While sellers focus on the first two phases of the customer journey, awareness and purchase, they stop short of the implementation phase—the phase that matters most to their buyers—and the phase where customer success takes over. A skilled customer success team is especially critical to sales success because they touch an account 10 times more than the sales team. Customers report that sellers don’t show enough interest in them after a sale, according to the 2018 Buyer Preferences Study
When sellers and customer success teams work together, they set customers up for more success and create lasting relationships that lead to more sales. In this blog, we’ll explore how collaboration between sales professionals and customer service professionals benefits companies and buyers alike. Successful collaboration draws more revenue from existing customers, identifies new opportunities for cross-selling and upselling and creates a symbiotic relationship aligned on retaining and growing customers.
Increasing Customer Revenue
More than 70% of a company’s revenue comes from its existing customer base. That means sellers who stop focusing on their buyers after the sale risk losing significant income. If sellers have lost touch with a buyer after a sale, service can step in to fill the gap and reconnect sellers with their buyers.
Because customer service reps interact with customers more than sales reps do, they build strong, sustainable relationships with buyers. Through these contacts, they uncover buyers’ challenges and pain points, by mastering questioning techniques designed to elicit this information. Once the service team fully understands customers’ needs, they can share the feedback with the sales team and direct them to additional sales opportunities. A customer experience best practice for organizations to cultivate is an information pipeline between service and customer success: with open and frequent communication so that no opportunities are missed.
Identifying Cross-Selling and Upselling Opportunities
Customer success reps are often first to know of a customer’s business plans. By knowing how to communicate clearly, guide customer conversations and ask questions that uncover the need behind the need, they deliver a qualified leads to the sales team.
As an example, if a service rep visits a customer and learns of their intent to expand their business, whether in footprint or in offerings, they should ask about what products or solutions the customer needs to fulfill that expansion. If the buyer has yet to identify a supplier to fill those requirements, customer success should report the customer’s need for new products or services to the sales team. By doing so, customer success gives the seller an opportunity to engage with the customer earlier in their buying journey, increasing the likelihood of a sale.
Creating a Symbiosis
Sales and service are part of the same continuum, squarely focused on customer satisfaction. Customer experience best practices show that these teams must be aligned to reach their goals of retaining and growing customers. After all, sales sells the first deal, but service sells all future deals.
But some organizations lack sufficiently strong connections between their sales and customer success teams. These organizations need to focus on their customer experience strategy: ensuring a customer-centric focus throughout the organization to prioritize customer needs, improve customer satisfaction levels and raise the chances of repeat sales.
To strengthen the relationship between sales and service, sales leaders should encourage sellers to schedule regular touchpoints with service reps as part of their customer experience strategy. During these sessions, they should ask their counterparts in service about the buyer’s business plans, future projects and timelines. They should also gather feedback about any problems that the buyer has with their existing solution and whether they need to make changes or upgrade. These questions deliver important firsthand insights and buyer motivations that sellers usually can’t access.
Give Your Customers Experiences They Won’t Forget
Sellers must recognize that their responsibility to the buyer doesn’t end when the deal is signed. Once the customer has the product or service, they must start thinking about the next opportunity—and there’s no better partner than the customer success team to help find it. Similarly, customer success teams must be equipped with the skills necessary to gather information to fuel sales.
A customer experience strategy that spans the entire organization, from first contact to most recent, is the foundation for a winning enterprise sales strategy. Our training programs, Service Ready, Conceptual Selling with Perspective and SPIN Selling Conversations, help sales and customer service connect with each other and with buyers, creating a positive—and unforgettable—customer experience.