Both customer service and sales efforts at any company have a shared end goal: to recruit and maintain consumers. Instead of viewing these two business areas as separate entities, professionals must know the similarities between sales and customer service and how they help each other increase revenue for a company.
St. Cloud State University’s online Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Professional Sales program develops skills and understanding of sales force management, strategic account management and sales and account analytics. The relationship between customer service and sales is a vital part of these concepts.
The Commonalities Between Sales and Customer Service
Successful organizations have sales and customer service teams working together to strengthen the customer experience and increase sales. According to HubSpot, long-term customer satisfaction and referrals often come from two elements:
- Sales teams helping customers find products or services to meet their needs
- Customer service assuring their interactions with the business stay positive over time
The more sales and customer service work together, the better results all around.
Why Sales and Customer Service Should Work Together
If sales and customer service leaders don’t collaborate, they’ll find it difficult to keep customers happy and coming back. Note these critical statistics provided by a LinkedIn article regarding the behavior of satisfied customers in the market:
- Most people (92%) “believe suggestions from friends and family more than advertising.”
- When customer service is bad, an unhappy customer will tell between 9 and 15 people about it.
The bottom line is whether customers are ecstatic or upset about a company experience, they let friends and family know. Ways in which sales and customer service can work together include customer service representatives sharing customer success stories and knowing how to upsell and cross-sell.
Tips to Boost Sales With Customer Service
Since not every customer service representative will have sales experience, customer service managers or team leads can use helpful tips to help train customer service professionals to increase sales:
- Teach upselling techniques: Create a training program (with the assistance of the sales team lead) to teach service representatives how to upsell or cross-sell other products to a customer.
- Use a referral program: A referral program outlines what a customer might receive if they refer a friend or colleague to your business. If customer service reps are trained on the referral program, they can use this as a talking point on phone calls or in emails to customers.
- Reward customer service professionals: Sales professionals earn a commission when selling products or services, and customer service professionals can be rewarded for their exceptional work as well. Boost customer service motivation by offering a reward for those who upsell a product, gain referrals or successfully deal with a difficult interaction.
Although it may take more time and effort, the return on investment when customer service representatives are trained in sales and vice versa is invaluable.
In addition to these approaches, advanced programs like St. Cloud State University’s online MBA in Professional Sales teach customer service strategies that affect sales performance and practice on a more wide-reaching or organizational level:
- Area sales operations: In addition to assessing the sales team’s performance, conducting sales territory analysis, preparing sales reports and making sales of their own, area sales managers must be able to understand, appeal to and grow the client base. They must deliver presentations to customers, build and adjust customer frequency plans, and use various techniques to reach clients and meet their unique needs. Area sales managers develop long-term relationships with customers and instill these practices in field sales representatives to ensure the quality and impact of customer service.
- Create a customer relationship management (CRM) strategy: To effectively establish and sustain customer relationships, some strategies need to be implemented at an organizational level. A Forbes article defines a CRM strategy as the “game plan for how to improve the relationship between your customers and your sales, marketing and customer service teams.” This process limits inefficiencies and optimizes operations affecting customer outcomes.
Some examples of priorities in a CRM strategy include defining goals, customer database audits, identifying target customers and mapping their journey with your company, and understanding your positioning among competitors. This holistic approach to customer service strengthens sales, as the organization will have a better idea of what adds value and drives conversion and how to personalize interactions.
Lead Teams to Success With an Online MBA in Professional Sales
Strengthening sales with great customer service is just one aspect of leading an organization to success. Professionals who wish to lead or manage should equip themselves with finance, accounting, marketing, information technology and operations management knowledge and skills.
St. Cloud State University’s online MBA in Professional Sales program offers seven core MBA courses that will prepare students for leadership, as well as the following professional sales concentration courses:
- Professional Selling
- Sales Management Strategy and Practices
- Advanced Sales Techniques and Topics
Since students can complete this degree in as few as 10 months, graduates can be on their way to improving sales and boosting organizations’ bottom line.