Sales Effectiveness
4 min reading

Sales and customer service: helping your teams work better together.

Louise Tempelgof
Published on
Collaborative sales and customer service teams

Sales and customer service are two sides of the same coin. When properly synchronized, these two departments can work wonders! But sometimes, these two seem to speak different languages. Know what I mean?

If we were to use a sports metaphor, we'd say that sales teams are the forwards. Their expertise and strategy serve one purpose: to score goals (i.e. close sales, you follow).

Customer Success is more like a jack-of-all-trades midfielder (did you say Griezman?): it trains our customers, builds solid, lasting relationships with them, and helps them grow.

Let's explore how to get your sales and customer service teams to work together ultra-efficiently.

Sales teams and customer service: understanding each other's role

Where does one team's scope of intervention begin and the other's end? This is often the point of greatest friction. It's this mutual understanding that needs to be established in order to build an effective collaboration strategy. 

The sales team makes contact

We know what we're supposed to do: find opportunities, present the company's products or services and, ultimately, turn prospects into customers. To achieve this, we have more than one trick up our sleeve! 

We've mastered the art of negotiation, have an excellent knowledge of the offer and identify prospects' needs. But our job isn't a one-shot deal: we also have to lay the foundations for a relationship of trust. It's this relationship that will then be nurtured by customer service.

Basically, you make a decisive pass.

Customer service creates lasting relationships

Once the customer is on board, Customer Success (or Account Managers) come into play. They make sure that customers are satisfied - and that they remain so over the long term. They are the guarantors of customer relations and satisfaction.

They must also pass on important information to the sales and product development teams. Customer service is the repository of precious data, crucial to the company's development. 

That's why teamwork is so important!

Who does what?

There's no secret to optimal collaboration: you need a good strategy. And putting it in place requires asking the right questions

  • Who does the customer onboarding? At what point does the account pass to Customer Success? Sometimes, sales can keep the account for the first few months to ensure onboarding.
  • Who is responsible for expansion? Does customer management take care of upselling, i.e. expanding the portfolio of existing customers?
  • Who is responsible for contract renewal? If the ball is in Sales' court, at the very least, the account must be monitored.
  • Who does the Proof Of Concept (POC)? Proof of Concept does not follow exactly the same rules as sales or customer success. 

All these questions are crucial to establishing clear rules in terms of mission and scope, and setting up effective communication processes.

With us, sales people can propose POCs to key prospects. But each POC request (before being proposed to the prospect) is scrutinized to determine whether or not it adds value. 

Léa (Head of Account Management) and Jean (Head of Sales) analyze sales requests on a weekly basis.

This aligns teams with key POCs and optimizes impact (and customer conversion). Because once the sales person has proposed the POC, the Account Manager team takes over.

How do you define collaboration zones to promote communication?

To enable them to work together effectively, it's essential to create solid processes between the two teams. 

Allocate accounts and define the handover process

How will accounts be divided between the two teams? A clear and transparent division of tasks and responsibilities is the starting point for successful collaboration.

As well as defining the role of each team member, we need to be clear about the handover process. Some areas are grey: they belong to both teams to some extent. These are the danger zones: if everyone is responsible, then no one is.

There's no question of leaving things to chance, and risking damaging the customer experience. So we set up clear handover processes, without wasting information or time.

A single goal: a seamless customer experience

We all know: the customer experience is the key to a company's success. When Sales and Customer Success Managers (CSMs) work together, the challenge is to deliver thesmoothest possible experience

The customer shouldn't feel that he's changing interlocutors, he shouldn't have to repeat himself or (horror!) have the feeling of being lost.

The keys are: the right information, at the right time, in the right place: 

  • The right information: we define in advance a template with the key information required by the CSM.
  • At the right time: a CSM can't be put in touch with a customer without having all the information. It is therefore essential to synchronize before making an introduction to the customer.
  • In the right place: the key to any company is... data! We need to be able to find all the relevant information at any given time. For this, we all have a great tool, which has to store everything: the CRM.

Building bridges between sales and customer service teams creates a synergy that propels the company to new horizons.

What are good collaboration practices?

Regular feedback

In life as in business, communication is fundamental. We all have our routines and habits, but sometimes we forget that there's a world outside our bubble. Regular feedback allows us to open our eyes and take into account our colleagues' perspectives, which are, it turns out, just as important as our own.

Regular feedback helps to create a virtuous circle, where teams support and develop each other and, of course, do their utmost to ensure that the customer is the big winner.

So how do you set up this feedback? 

The first step is to create open channels of communication. Informal meetings are always a good idea, but you also need to think about structured meetings, with specific points to discuss.

At Modjo, we have set up a "committee review". Every month, an account manager and a sales representative meet to discuss collaboration and processes for improving practices.

We've also decided to be part of a single Business Unit, even if the teams and managers are different. This allows us to be autonomous and efficient in our management of the customer experience.

Developing common scenarios and playbooks

A little preparation never hurt anyone. Developing common scenarios and playbooks ensures that sales and customer service teams are on the same wavelength. 

It's not just about knowing what to do, but understanding why you're doing it and how it fits into an overall strategy. Shared playbooks are also an excellent way of capitalizing on best practices, avoiding each team reinventing the wheel on its own.

A platform like Modjo enables proactive information sharing. The whole team can easily find information, and above all, everyone has a global view of a customer, a sale or a company product or service.

All teams are aligned with the same reality, so everyone can make informed decisions.

Getting these two departments to work together effectively isn't just a good idea in theory. No, it's a real performance driver.

This improves the customer experience, building loyalty, creating repeat business and turning customers into ambassadors.

Ultimately, this turns into a competitive advantage, which also helps create a consistent brand image. In short, it's a real asset to a company's reputation and long-term viability.

Louise Tempelgof
Sales Expert Content
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