Whether you’re selling a product, pushing a website, or marketing your services… all of us have three dots on our sketchpad… acquisition, execution, and retention.
For a long time, each of these dots were handled independently. We even organized our departments unique to each of the dots:
- Sales Department – for acquisition.
- Production and Operations Department – for execution.
- Customer Service Department – for retention.
The key performance indicators, budgets, bonuses and management of these dots were left to leaders who spent their entire life in their own silo. The more focused their vision and experience, the more we valued their leadership. Think about the last time you said it after the interview… ‘wow, she’s just what we need. He’s a perfect fit.
You’ve already developed an expectation on how you wish to corner the person rather than thinking about how you can expand the resource!
I’ve witnessed it first-hand and so have you! Sales works hard and bags a great customer only to lose credibility in the implementation process. At one company I worked for, the sales teams would spend months and years building relationships with the client – and then pass them off to us once the papers were signed without even a word.
Customer Service enters as an afterthought… customers are angry because expectations were never met. The Customer Service department is the MacGyver of the company, pulling together bobby pins and bubble gum to keep the customers happy (or at least keep them quiet). It’s all about retention at this point since it’s cheaper to keep them to find new ones!
Production is oblivious to it all… they think customer service is just a bunch of whiners and the sales department should just be out there selling what we have instead of what the customer needs. Pretty soon everyone is just screaming and yelling at each other because that’s the only way to do business.
The Connections Provide the Path
Working on the connections is where you need to start. The hand-off from a Sales team that has mastered the relationship to implementing the right solution in the right time frame may make all the difference and even make the real heroes of your company, the Customer Service Department, unnecessary.
If your company is destined to stay mired in departmental hierarchies that have been around since the Model-T went to market, at least provide the tools for sharing, handing off, educating, and working cross-functionally. Are you hiring leaders who know how to cross boundaries? Do they have any experience in each others’ backyard? Your customers’ success depends on it – and so does your business.
Is it any coincidence that the most massive growth in a company comes when it’s a startup? It’s not always the product or service – many times it’s the team that put it all together. Where I work, the Sales Director often helps me to review and troubleshoot client scenarios… and I meet with him daily to get a clear understanding of what prospects are looking for.
He spends most of the day with our Account Management team – getting them to understand what the clients need that he’s brought on board. Not everyone appreciates it, but I sure do! Tonight my CEO manned the support phones and was stuck with one of our more typical support calls. That experience is invaluable to ME as the Director of Technology since he’s personally witnessed the situation.
I’m not sure I’ll be around when we stop getting in each others’ business. I love working for a small company and love the fact that our teams are so tight. We don’t care about territory – simply success.
Even on the Web
Your web strategies should be no different! When someone new comes to your site, how do you greet them? With a smile and a clearly marked menu system? Or with a page full of ads and no noticeable navigation to provide them a path to what they need? Is there a path for them to find you? Is every page of your blog a landing page? You do realize the majority of people that happen across your site don’t get there via the home page, don’t you?
Is your Production Department (writing content) focusing on who’s coming and who’s leaving your site? Connect the dots and you’ll acquire more customers, better customers, customers with accurate expectations… and customers who stick around!