In organizations that have separate product and service sales teams, the CEO and sales executives often assume these groups collaborate closely. That would be the logical way to grow sales and maximize the value of every customer. Yet at many firms, the two groups have evolved separately and operate with separate systems and processes, often with spotty collaboration.
Executives at one technology provider heard from customers about disjointed sales approaches, despite reassurances from the sales staff that they went to market with one voice. The company decided to diagnose whether it had an organizational gap, using Microsoft’s Workplace Analytics software. The chart depicts the intensity of sales staff relationships, as represented by the amount of email traffic between individuals. It clearly shows how little communication was occurring between the two groups. Separate analysis found that more than half of the largest service accounts also bought products, suggesting a major revenue opportunity and a chance to create a better customer experience.
The company is now moving to common processes and systems, such as joint planning for the largest accounts, and integrating sales operations to one team. Early efforts have uncovered significant opportunities at many major accounts.
Jamie Cleghorn and Mark Kovac are partners in Bain & Company’s Customer Strategy & Marketing practice, and Kovac leads the firm’s Commercial Excellence work. They are based, respectively, in Chicago and Dallas.