Sales vs Operations

I have written about this so many times that it really starts to exhaust me. However, the message still hasn’t completely permeated our industry. We still find ourselves at a standoff between your sales people and your clinical or operational staff. Note, this is not a problem that just exists in the senior care industry, but is commonly found throughout companies who manage both a sales team and a product delivery team.

I like to imagine a movie-esque stare down between rival gangs. Not unlike the 80’s movie “The Outsiders.”

The idea that – A) We will never get along – and – B) We are always ready to fight – is what I see just under the surface. Personality types that succeed in these various positions are often to blame, but this idea that there will never be harmony is totally false. Especially throughout our industry.

If you are in sales or operations, you share one key aspect. You are providing much needed care to exactly the demographic that needs it most. Operations has an important role to play and NO PATIENTS or CLIENTS WOULD GET CARE without them. That is a fact. However, sales has an important role too. Without them educating your referral sources, you have to hope that your agency’s name will come up in the “rotation” or that you’ve done a good enough job to drive referrals in the past (even though your competitors are talking to your referral sources every week).

So, why the division? I eluded to it previously. Personalities.

Generally, sales people are more outgoing, talkative, and motivated for success. These are all good qualities and many are shared with operations. Operations, on the other hand, is often focused on the details, preparation, and completion of tasks to ensure smooth…well…operation. While both parties can share some of the same qualities, they often have different levels of priority for each.

They will often find themselves at odds with one another and even feel like enemies, but that doesn’t have to be the case. It shouldn’t be the case. You know why? Your patients. There is a need for harmony for the simple fact that what you do actually impacts lives and patients can go without care due to this strife.

Somebody’s mother, grandma, spouse, or best friend needs help and you have an opportunity to do exactly that. There is no doubt that sometimes, sales and/or operations will get on your very last nerve. You’ll find yourself just trying to complete the job, but not finding the support you need. That’s where communication becomes paramount.

If you are an agency that does not have “managers” or “directors” due to your size, then you’ll have to step up and start having these conversations with your team. Care comes first, but sales needs to drive patients for care.

Here is my challenge to you.

Sales or Operations: Invite your “difficult” or “problem” counterpart to a cup of coffee or a bagel. Make conversation light and try to get yourself fixed in their shoes. Ask the question: “How can I help you more when we work together?” Listen to the answer and try to do that. Then, wait a week (while doing their suggestion) and present issues you need their help with over another cup of coffee. You might find that the issues go away when you fix the issues they have with you…

Let’s work together to get more patients the care they need!

On a related note: You’ve no doubt had your operations team slogging through training on PDGM for the past 8 months in preparation, but is your sales team ready and confident that they will be driving the “right” patients from their referral sources? With just 90 Minutes, we can help! Check it out here:

– Jason


About the Author:

Jason Lewallen is Vice President of Marketing

for Home Care Sales

He can be reached at:


Phone: 615.815.7907


PS: Might want to consider…

If you are a home health, hospice, or private duty agency who struggles with:

  • educating your referral sources
  • not having professional handouts with the correct clinical/treatment info
  • not knowing what to say to drive referrals
  • not having time to train your sales team about diagnosis specific info

…then the 52 Wk Roadmap to Referrals program is the answer you have been looking for. Agencies are using this methodology to gain more referrals and position their entire sales team as experts.

It’s a plan for every week of the year and can lead to double and triple the referrals you are currently getting. The investment is a mere $500 per month. That’s less than a fraction of a referral!

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