senior network engineers, the technology is Core. Customer expectation, the implementation environment, time frames, and so forth are all context. The sales team’s Core is the environment, timeframes, customer expectation, and so forth. So the Core for the sales team is the context for the network engineers.
The engineers despise (maybe distrust is a better word?) salesmen because salesmen always over-promise. The sales team is annoyed by the engineers because they are always saying something cannot be done…meaning it cannot be done in that environment, in that timeframe, and to meet the customer’s expectations. But the engineers must eventually accommodate the fact that until a sale is made, nothing happens…the engineer cannot install and support an elegant technology solution until a customer has ordered it. The sales person must also understand and accommodate the engineer’s core responsibility, and sell something that can actually be implemented and supported by the engineer.
Is there a solution to the salesman/engineer dilemma? How does one side develop empathy for the other’s position? Would it help to teach the salespeople more about the technology so they do not over-promise and put the engineers in a conundrum? Perhaps we could teach the engineers a little about the sales process so they will be able to influence the contract and thereby contribute to the successful implementation.