CS “Vs”​ Sales – Where’s the frontier? Is there that big of a gap?

Sales is as complex, diverse and strategic as CS. Here you will understand the difference between them

Had lunch with a good friend of mine who’s managing partner in a very successful company in which they are now planning to start focusing on CS:

“Hey so I need a person who can help us retain our existent customers, and build that trust to keep focusing on farming our accounts and growth. What kind of profile should I be looking for, CS or Sales?”

That was actually a great question, and as all great question, it got me thinking…

And as I was thinking, I felt there wasn’t any simple answer! But a great opportunity to engage an awesome conversation.

I mean, being a firm believer of all CS’s benefits and a massive customer centric enthusiast, I obviously pointed out the basics and what kind of magic we end up focusing on.

But I also had lots of questions:

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  • Do you guys already have a CX department?
  • Do you understand the difference between Customer Support, Customer Experience and Customer Success? Does your client appreciate those differences? Would they benefit from those separations?
  • Having these differentiations among the same department – Would it make sense for your services and product deliveries to invest in a new department?
  • Does your Sales Team focus on farming, or do they mainly hunt? Corporately, no blood here haha!
  • What’s your retention ratio? What’s your main pain point when referring to retention?
  • Other them Sales, is there a department focusing on the client? Onboarding? Support? Escalation?
  • And a little less than 100 other questions…

This was actually one of the best conversations I had in regard to this subject, its environment and limitless details, tweaks and strategies!

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There’s no simple way to look into it but first of all, understanding where’s the bridge between your client’s first steps and their retention strategy among your environment – is key.

Depending on your already built empire, you may want to start slow.

Slow isn’t always negative, slow can be a good strategy and I don’t see any problem in starting to involve Sales in the process. Especially at first!

They are the frontline and knows the client best after all, especially if CS hasn’t yet been implemented!

Speaking of which, note that CSs, other than a whole list of other tasks, strategies, procedures and implementation they already have to focus on – also will be used as a bridge in order to always know and forward any demands to the proper person or department, for specific demands that might’ve gone out of their hands. So communication and partnership is key among every department, and you’ll sure notice that at early stages, Sales is the department that will be solicited the most (and product, and marketing… but that’s for another time).

Read more: Tools for sales management: optimize your team’s processes and improve your routine

Sales is as complex, diverse, and strategic as CS. So, if you want to call it Sales and manage to emphasize farming in the process, why not?! Right?!

The most important point here is to equilibrate client’s needs, demands and let them understand that their hands are being held all steps of the way. If you’re onboarding them individually, they need to feel that their onboarding session has been tailormade in regards to their specific need.

If you’re calling them in regards to a new feature/product/service, make sure that you’re not just selling but also focusing on how would that update help them save money and time on the long term, without giving them the impression that the call’s purpose is only $$$ but that you’re also giving them what they want from a CS or a Farmer, in other words – Consultancy!

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Let me put it differently – You’re not going to want to sell them a feature that is on the Diamond plan if they’re still on the Light plan.

That’s the Sales Team’s jobs (among a whole bunch of other prioritizations). So… Baby steps!

Show them you care about their goals and help them reach them with what they currently have. Actually, scratch that, don’t show them, actually care about those goals – cause’ if they grow, you’ll grow. Domino effect (or snowball effect, or whatever effect you find best to help you always remember that).

Read more: 3 ideas for using loyalty and post-sales messages in your business

Focus on building that natural growth! Trust me it will come!

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Think of it like this, your client is a newly happy bicycle owner, yeah you just sold him his cool bike and your job is to teach him how to use it without falling.

The more he rides, the more he uses the bike, the better engagement he’ll have with the product.

The better engagement he’ll have with the product, the easier it’ll be to discuss further features, services, products…

But first, focus on what he just got and create that relationship with empathy, communication and mindfulness.

It is extremely important to make sure that the bike is ridden in the most proactive way, in order for the clients to fully anchor themselves towards whatever your offering.

As mentioned above, another important point to focus on, maybe one of the most important, would be ensuring that internal communication is flawless.

Despite being a logical point, it is often left aside or not taken as seriously as it should.

You’ll want the client to feel, witness and understand the difference between Sales and CS.

You’ll want them to feel it in a way that when your CS mentions a new product or service, your client won’t even think for a second that we’re just selling him stuff but that you’re actually selling him needs, productivity, pro-activity and even better, economy (at least on the long run).

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So communication needs a flawless organization, transparency and should be working both ways internally. Trust me, you don’t want your client to feel you’re not communicating internally – this will show a very bad image of his provider and is one of the biggest reasons I’ve seen client churning.

And note that the client doesn’t only have one provider for each of their needs.

Not only they receive cold calls and emails from competitors literally every day (don’t you?), but they also like to test out and compare new possibilities – especially if the price is right (again, don’t you?).

So that being said, we’re never sure to be 100% rooted in the client’s needs and businesses.

We might have 50% of their activity, or even less, 30%, 20%…

And the more we’re sharing with competitors, the higher the chances of losing it all. So our job as CS is to make sure we’re well anchored, in order for the client to want to use us at a 110% ratio.

The better we’re rooted in, the better control we’ll have over our client’s activities, movement, and the better we’ll be able to implement strategies in a short-mid-long term, with hard data.

And that folks, is what the client needs! Even though he’ll still keep your competition around.

Read more: How to Send Quotes via WhatsApp and Close Sales

It’s like a relationship, if you’re not around, without any communication, you won’t be able to actually know how’s things and you might lose the client without even knowing the reason, and that’s not a good loss. Without knowing the actual reason, how can you properly work on it for future retentions, and prevent it from happening again?

So bottom line, if your Sale’s team, however they are organized, has enough time, tools and training to do so – Yeah, I don’t see why this couldn’t work!

Otherwise, I would indeed suggest to (re)organize the chart and invest in a proper structured CS department, and put your client as leading figures, as protagonists, while placing them at the center of your decisions.

Time is your best ally, the sooner you strategically think about this – the better it will be, result wise!

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