November 8, 2011


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With the right trio you can do wonders. A service business needs this team:
  1. a salesperson
  2. a technician
  3. a marketer
If you're working solo, you may be able to outsource what you do poorly (or disdain). In some situations, you might need a larger team at the outset or as the business grows.

Who Matters Most?

A car needs an engine, an interior and brakes. Each element matters but the relative importance keeps changing. Your prospects will vary in what they value. For example,  spelling mistakes could go unnoticed or quash a deal.

Since each team member contributes differently, you can’t tell if everyone is contributing their fair share? If you agree that 1+1+1 > 3, a simple solution is to equally divide the revenue after expenses.

The Salesperson

The salesperson finds the prospects, follows up and closes the sales. Here, we'll say the salesperson also provides the ongoing service since that's also a form of additional sales and referrals.

The salesperson is the toughest to replace. This may lead to some arrogance about who is most important on the team. This may be the main reason why the other two want to join the team.

A salesperson may be better at talking and promising than delivering. The other team members can offset those tendencies.

The Technician

The technician does the actual work in an error-free way that is compliant with the relevant rules and regulations. I’ve primarily worked with accountants, lawyers and actuaries. Since change is relentless, the technician must stay current and avoid biases about what is "right" for the client.

In the past, technicians were essential. Nowadays, they can often be replaced or their work outsourced. You could even have a stable of external suppliers. Going outside lets you to scale up your business since the technician is often the bottleneck. However, having an internal technician gives more consistency and helps keep your "secret sauce" private. As the business grows, the technician could review the work that gets outsourced.

The risk of financial innovation. Click to read.To show their importance (and justify their cost), technicians may add complexity and downplay risk when innovating. They may be unwilling to admit mistakes.

The Marketer

In the past, the marketer was not deemed necessary in a team. However, expectations have changed. There's a greater need for polish and continual visibility online using today's tools.

You could look at Steve Jobs as primarily a marketer and what Malcolm Gladwell calls a “tweaker”.

Marketing isn't finished when the website goes live and the business cards have been printed. Marketing evolves. Refinements may be needed after meetings with the initial 5-10 prospects take place. This is why having a marketer on the team is more effective than outsourcing.

Since what the marketer does is intangible, it's difficult to see a direct connection with sales. Also, the marketing works is done in the beginning and can easily get taken for granted when the sales start.


There is overlap among team members and their roles. The specifics will depend on the actual people. The marketer refines the positioning, which helps the salesperson setup meetings. The salesperson and marketer help simplify the technician's content, which helps close deals.

The role of each member may not be valued equally, but each matters. As long as there are sales, that might be enough.


PS When disagreements arise, a trio always has a tiebreaker.

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