Traditionally, the success of a sales agent has pivoted on making “the sale” — landing that top-dollar deal with that big-name client. However, much has changed in the modern sales landscape. Customer experience is king — and it’s your responsibility as a sales leader to make sure your customers and prospects have a fantastic experience with your brand before, during, and after your team closes deals.
As John Goodman, VP of Customer Care Measurement & Consulting LLC, has written: “Quality service is a vital part of developing a positive brand image.” And in the age of customer experience, a positive brand image might be what sets your company apart from competitors.
What’s more, all the departments in your company (sales, service, customer support, marketing, product development) want the same thing — success and revenue. However, to achieve those goals they must all be on the same team. The time has come for sales leaders to take on a new responsibility: align sales with cross-organizational departments to deliver the high-quality service customers today expect, no matter where they are in the sales cycle.
Sales leaders can work to improve the customer experience by tearing down company silos and aligning sales and service to better connect to future and current customers. Not only will this drive more revenue, but it will transform your sales department into one ready to take on challenges presented by the modern sales landscape.
Tearing Down the Silos in Your Company
One of the biggest problems with growing companies today is that sales work in a silo separate from other departments. In order to deliver a truly cohesive customer experience and drive sales success in today’s world, internal departments must be on the same team. Lead generation expert Alex Shipillo of Influitive writes: “All too often, organizational silos prevent the flow of information between various departments within a business, even those with closely aligned interests. Silos between sales, marketing, care, and customer engagement teams can be detrimental to both the business and the overall customer experience.” Instead, work to foster communication between your business units so that everyone is working towards the same goals and in support of each other.
Entire Customer Experience
It’s critical that your sales team understands that their role is vital to the entire customer experience and lifecycle — not just a part of the company that functions as a revenue generator. What’s more, as customers expect personalized, fast service, sales have to work harder for revenue and customer satisfaction than ever before. As you work to make your team a complementary component of a more cohesive, beneficial customer experience, not only will more of your customers come back and refer eligible businesses to help create new revenue, but scaling business up and down will be much easier.
Bob Armour of serVelocity provides four tips to foster stronger collaboration between the departments in your company:
#1 Agree on your product offerings.
While this may seem basic, it’s important that everyone across your organization agrees on your product and service offerings. Included in this is that everyone shares the same business benefits, timeline, and pricing for your solutions with your customers and prospects.
#2 Define your opportunity engagement model.
Make sure your process for closing sales and engaging members of teams across your company is consistent and that everyone sticks to it. Doing so is important for a seamless customer experience, as well as good rapport between your business units.
#3 Set proper expectations for customer experience.
Again, making sure everyone is on the same page as far as expectations is key. It’s your job to make sure your sales team isn’t making promises that your service agents can’t actually deliver. Hold monthly or quarterly “level-set” meetings to make sure customer expectations are being properly set and met.
#4 Don’t short-change your service team’s value.
Before your sales team ever enters into an agreement with a customer, they should be making sure that the customer understands the long-term costs associated with the solution. The customer should fully understand the value they’re agreeing to pay for and the service experience they’ll receive over the months or years — and it’s your sales team’s job to show them this value.
The days of your sales reps making a sale and moving on to the next opportunity are over. To connect with customers and keep generating revenue, you have to connect your department with the others in your company, too.