7 Ways to Make Sure Your Sales and Customer Service Teams Are Aligned
There is a fundamental disconnect between the traditional roles of salespeople and customer service reps. Salespeople, by definition, see their job as solely to sell – to convince a stranger to buy something. Once they’ve sold that software, for example, they get a commission. Their boss pats them on the back, and they move onto the next hot prospect.
What happens next, when the new customer needs help with their software? That’s someone else’s problem.
That “someone else,” of course, works in customer service. The customer service rep’s job is to convince people to stay. They need to convince Joe SaaS that the software he bought really was a good deal, and that he didn’t waste his time and money even though he has a few complaints. It falls on customer service to keep Joe Saas on Team Software – be that through future discounts, additional training or simply listening to him vent over the phone.
These two roles have been disconnected for so long, but they also rely on each other in a profound way. Both deal with engaging and convincing customers that their product is worth their time and money. Whether those conversions happen before or after money changes hands is irrelevant – customer retention is good for the whole company.
If your customer service and sales teams are still separate, there’s hope. Behold these seven ways to make sure those two teams line up perfectly.
Align your goals.
While it seems obvious to make sales goals the exclusive domain of your sales team, and customer retention the exclusive domain of your customer service reps, you should instead have those two departments work together for both.
Customer retention starts with a strong lead and thorough sale, and the odds of retention increase from there. If both teams are responsible for the same KPIs, they’ll have to understand each other’s side and work toward a common goal.
Map out a customer journey.
The value of a thorough customer journey is so great, we’ve written about it at length before. Seeing a clear customer journey is a boon for both your higher-level execs and on-the-ground teams.
Some people are visual learners: if people in both sales and customer service can see how a customer moves through your company sales funnel, they may develop an appreciation for the overall picture beyond their own individual involvement.
Establish clear lines of communication.
Regular meetings are a given. Alignment requires visibility, and often in an office setting, teams will sit separately, divided by cubicle walls or just distant space. Meeting face-to-face on a regular basis – it doesn’t have to be every week; a monthly meeting could suffice – helps both teams understand each other’s concerns and points of view.
But because some issues are too fast for meetings, it’s best to establish more immediate lines of communication. Get a Slack channel going, or use some similar app to create a connection between your two teams specifically to discuss strategies and updates.
Work on workplace culture.
The success of your alignment will depend significantly on your workplace culture. Make in-person introductions between teams – you have to make them feel like one team, even if their roles are different. Get them socializing and feeling like a cohesive unit. The best work happens when people genuinely like their jobs, after all.
Focus on training new and old employees alike.
Needless to say, incoming employees in either department should know what they’re getting into. Forging new habits fresh is the surest way to develop a strong new culture. Redefine your new-employee onboarding process.
But for current employees, too, you should focus on ongoing training initiatives that complement both sales and customer service. Foster your teams’ growth with ongoing training initiatives. Everyone can help be a customer service agent.
Ask for customer feedback.
Your customers aren’t literally always right… but sometimes they’re onto something.
In customer surveys and whenever moments arise, ask your customers how they feel their sales process went. Did they feel the salesperson really cared about them? Did the salesperson follow up after the sale, the way a customer support rep might? When the person reached out to customer support, did the new agent understand their problem immediately?
You can use key indicators to find out how your team is progressing and whether it’s creating a serious impact on your sales and customer service metrics.
Combine your CRM software into one.
The surest way to keep atop of all this is to streamline your customer data into one software. Using a CRM and sales automation tool will help keep all your relevant data in one place, so your customer service team doesn’t have to waste their time or your sales reps’ searching for the right info.
From initial sale to ongoing service, it will be right in front of you, tracking deals, recording conversations, leaving notes and creating segmented lists for follow-ups.
Alignment between your sales and customer service teams is vital for customer retention. By taking a proactive approach to interweaving the two teams, you’ll boost team morale…and your bottom line.
Jonathan Herrick is co-founder, CEO, and chief high-fiver of Hatchbuck, an all-in-one sales and marketing platform based in St. Louis. His extensive experience in digital marketing and sales strategies has been a driving factor in growing Hatchbuck’s sales by over 2,000 percent. A purpose-driven leader in all aspects, Jonathan has a passion for cultivating his team’s culture, spending time with his family and working to make a difference in the St. Louis community.