Companies that want to achieve a high Net Promoter Score should ask themselves one key question: are your sales reps truly trying to help prospects, or are they only trying to help themselves? Customers form their first and most lasting impression of your company during the very first sales conversation. They more sales reps act as advocates from the get-go, the more customers you’ll get, and the more customers you will keep.
That’s why we are witnessing an increasingly symbiotic relationship between customer service and sales teams, and the most successful companies are taking action. Here are four lessons your sales team can learn from customer service that will not only help them close more deals, but also create a loyal base of customers.
Have you ever had the experience of purchasing an item—perhaps a new car—that felt like a chess match with a salesperson? There’s no reason buying should feel adversarial. Instead salespeople should be completely focused on solving their customers’ problems.
How do you feel when you go into an Apple store? I find myself stopping by even when my next purchase is months away. It’s the most low-pressure sales environment on the planet, and that has everything to do with the attitude of the sales reps, who are there to educate, inform and help.
So instead of simply launching into a sales pitch, try to get underneath the business drivers and discover how (or even if) your offerings can help that customer succeed. Much like customer service agents, today’s best sales reps are working with, rather than against, their prospects to solve complex problems.
The greatest customer service agents add additional value by making customers aware of pain points they didn’t even know they had. Perhaps you’ve heard a customer service agent ask,“Did you know that you can also…” in order to highlight additional value you can get out of an offering. It’s an effective way to express to customers that there is a lot of untapped value in your product.
By contrast, sales reps tend to only ask this question when they are trying to qualify or upsell. Sales reps and customer service agents can both add tremendous value by unearthing customers’ hidden pain points. By truly understanding their customers, sales reps can know which products and features will make those customers most successful.
Without a doubt, one of the most important additions to our sales team has been our Director of Customer Success—a role that lives at the intersection of sales and customer support. In order to maximize customer advocacy, retention and contract renewals, our Customer Success Director keeps in close contact with customers, helping to ensure that our product is not only solving their pain points, but also fueling growth.
Depending on your business model, your customer lifetime value (CLV) can hinge on a variety of factors, including repeat purchases and customer retention. The secret to both is ensuring that customer requests and ideas get baked into the product. Your customer service team is already doing this—why aren’t you? In my experience, the freshest customer ideas and requests come up during product demos and early sales conversations. Report those back to your product team to not only build a better product, but also increase customer retention and repeat purchases.
Howard Brown is Founder & CEO of RingDNA. RingDNA’s inside sales solution maximizes sales performance and is 100 percent built for Salesforce customers.
Learn more about creating a customer service process that enhances your bottom line at salesforce.com, or download the free e-book.