the-it-crowd Image: BagoGames

The sales and IT departments are often parodied in films and television as a few worlds apart. Take for instance the popular show The IT Crowd, which depicts the IT department as socially awkward and banished to the basement whilst the glamourous sales teams are placed at the top of the building along with the managers and CEO. The stereotype is that sales come to IT as a very last resort, but in reality is this really true?

Earlier this year RingCentral partnered with Censuswide to conduct a survey of 500 sales professionals to find out exactly how much they value their IT department. Contrary to stereotypes, we found 80% of sales professionals believe that software installed by IT has made it easier for them to make a sale.

In recent times, the transformation of the workplace has been a big help to salespeople on the move. For instance, unified communications systems have enabled sales representatives to stay in contact and access internal file systems whilst out of the office. The amount of time previously wasted when travelling between meetings has been greatly reduced because of this trend.

Remote demonstration tools are another important piece of software that benefits sales teams. By demonstrating a product over the phone or web, it saves time and travel by providing a means to connect with an audience anywhere in the world just using an Internet connection. This saves not only sales expenses but time lost on the road as well.

At the same time, CRM tools have also become evermore essential to sales kits. Their basic functionality allows staff to quickly pull up a customer's details at the touch of a button. Simply viewing past conversations and customer preferences instantly and reliably makes retargeting and engagement a much more manageable task for salespeople.

If you factor all of this in it’s easy to see why the IT team is so invaluable to sales staff. In order for this dynamic to work, IT teams need honest feedback from their sales staff when trialling new products and technology. It is essential all involved have some level of buy in so the right equipment is implemented. It is a two way street, and a relationship based on trust is essential.

We always suspected that sales teams truly love and value their IT departments, and now we know this to be true, we should continue to reinforce that relationship. Ultimately, it’s up to business owners to ensure that in the future the two teams really know how to utilise each other to the best of their ability, and make sure your IT crowd doesn’t get left in the basement.

By Sahil Rekhi, EMEA managing director, RingCentral