The Role of Customer Support in a Winning Sales Process
⏱ Reading Time: 9 minutes
A winning sales process is not the result of one person’s work, but the teamwork that includes different departments and a thorough analysis of your current sales funnel.
Long gone are the days of company departments working independently. Nowadays, marketing, sales and customer service teams are working together in order to increase revenue.
If you’re looking at a company as a hospital then your customer support team is your diagnostician. Customer service agents deal with unsatisfied customers, potential customers who are deciding between multiple brands, and satisfied customers sharing their excitement with your service or product.
That’s why they offer a valuable look into which parts of your sales process work, and which don’t. If you’re looking to analyze your existing sales strategy, make sure to include your customer support team and their findings!
Create a Revenue Team
Your first step in creating a winning sales strategy should be to merge your sales, marketing and customer service team into a “revenue increasing team”. Seeing how they all have the same goal and some parts of their responsibilities overlap, it makes sense to combine forces.
Once you do that, you’ll realize how key players can make simple changes in specific stages of your sales process. That prevents big issues at later parts of your sales funnel. Maybe you have engaging content your marketing team prepared. The content answers a lot of questions potential customers might have about your product, but it’s not pushed by the sales team. In turn, this creates more work for your customer service team.
That’s why you need to share materials and figure out which pieces of content are best suited for different stages of the sales funnel. Remember that 70% of buying decisions happen in the research phase before a prospect ever contacts someone at sales.
Picture 1. Make changes in the sales process and prevent issues in your sales funnel
Why Do That?
That means that content truly is king and should be the focus of your sales strategy. So get to writing blogs, producing videos, making infographics. Also, engaging in influencer marketing and spreading the word about your brand!
Make sure that people get information about your products and services from you and not your competitors. Frequently add to your FAQ page and work on your brand awareness campaigns.
The best promo you can get is from satisfied customers, so make sure customer service input is relayed to your production team. If your customers are experiencing problems, or a certain feature isn’t being used in the way it’s supposed to, make changes accordingly.
Finally, besides increasing your revenue, this team should have another purpose as well. That is for your company to become an educational authority in your industry. As we already said, it’s important to answer all your potential customers’ inquiries, but you shouldn’t stop there. Make sure people in your industry know that you have the answers to all of their business-related questions.
Becoming a trusted source of information for your industry will solidify your place on the market and help you out not just when it comes to attracting new customers, but to secure repeat business and make your recruitment process easier.
Rethink Your Buyer Persona
We’re sure you created your buyer persona at the start of your business and made adjustments by the way. Or at least had it on your agenda. We won’t go into the importance of a buyer persona, however, the importance of continually working on it is often overlooked.
This is where your customer support team can come in handy. They understand the customer better than anyone else since they exclusively communicate with them. That’s why they have a great understanding of consumers who are the best fit for your business in the long run.
If you’re working with other businesses, you’ll want to know which elements of your product or service are in high demand. Also, what type of businesses are buying from you, the size of their business, growth stage, goals and more. More often than not, your customer service will know the answer to these questions! Therefore, they can help shape the best, most effective buyer persona based on real customers.
Having that customer pool to reach out to, helps your sales team focus on more promising leads which in turn shortens your sales cycle and brings in more revenue.
Picture 2. Update/tweak info about your buyer persona regularly
Having Trouble Pricing Your Services?
If you’re lost in all the different packages and offers, not sure how to structure and price them, your first step should be to ask your customer support team. They have their hand on the pulse and know the demands your clients have. Customer service know the type of people/businesses that make up most of your audience. They can help you structure your price tiers, as well as decide which features would work for specific packages.
Customers who are moving from one platform to another will openly discuss their grievances with the platform they’re leaving. That includes features, the level of communication they had with the other company, prices, and integrations.
Use all this information to create a price plan that entices potential customers, while still leaving you with profit. If you hear that a big reason for leaving is the fact that they could never get a hold of an actual person to help them with any problems they had, the solution is easy! Make sure to take every feedback into consideration and work on providing them with a warm welcome.
Every brand has a special USP that draws clients in and customer service will know the true power of that. USP is the feature potential clients ask about the most, so it will go a long way to spotlight those features and include them in all packages offered. If your pricing is vastly different from the industry standard, make sure to justify it either way. A high-end solution should provide all the features other solutions offer and more. Cheaper solutions should explain that they didn’t compromise on the quality of the product or service.
Solve Problems Before They Arise
If your customer support team is brought in at the very last stage of your sales process, then they don’t have a chance to proactively work on any potential problems your products and services might have. Which leaves them to react to them and face your unhappy customers.
Read also Outcomes of Bad Customer Service
Change that by involving them in the production stages and use their input to shape new releases. For example, if you decide to use an email platform to create automated email follow-up to your customers, make sure your customer support team gives their input to help answer questions that they know your customers have. After all, your customer support agents are oriented toward solving problems, so use them in a way that lets them shine.
Encourage your customer support agents to speak up during meetings and give their opinion on the problems they foresee arising in the near future. Getting a jump start on solving a problem before it alienates any clients is a priceless opportunity.
If your departments don’t communicate with each other, you lose out on opportunities like these since teams work on their tasks without tying them into a larger picture. So before you go making any big changes regarding your product or service, consult with your customer support team.
Win Repeat Business
According to a study, you’re more likely to sell to an existing customer, than you are to a new one. A percentage showing the likelihood of the former being 60-70% as opposed to a 5-20% for the latter.
Those numbers truly solidify the importance of customer retention and why it should be at the forefront of your sales strategy. But what does the customer support team have to do with customer retention, you may ask? Well, since they’re the ones answering customers’ inquiries and helping them solve their problems on a daily basis, it wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to say that their relationship with the customers holds significant importance.
The better their experience with customer service is, the more they’ll be inclined to keep purchasing from you or stay loyal to your service. Just like marketing, customer service brings the human element to brand-customer relationships and that’s what people look for and cherish.
The research found that clients who had a bad customer service interaction with a company are 50% more likely to share their experience on social media than those who had a good experience.
Picture 3. Try your best to solve the problem before your customers leave
Be a Team
That’s why it’s imperative to treat all clients with the same level of respect, knowing the power your service holds in the customer retention strategy. Improve that relationship by making it easy to contact you by live chat and social media. Often companies give marketing teams free rein on social media, having them answer inquiries on Facebook Messenger and other platforms that come through.
However, if someone is contacting you on Facebook messenger regarding an issue they’re experiencing with your product or service and the marketing team redirects them to an email address or a phone number, they’ll quickly lose interest to contact you further.
Give your customer support teams access to the company’s social media so that they can answer any questions directly and your customers can receive the answer as soon as possible.
Now that we’ve shared all of our tips and tricks on how to incorporate customer service into a winning sales process, let’s go over the important steps once more. Work on creating open communication between all your departments and team members.
The best way to do that is by combining the forces of your marketing, sales and customer support team. Once you have everyone on the same page and start to share resources, re-think your sales process so that it includes customer support agents from the start and use their problem-solving skills where they matter.
Petra Odak is a Chief Marketing Officer at Better Proposals, a simple yet incredibly powerful proposal software tool that helps you send high-converting, web-based business proposals in minutes. She’s a solution-oriented marketing enthusiast with more than 5 years of experience in various fields of marketing and project management.
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