In many companies, in practice, it’s no longer just sales which sells. The reason? Well, in most industries and business models, service and back office staff have a much higher customer contact count than sales staff. Therefore, they usually learn much more frequently and faster about innovations or information important for sales.
How do you get the sales and service departments to work together more intensively for the same goal (namely: selling)? One possible approach, which has proven itself many times in my consulting work, is the model “9 Levels of Value Systems”. 9 Levels is an analysis tool that can measure the current situation of teams, companies and individuals as well as their value systems. The big asset of the model is that it generates an understanding of people and their thinking and acting. Because harmonizing service and sales has a lot to do with understanding the other one.
The 9 Levels model is a value meta-model, a development model for personality development and the evolution of organizations and cultures. It captures and analyzes the fundamental and action-critical values that define the mindsets and behaviors of people, departments, and organizations – in our case those of service agents and sales people. For better clarity, it works with a color system.
The salesmen in German companies are predominantly red or orange: they are extroverted and open to new ideas. Many service and office workers, however, are blue: they like to stick to the tried and tested, because they find themselves in a very strong process-driven work. If both sides stick to their behavior and fail to understand the other one, conflicts are inevitable and sales goals can not be achieved. Training in medium-sized companies therefore often involves arousing an understanding of the ‘blue’ orientation in the ‘orange’ from sales. The different employees do not all have to like each other, but they need to know how everyone is ticking and understand each other. 9 Levels helps analyzing the current situation, raises one’s understanding of each other’s situation, and indicates the next steps.
These can be, for example: A clear definition of the task sharing and the roles in the collaboration, the creation of common objectives, strengthening customer loyalty through the creation of an active aftersales service, the establishment of a key account management in the office and the harmonization of the incentive systems of the back office, service and sales in order to achieve common goals. Usually, these measures can be used to successfully achieve an efficient cooperation of office staff, service and sales.
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