Let’s take this back to sales. You’ve broken down the sales silo. You’ve bridged the gap between marketing and sales, and sales and service. You’ve participated in developing a brand experience that each of these departments agrees upon. What’s next? Making sure your sales reps are ready for the switch from hitting sales numbers to collaborating across departments to deliver consistent messaging and customer service. This will require coaching, and perhaps the creation of a new customer experience strategy playbook.
Getting Your Sales Department Up to Speed
As you bring your internal sales agents up to speed on new customer-centric processes and goals, you must also ensure that all of your third-party vendors fully understand and are part of the transformation. See that everyone who interfaces with customers on your company’s behalf does so with a unified front, even if they aren’t in-house.
Jason Hutcheson of Iconic points out that every, “message that is sent out [to customers] helps, hurts, or confuses brand identity in your target market’s mind.”
Vendors & Outsourced Staff
If vendors such as contact centers are part of your sales department, work to integrate your overall company customer experience strategy into the training of that outsourced staff. Additionally, service teams are also frequently outsourced. Work with service management to give all third party-vendors the same training and customer experience guidelines.
Technology & Transparent Communication
As well as getting every sales team member up to speed with new processes, you need the technology to back up your efforts. Ensure everyone at your company — both internal and external resources — is working in the same CRM or with the same customer database technology. As leads come in to marketing, pass through the sales team, and are then handed to service, all communication should be transparent across teams to ensure the customer experience is as smooth as possible. As a sales leader, use your pull to integrate the technology used across departments so you can ensure your own team’s success, as well as company-wide success.
Using Customer Service Feedback to Make Continual Process Improvements
As your sales team plays a part in these company-wide changes to improve your customer experience, be sure you’re keeping customers top-of-mind. Take time to regularly solicit candid feedback — and then take that feedback to heart. While positive feedback can serve as validation that pieces of your process are on track, negative feedback can inform you of where service and communication gaps still exist.
Negative Feedback is Everyone’s Problem to Solve
You should also use negative feedback to inspire collaboration among your business units.
Shipillo of Influitive says to “get your support team involved and provide constructive feedback to the product development department. Loop in your sales reps so they understand the story behind the bad review when they speak to prospects.”
One piece of negative feedback is everyone’s problem to solve — so don’t let it lead to non-productive finger-pointing.
Happy Customers Will Lead to Increased Referral Traffic
Sales leaders should take this feedback seriously because your happy customers are your biggest champions. As you align sales, marketing, and service experiences, more happy customers will lead to increased referral traffic.
Shipillo explains that a successful, ongoing referral program is great for everyone: “The sales team will love that they can leverage your happy and successful customers to help influence the buying decision earlier in the process.”
Word-of-Mouth Referrals Impact Customer Service
Even in today’s hyper-digital world, word-of-mouth referrals are still one of the most impactful ways to generate new customers.
Shipillo offers advice on how best to solicit requests for referrals: “Position your reference calls as a way for your customers to build their network and share their success story and they’ll be glad to participate.”
To foster customer trust and loyalty that leads to referral traffic, consider working with marketing and service teams to develop customer advocacy programs, in which satisfied customers share their experience and story with prospects. Shipillo explains how to build such a program: “…brands need to build trust early in the buying process by surrounding buyers with social proof for their product in the form of online reviews, customer testimonials, organic forum discussions, and more.” Reward customers in the form of a discount or free service upgrade for a month if they publish an online review, blog about their experience with your company or regularly interact with your brand on social media.
Consistent Customer Feedback
With consistent customer feedback and attention to creating an experience that makes customers feel comfortable making referrals, your sales team will be better equipped to reach the goals your department set with marketing and service.
The modern sales landscape is changing, and the modern customer expects more from brands than they ever have in the past. Sales leaders can’t afford to ignore the customer experience. As your company overcomes the challenge of organizing internal efforts to provide a better experience across the organization, remember the vital role that sales plays in making it happen.
Seamless Customer Service
If customers undergo a fragmented experience, it depreciates the value your company provides them. Don’t risk losing customers that choose to work with companies that actually cater to their expectations. In the age of the customer, if you don’t provide a seamless experience, you can bet your competitors will. When it comes to generating revenue and growth, you can’t afford to miss any opportunities.