Managing The Battle Between Sales and Service

The movie Billy Madison has got to be one of my all-time favorites, scene after scene has some of the best and most memorable comedy moments.  I was watching this the other day and caught the “Shampoo and Conditioner” scene.  I laughed out loud not due to the silliness of Adam Sandler’s performance but to the simplicity of a potential lesson here.  

How many times have you had sales people struggle to connect with their internal partners?  I’m sure the answer for most of you would be “Too many to count”.  Not being able to properly manage your internal partners can spill over into many areas of the business and can create a lot of managerial headaches.  The common term for this is a “Silo Effect” where each department only focuses on their own objectives and needs.  The reality here though is that all areas of the business need to function as a unit in order to succeed.  Each department with their own objectives find themselves only willing to focus on their own world and not the overall contribution to the end result.  What you get is tension, low morale and mediocre production.

This Sales vs. Service battle has been going on forever.  Even with all the tools available today we still find ourselves having to manage the personalities that create these environments.  Believe it or not it is an easy fix and can be easy to manage.  It can also help build confidence in your individual team members that you are looking to make into future leaders.   Most departments will have their own organizational structure, management and objectives.  All these departments need to work together for the company’s overall success.    Here are a few tips to bridge the gap between yourself and your internal teams.

  1. Show that you care about their success:  Understand their process, learn more about the tasks they are responsible for and the skill it takes to complete those tasks.  When it’s crunch time offer to help them, its all about building trust.  Remember, they are your support team and the nuts and bolts of your product.  If you genuinely want to be a part of their success they will want to be a part of yours.
  2. Share Resources and Fill Gaps:  If you are helping each other stream line the process and supporting each others weak areas you will both get ahead together.  It’s about building value and if your support team is a part of that your product will be that much stronger to the end user.
  3. Participate in each others projects:  We all want to feel part of and contribute to something creative.  If your project allows it involve your support team.  Make them part of what ever it is you are doing well and are proud of, share in the recognition.  Trust me it will go a long way.
  4. Build a strong external image:  Depending on your industry your support team might be a customer facing partner.  It’s important that your customer has a positive perception and that everyone takes ownership when problems arise.  It can be real easy to play the blame game and fall back to sqare one when these problems occur.  Stay positive and champion your support teams.  Work together to rectify and fix any perception issues.  They will appreciate it and so will your customers. 
  5. Praise, Praise, Praise:  Make sure that the efforts of your support team get noticed.  Their career goals are no less lofty than yours, appreciate that and run with it.  Say positive things to their boss and their peers.  Again, it’s about building value and if your support team feels valued it will pay dividends.

Happy Selling!