Businesses are making a critical mistake. They prioritise generating sales over nurturing loyal customer relationships. Yet, sales and customer service teams should be a natural fit. So this short-term strategy isn’t realistic for today’s competitive world. Instead, you must get both teams working together to create successful customer interactions. Start moving your company forward today. Read on to discover 8 ways to align sales and customer service teams and start accelerating growth.
In this article, we explore:
- Sales & Customer Service: What’s the difference?
- Why do Sales and Customer Service Teams struggle to align?
- Importance of alignment between Sales and Customer Service
- 8 ways to align Sales & Customer Service
What are the Differences between Sales & Customer Service?
The main difference between sales and customer service is where the customer comes in. Traditionally, Sales is the concept of trying to sell a product to a person. Whereas Customer Service is there to answer any questions prospects and customers may have and to help them with anything else they may enquire about.
However, modern sales teams can no longer afford to function in this manner. Sales are no longer transactional only. Successful selling involves building and leveraging customer relationships at every stage of the sales pipeline.
Why Alignment is Essential Between Sales and Customer Service
When companies don’t align sales and customer service, opportunities, deals, ideas and valuable data get lost in the cracks. Recent studies on misalignment across companies of various sizes show up to 60-70% of resources go to waste. In simple terms, a lot of lost revenue because teams don’t communicate well (or enough.) Something that isn’t acceptable anymore in a digital-first world.
Let’s take a closer look at how alignment benefits both departments:
How Sales Benefits Customer Service
The great thing about aligning sales and customer service? The result for the customer. Not only does an increase in information help streamline processes. It also builds brand credibility and makes the customer a part of the conversation.
One of the most significant benefits sales gives to customer service is valuable and insightful customer data. This helps break down information silos, keeping customer service in the know and aware of potential issues. Overall, allowing customer service to maintain thriving and profitable customer relationships better.
How Customer Service Benefits Sales
While excellent customer service usually comes after the sale, it’s also key to developing happy, satisfied, loyal and repeat customers. Loyal customers are essential to maintaining business simply because it’s cost-effective. Attracting new customers is costly, sometimes 5-25 times more than nurturing an existing customer.
So if your customer service team can maintain reasonable customer retention rates, your customers will likely spend a whopping 67% more than those new to you and your value. In turn, this helps to produce recurring revenue. In other words, a portion of income you can expect to continue, making business activities predictable and stable. Something businesses always need!
Why Do Sales and Customer Service Teams Struggle to Align?
It’s no secret that sales and customer service clash sometimes. The problem begins when sales reps feel pressured to make any deal, regardless of its quality—ultimately filling up the pipeline with clients who are like square pegs in a round hole.
Now, the customer service team has to spend a lot of time letting down poorly qualified customers. Not only does this cause unnecessary friction, but the deeper problem with this is that the customers’ needs or wants haven’t been considered.
On the whole, to provide your customers with an exceptional experience, sales and customer service need to understand, value and support each other.
8 Ways to Align Sales & Customer Service
The real secret to success in business today is creating a great customer experience every step of the way. Now, a lot of salespeople may be thinking, well, “I’ve made my sale, delivered our promise and now I’m onto the next one, what more is there to consider?”
Well, success continues long after the sale. However, to see the benefits, you need to align sales & customer service – but how do you do that? Below are eight ways to align sales and customer service teams.
1. Know your Customer
The first way to align sales and customer service is to map your customer journey and establish a customer persona. Whilst they may have completed these separately before -this exercise is an excellent way to unite both departments by creating a great customer experience together. Additionally, having a customer profile will aid everyone in knowing precisely who your ideal customers are. More so, seeing them as real people, not just figures.
2. Meet Regularly
Similarly to anything in life, if you want something to work, you have to practice commitment and consistency. So help your opposing departments to unite and collaborate with regular meetings. Regardless of whether they’re virtual or in-person, you need to make time to meet.
3. Integrate Technology into your Process
Collaborative tools are vital for the alignment of your customer service and sales teams. Therefore you should consider what sort of software you can integrate into your operation to make collaboration seamless. Often, there is a technology solution for every budget. So really, there’s no excuse for your customers to feel as if they’re working with two different businesses when being passed from sales to customer service.
4. Create a Feedback Loop
It’s often easier to say “we should not have signed that customer!” instead of saying, “I think we need to establish clearer expectations before signing this customer.” However, since both customer support and sales teams keep data and analytics about the buyer’s journey. Your customer service team knows the problems customers have during onboarding and sales teams know the problems they’re trying to solve with your solution, so both departments can use this information in tandem to fine-tune every aspect of the customer journey. This will also allow both departments to be aware of how each other contributes to the team’s success.
5. Consistent Brand Messaging
Your customers expect a flawless experience regardless of what’s going on internally. Their experience of your brand needs to be consistent across all departments.
6. Train Customer Service in the Sales Process
Your customer service team should understand the customers’ journey. Right from the beginning of the sales process to the end. If your sales team encounter any issues that could impact the future relationship between a customer and your customer service team. Ensure to discuss it with both teams as soon as possible so there aren’t any future surprises.
7. Cross-training Sessions
Sometimes, perspective is everything. Having departments sit in on each other’s daily activities is beneficial. Not only does it help teams get to know each other closer, but it also allows a unique insight into each team’s challenges. Particularly how this has a ricochet effect on one another.
For example, your sales team will understand how to realign their approach if they sit in on a customer service call. By doing so, they see the consequences of creating customer expectations that the business can’t meet.
8. Prioritise Customer Retention
Here’s a telling statistic – your odds of selling to an existing customer are between 60-70%. For new customers, that figure drops to 5-20%. For this reason, you need to focus on adding value rather than just selling products or services. Therefore, if you start to mould your businesses into a customer-focused one, you’ll retain more customers and make it easier for sales teams to meet targets. Ultimately, by maintaining a focus on the customer – rather than the sale itself – your revenue per customer should steadily increase.
Final word: How to Align Sales & Customer Service
You will see synergy in your sales operation by taking the time and attention to detail to align your sales and customer service teams. More so, you’ll keep customer satisfaction and customer success at the focus of your business. Thus creating and retaining loyal customers who know and feel you value them.
- 6 Reasons Why The Customer Is NOT Always Right
- 10 Key Principles of Achieving Customer Service Excellence
- 8 Vital Customer Service Skills You Need To Have In 2021
Superior Service: Deliver Outstanding Customer Experiences
Superior Service equips participants with the knowledge and application skills to have a positive attitude, go beyond basic customer service, and exceed customers’ expectations with exceptional service.
Through strong content, highly interactive and industry-specific activities, group discussions, role plays, case studies, engaging videos and Q&A, participants will learn how to solve the most demanding customer service challenges and use service as a differentiator.
Don’t just take our word for it. See what others are saying!
“We recently had Tom conduct a virtual external Sales Training Program for our entire commercial organization at Carousell Group for our different brands in 5 countries.
Tom shared great insights on consultative selling and needs analysis to win new customers. He energized and fuelled our sales & trade marketing teams to apply the concepts they learned into their day to day interactions with customers. Throughout the session, all 200+ attendees were fully engaged and inspired to apply the concepts shared into their interactions with clients.
At the core of Carousell, we constantly raise the bar, growing and inspiring one another. Thank you Tom for helping us raise the bar. “– Vishal Salunkhe | Head of Sales Operations & Enablement Carousell