Should technology development report into sales?

This is a big and serious question.  At big, commission driven organizations sales is king.  Innovation and applications are driven by those that earn money because they are the ones that drive the business.  But can technology succeed in this type of environment?  If it’s tried and doesn’t work, is it the fault of technology or the fault of the business structure?

With several years of experience and observation in several models I’ve come to the conclusion that sales and technology development are incompatible concepts.  A sales leader does not have the focus to give a technology development organization the detailed consistency that they need to be successful.

By its very nature sales is an area that changes regularly – often daily.  Sales is responsible for meeting with lots of clients that has lots of different needs and requirements.  Every day they get new information and see new opportunities for improvement.  That information funnel is too much for a technology development team.  They get overwhelmed by the information input stream.

Technology development is a process that requires months of consistent focus.  Any new application requires 1 to 6 to 12+ months to design, build and release.  Too many changes during that release schedule leads to extra costs, schedule increases, developer frustrations, sales frustrations, and ultimately an application that doesn’t resolve the core issues that were meant to be addressed at the outset.

Yes, there is a connection between sales and technology development that must be maintained.  Sales has visibility to where the market is headed and what clients need.  But the information feed between the two needs to be filtered and managed.

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