What percent of your company is represented by your sales force? If it took you more than an instant to answer, you might want to rethink the way your company represents itself. The answer is always 100 percent. All employees have a stake in the company's profitability, so it makes sense for everyone to think of themselves as a company ambassador.
Many successful companies provide every employee with basic sales training because every contact with the public is another chance at raising brand awareness and expanding lead development.
What deserves increased attention is sales motivation and training for the customer support agents. These employees have the most chances per day to turn existing customers into repeat customers with a larger than average order size. A great customer experience has the potential to seriously reduce churn, turning angry detractors into dedicated fans.
Include Customer Service in Sales Competitions
Competitions drive sales. This has always been true, but technology is reintroducing this concept through sales gamification. Traditional methods like cash prizes and bonuses assume that reps are only financially motivated. Our own research shows that the desire to win is the number one driver of sales performance, above even financial incentives. What works for sales can be just as effective for customer service agents. In addition, including them in your next competition has many side benefits. It increases the probability of higher sales and brings together two departments that have traditionally been at odds over their conflicting priorities.
Align the Goals of Sales and Service
When competition is high, churn becomes enemy number one. Inc. Magazine examined what it takes to win back departing customers, starting with a mixture of customer service and sales techniques to determine the story behind the story. If the goal of sales is just to fill the sales leaderboards, and the goal of customer service is to shorten talk times, churn will be the inevitable result. It's up to leadership to align their incentives with the goals of the company: reducing the cost of sales and increasing overall revenue. Reaching those goals requires a stable pool of satisfied customers who promote the company on their own time.
Treat Customer Support like a Profit Centre
The best reason to train customer service in sales techniques is that, as CIO magazine recently pointed out, "the most profitable deals come from existing customers." The battlefield in modern sales has shifted from market share to wallet share. What that means is that winning brands are those that customers see as an integral part of their lives. This really calls for a different way of thinking about customer service and begins at the top. What companies have done to ease the transition includes the use of gamification for changing incentives and natural-language sales scripts that customer service reps can use on a daily basis.
Sales in the New Customer Experience
In the old days, marketing would find new leads, sales would make the deals then customer support would follow through. Today, customers have evolved. They see the entire organization as one unit and sales as the entry point of the customer experience. This new way of thinking begins by aligning the goals of sales and customer service. Including customer service in sales competitions can work as the lynchpin of that new sales-centered organization.