For any business, both sales and customer support are key functions which help the organization to do well. The sales team are the ones who get business for the company. They are the ones who establish the first contact with the company and get the order, which translates to revenue. Customer support, on the other hand, continues from where sales stops. The customer acquired by sales is handed over to the support team. It is the job of the support team to ensure that the customer continues to remain with the organization by providing excellent service and ensuring that all their problems are solved. Sales bring in revenue, but if the revenue has to be realized and continue, support has to pitch in.
It is obvious that sales and support must work in coordination to ensure that the business does well and more and more customers are acquired and provided great service. But is there something that the sales team can learn from their support team colleagues? Yes, there are many things that the sales team can learn from support, which will help them carry out their work more effectively. Let us look at some of the things sales can learn and implement from support.
- Don’t sell your product, offer a solution
Salesmen (and women) sell their product to the customer, the focus for them is the product. In this process, many a time, they adopt what is called the push strategy, i.e: they push the product on to the customer. Now the push strategy won’t work all the time and the customer may not like the product to be pushed at him. Here’s where sales can learn from support. The main function of support in an organization is to offer solutions to customer problems.
Sales can adopt the same approach. Instead of selling, offer a solution to the customer’s needs. Instead of making the product as the starting point, it would be worthwhile to make the customer the starting point of the sales process. The sales persons can first try to understand the customer needs and then project the product as a solution for all their needs. This is definitely a better strategy as customers would start feeling that the product solves all their problems. This helps salespersons to sell in a more effective way.
- Educate the customer
One of the jobs of the support team members is to educate the customer on various issues related to the product. The support team tells the customers how to use the product or service and educates them on features of the product and on simple ways to troubleshoot problems, so customers become empowered. A good customer service training needs to be given to the agents so that they can educated the customer. Once a customer is educated, then he is able to handle the product easily and his satisfaction level improves. The next time the customer faces the same problem, he doesn’t need to call support, he is empowered enough to solve the problem himself.
Sales can adopt this strategy effectively by educating the customer right from the time of the first interaction. Instead of just handing over brochures and listing our features, educating the customer provides greater value. Educating the customer about the product, its benefits, its use, and all related aspects would empower the customer and help him take the decision of buying the product easily. The process of educating a customer will help sales persons to understand what is in the customer’s mind and this would naturally help them to close the sale in a seamless manner.
- Measure success
Customer support measures its achievements and success. This is reported in terms of number of calls made, the time taken to respond to a call, the time taken to make the first response, the time taken to close complaints, customer service rating, etc. These are metrics that are used to measure the effectiveness of the support process. These numbers tell the support team and the management how effectively they have worked to keep the customer happy and resolve all his problems.
Sales can adopt a similar system by developing metrics to find out how effective they have been. Some of the parameters that could be used are the number of sales calls made, the time taken to respond to prospects, time taken to close the order, the rate of conversion, etc. These metrics would tell sales and the management how effective the process of converting a prospect into a customer has been. Even the sales team can take a feedback and derive a rating to ascertain if the customer is happy with the sales process.
- Report ideas to R&D
Support team members always make it a point to report ideas and suggestions to the product development or R&D division. This would help the product team to incorporate new and user-friendly features. Sales team also needs to do the same thing, whenever they interact with customers. They need to report suggestions made to the product team, so that wherever possible such suggestions can be incorporated as product features. This also helps to establish credibility in the eyes of the customer.
Sales team have definitely many things that they can learn from support and implement in their operations, which will help them to more effective.