football playbookA subtle fault line exists in organizations between senior management and their sales personnel.

I was sitting outside at Starbucks in the popular galleria area of Houston and could not help overhearing a man next to me with two phones and a tablet talking to what would appear one of his sales manager.

Lots of business people grab breaks there or after lunch coffee. Since Houston is home to the most Fortune 500 companies next to New York, and this particular Starbucks location is in the city’s prime business district, it’s common to see people working on computers or doing job interviews or what not.

So let’s hear it . . . what did you sell for me? He asked whomever was on the phone.

And here is the case study to observe:

Too many times, you have a discord between “offense” and “defense” metaphorically as in with sports.

Operations, finance, accounting, strategic management, et cetera. And then marketing and field sales.

It’s the business equivalent of a receiver scoring touchdowns saying to the defensive captain, “Come on. What are you doing for us lately?”

The smartest, most enduring senior leadership at a company know that someone has to be out on the field blocking and tackling in order for that receiver to score a touchdown. This is why you commonly see teams pursuing linemen within the first five rounds of the NFL draft.

Offense and defense get teams into playoffs.

Now relate this to the above scenario with the owner or senior level manager belittling that sales person. The company might have the best product line (awesome playbook), command market share (pack stadiums with paying ticket buyers) and have nice revenues (drive down field and score).

But if you act like a smart-Alec with the defense asking rhetorical questions—your team is not getting to the playoffs.

You cannot have one without the other.

Too many organizations, especially the bigger they are, “offense” and “defense.” It takes little to offend one another and, before long, the organization suffers from internal chaos.

External challenges are plentiful, just like on the football field. You have good teams, talented players, 300-pound defensive ends looking to light up your QB, bad weather conditions affecting your strategy.

No one needs internal disarray.

Treat the sales producers as well as any integral player on the metaphoric team and you will get more loyalty and production out of them.

On top of that, really smart sales producers can usually sell from behind a computer or on the phone with their minds as opposed to going on calls constantly. It’s efficient this way.