From the Center for Strategic Relations, a twice-monthly supplement to Applying Strategic Relations, mailed at your request

Better Internal Customers

In the last lesson, you learned how the marketing convergence is now necessary and possible to achieve. In this issue, you'll see how this convergence improves internal customer relationships and your effectiveness.

Each month this newsletter covers other aspects of building business relationships, but email isn't always the best way to learn. Tele-seminars provide a great way to get answers to specific questions, and more from this newsletter.

Calls focus on resource you can use to make better decisions in your customer relationship management strategy. Since I'm so busy, and you probably are too, these calls are recorded for members who can't make the live presentation.

If you're not a member, then you'll have to attend the live call. And, that's fine because you'll get the same great value my seminar clients receive without paying for travel or even leaving your office.

The first of these calls, titled "12 Steps To The Internal Leadership Necessary For Meaningful Customer Focus", is next Friday, Oct 22 at 2:15pm EST for 45 minutes plus Q&A. If you haven't signed up for this tele-seminar or just want more information, then write customer-relations with "Seminar #CZ01" in the subject.

Ask your most important question on how to cultivate the internal leadership necessary to achieve customer focus -- I've been practicing strategic relations for near a decade now, and have plenty of actionable insights to share. Write to customer-relations with your question, include your name, and contact information, so I can get back with an answer.

Won't you join us on the call?

Download the Internal Customer Relationship Matrix mentioned in today's lesson from the member's area. Use it to identify and remove friction that's keeping from reaching the results you desire. Instructions included.

In the next lesson, you'll learn specific application for building business relationships through communications tools. You'll want to make sure your marketing leadership reads it carefully, please invite them to become readers by forwarding them this issue in its entirety.

If you're not already significantly improving customer retention, shortening your customer acquisition time, and earning more per customer, then reply with what you feel is the biggest obstacle in your way. I'm here to help.

Most sincerely,

Justin Hitt
Consultant, Author & Speaker

How To Improve Internal Customer Relationships Between Sales, Marketing, And Service Departments

By Justin Hitt, Strategic Relations Consultant,

"If they would just ..." Sales would have better leads if marketing would, there would be fewer service problems if only sales would, and marketing would attract the right customers if only sales would. Let the front lines complain, as they will, but it's a leader's responsibility to bring together sales, marketing, and service departments for the mutual execution of business objectives.

Each of these departments operates interdependently in a unique relationship of internal service. Not only are they responsible for serving the needs of outside customers, but they must work together exchanging certain information and services to achieve business objectives.

Unfortunately, the daily pressure of making numbers, miscommunications, and employee self-interest puts barbs walls between these camps. When sales, marketing, and service departments don't work together then customer relationships suffer most.

What You The Leader Must Do

If you want to lead your department effectively, then improve internal customer relationships between sales, marketing, and service by taking the following steps:

  1. Define internal customer relationships. Every member of every department should realize they have two customers, the ones they work with to serve the customers who pay the bills. Recognize that each department has independent roles in the larger company and require certain services to accomplish them. To improve internal customer relationships it takes individuals in each department focused on the same objectives, but willing to help each other.
  2. Map inner dependencies on a matrix of interactions. Be clear about what one department provides another in order to get the results expected of them. For sales to receive better leads, marketing must receive feedback on what better a lead looks like. Use an Internal Customer Relationships Matrix to outline each department's responsibilities to another and to develop a mutual picture of a customer.
  3. Check up on progress as you would outside customers. When doing something for another department it is just as important to check on satisfaction as it is when serving outside customers. Verify the solution provided was to the expectation of the recipient. Develop measurable checks and balances to insure each department provides the right level of service to another.
  4. Coordinate a Unified understanding of corporate objectives. A marketing convergence is about moving towards common corporate objectives rather than departmental level versions. With all parts of an organization working together with a clear common definition of success, fewer conflicts delay progress. Quarterly come together to align departmental goals with corporate objectives based on this understanding.
  5. Use mutual measures tied to corporate objectives. Instead of just departmental level goals, each area should contribute to larger mutually measured objectives. Sales, marketing, and service department members should discuss together what each could do to contribute to the larger corporate objectives. Reward departments for working together on these step objectives, instead of leaving them on their own.
  6. Start with frustrations faced by each team then compare assumptions and suggestions. Regularly discuss key frustrations that are limiting progress, address these points openly with focus on understanding the concerns of other departments rather than finger pointing. Later compare notes about assumptions held and suggestions of what other departments can do to improve. An open dialog catches small conflicts before they become bad habits.
  7. Work together for executives support on mutual enhancements. Executive buy-in is second most desired point to any successful customer-centric initiative, but how can executives sign up for something when sales, marketing, and service departments have conflicting objectives. With individual department roles defined, used mutual goals to focus your efforts on enhancements that improve your ability to build customer relationships.

Your sales, marketing, and service departments are three faces to your customer relationship strategy, each in a unique position to represent your organization. These areas are unique because they are constantly in contact with outside customers. Better communications between these departments means less friction and a greater consistency conveyed to buyers.

Strong leadership is necessary to bring together divided camps and move forward to build business relationships.

© 2004 JWH Consolidated LLC dba Center for Strategic Relations, All rights reserved.
/ customer-relations | management-strategy /

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Justin Hitt is a strategic relations consultant with the Center for Strategic Relations. He is available for limited consultative support of professional organizations serving other businesses. Call +1 (877) 207-3798 or visit

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