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Balancing Service and Sales

The great migration of the broader workforce to a remote work reality has created boundless opportunities for partners in the form of additional revenue streams. It has also impacted how they allocate time to different business functions. Particularly with smaller channel partners where founders and executives have to wear many different hats, it’s already difficult enough to find enough hours in the day for sales, marketing, customer support, and back-office operations. 

During times of crisis and massive disruptive shifts like the pandemic ushered in, time becomes even more of a precious resource. 

In a recent Allbound and JS Group survey, 45% of respondents said that the time they invested in servicing existing clients during the pandemic increased exponentially. So much so that it got to a point where they were struggling to keep up with maintaining new sales or onboarding activities at the levels they were pre-pandemic. This can have short- and long-term consequences, primarily when it hits businesses in the books.

“At times when there is some sort of critical need, there is the potential for relationships to be deepened or damaged,” says Peter Horewitch, president, Common Knowledge Technology. “During the pandemic I saw companies, big and small, either rise to the occasion or flounder. In turn, their relationships either benefited or suffered. It is all about the ability to pivot. Those who had invested in technology had a much greater ability to pivot and deal with the challenges in front of them and leverage their time.”

Growing a business has had a few wrenches thrown in recently, but it’s not impossible. The problem now is that serving new customers and increasing the size of current contracts requires larger teams and more resources, so operating expenses often are prioritized ahead of net-new revenues. (Which isn’t ideal.) If you are at this stage, there is an essential element to take a step back and evaluate.

45% of respondents said

Doing More with the Same

The name of the game is scaling. You start with a few players, and with your eye on the top line, you increase contracts while keeping your revenue ahead of your operating costs. (Oh, and you should probably recruit and retain the talent that will enable you to do these things.) Sounds simple enough on paper, but for the reasons already outlined, things have gotten a bit more complicated thanks to a little thing called the pandemic. 

So, how can you readjust and rewire?

Think of it this way. Growth is about increasing revenues, but scaling requires you to do more with a fixed set of resources. The goal is to create more time so that you can maintain acceptable service levels while also bringing in new business.

Here’s where automated processes and platforms, change management strategies, clear workflows, and data-driven operations can let businesses do more with less time. Even back in 2020, this digital transformation initiative was described by Forrester as a business imperative.

“Given today’s talent challenges, investing in automation is more important than ever,” says Horewitch. “Most businesses can grow without additional labor if they are able to leverage automation. You can automate almost anything that is a repeatable task, and the cost of setting up the automation continues to decrease.”

Automating onboarding processes is also a game changer. It leverages time and resources so you can better maintain these activities. It has the added benefit of making it easier for your clients to complete on their own schedule; it’s easier to watch a video or click through a form on your own time than it is to find room on your calendar.

Modern onboarding modules, sales enablement, pipeline management and clear communication and collaboration across stakeholders is key

The Bottom Line

To address the future head on, businesses will need to fully get on board with an automation fabric to fuel extreme innovation. In addition, modern onboarding modules, sales enablement, pipeline management, and clear communication and collaboration across stakeholders is key to maintaining sales and new customer onboarding activity during times of upheaval. 

“First you have to sharpen the saw,” says Joshua Liberman, president, Net Sciences, Inc. “Make sure your existing practices are honed and your automation is reliable. Then develop strategies to manage your clients’ newly distributed workforce.”

Liberman says to then find force multipliers for your marketing, sales, and onboarding efforts.  Consider recording an online session with a great client so that you can market by showing how easy it is to set up secure remote access, or perhaps create a video of you working to onboard your next client. Once again, both do and sell in the same process.


  • Apply simplification, automation or process improvements. Wherever you see an inefficient process, think about how it can be tweaked in a way that enables you to do more with the same resources. 
  • Moving forward, businesses must focus on automation to levels that will stretch their creativity and optimize staff. This will quickly become the new X factor for shops that want to stand out.
  • Create process-driven, metrics-focused activities. Make sure your existing practices are honed and your automation is reliable. Then develop strategies to manage your clients’ newly distributed workforce.
Ali Spiric
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