A good sales professional not only finds new win-win opportunities to sell additional products or services to meet the customer’s evolving needs, but also takes personal accountability as the “go to” point of reference for all issues  relating to ordering and delivery of the customer’s requirements.

The balance depends on the nature of your product or service, the buying cycle set by your customers, your organisation’s physical infrastructure (eg the presence of a dedicated customer service team), whether the Sales Exec is expected to hunt for brand new customers as well as account manage, the degree to which “service” can be handled remotely vs on customer site, the degree to which service can be dissociated from sales.

Like just about all aspects of a well tailored Sales System, there is no universal answer. Every sales organisation needs to develop its own unique solution. The main constant across any sales organisation is the need to get it right. Opportunity cost and the cost-of-sales are too high these days for any company to have its expensive Sales Exec resource spending time on the back foot reacting and responding if there are more cost effective ways to have the particular customer requirement handled.

Start by engaging the staff in the Sales and Customer Service functions in the debate. Get them to critically describe and define how the current accountabilities are split and how the various elements of sales and service are apportioned. Get them to quantify their sales and service split on a spectrum. Then get them to repeat the exercise against the backdrop of what they believe the split would look like in a realistic “blue sky” better world. Then open up the floodgates to the “how and why” debate.

What does the sales and service activity breadth look like when you analyse and debate, using a proactive-reactive-responsive differentiation? This will get the hearts and minds moving in the direction of finding a solution to a problem they (or you!!) may not have even thought exists.

Glenn Guilfoyle is the Founder and Principal of The Next Level, a specialist B2B sales consultancy. For more insights like this, check out The Next Level’s proven sales process.