Mike Redbord and I talk about how difficult it is to balance sales in support, but how it isn’t really “Sales” at all. The trick is in figuring out how to use the conversations your support team are already having.
I’d love your thoughts on this episode! Comment below, and like/love/share/support if you found this inspiring, thought-provoking, or useful!
Charlotte Ward 0:13
Hello, and welcome to Episode 71 of the customer support leaders podcast. I’m Charlotte Ward. The theme for this week is support contributing to revenue. So stay tuned for five leaders talking about that very topic. Today I’d like to welcome back Mike breadboard. Mike, the topic for this week is how support can contribute to the revenue of the business.
Mike Redbord 0:42
Yeah, sure. So I think quite often, you know, support is seen by the CFO and sometimes even by supports on leadership as a cost centre and a place where you know, money should be minimised, right. And it’s not seen as any place where there’s a mechanism to contribute to growth. It’s just a cost to be minimised and make it as small as possible. As you can put else we’re focused on growth in sales or marketing or product. And that is just too extreme to be true. Yes, support is primarily engaged in the process of helping customers get the value they wanted, and helping them fix problems. But it’s totally wrong to say that support cannot have an impact on growth. And so there’s a few ways that you can do that. One. It’s just like a mindset of growth and support. I think if your leadership and support, whether it’s yourself as a support leader, whether it’s your CFO or CEO, if you all look at support as a cost centre, that attitude is going to come out of your mouth, it’s going to enter into your quarterly meetings, it’s going to seep into the team and the team is going to believe that they are drag on growth. And that is super toxic. So the first place to start with this, I think, is starting to think amongst your leadership team and especially among your finance team, how can support contribute to growth and you need to kind of ask the question, and I think participate in a brainstorming conversation with those folks in order to start to change the diet. Long if you feel like you’re in a place where you don’t have that, I think that number two is there are some really like interesting ways that support interacts with the customer lifecycle that oftentimes other teams do, too. So you’ve got like a sales team that will sometimes you know, call into a customer, when just earlier that day, that same customer had called in support. And guess what the customer doesn’t pick up the phone when the salesperson call, but there are more than happy to call you and talk to you for 45 minutes about how this thing didn’t work. And so I think there’s a really interesting way to kind of carve up the customer lifecycle. And think, a little bit more opportunistically about when do we have customers in a state when perhaps the solution to their problem is actually buying something else? And can we, you know, kind of prevent some more work from landing elsewhere in the company? I think that’s a really interesting question, perhaps to even propose to your CEO, your CFO to your VP and be like, how can we start the conversation of thinking about how support could be a growth centre because there are lots of opportunities out there
Charlotte Ward 2:53
that starts to put sales certainly upselling and cross selling somewhat in To the remit of your frontline agents, doesn’t it? And I have yet to meet a support agent who is happy to, in quotes, do sales. How do you frame it? How do you frame that to your agents?
Mike Redbord 3:13
Yeah, I mean, so I would actually say it does not add the action of selling to support folks. There’s a reason that we work in sport. It’s because we don’t want to work in sales. We want to go work in sales, we go do that things will be different, right? Yeah. And so I think it’s actually very, very important for me to clarify this, I’m not saying you want to add in the verb or the skill set or the training of selling, that’s not it at all. The thing to understand is like, they’re all the same customers, right. And if you’re if your company has a strategy of, you know, selling one product and selling more products to your customers, it’s the same customers that you’re trying to drive your business’s growth on. As it as our you know, submitting tickets or calling into your support team. We do not want support to turn into sales, but we want support to be is aware of the fact that they’re talking to the same people that are eventually going to spend more or less money at Have commercials. And so there’s a couple ways to do this right? One is to think about it as, Okay, are we talking to a customer that is currently engaged in a renewal, or currently engaged in a pilot or something like that? If so, can we you know, take really good notes and pass that on to sales. And if your support team is already taking really good notes, all you need to do is surface the visibility of those case notes to sales, maybe with an automated email or something. And that’s a way to start getting the support experience in front of the salespeople at no work, no cost to the support Rep. And that’s a really interesting way to start to throw these together. Another way you could do it is if you have a variety of products and sometimes customers buy one product and maybe should have bought another one or these two products play really well together, right? And actually the solution to whatever the customer is interacting with you about the ticket is another product don’t sell it right like don’t go and actually do the sales don’t inset your support team to get commissioned or anything. But make your support team aware that solutions to problems be buying more things. And that’s okay. And then enable your support teams to sort of tell sales that there’s an opportunity here. So this is something I like to call like a support qualified lead, where the support person can say, you know, maybe check a box and be like, Oh, this person could actually buy something else and check the box, maybe drop down what that other product is, again, send a trigger to the sales rep sales reps are used to getting leads, this is just another type of lead, but it’s going to be a really good there’s a bunch of ways you can attenuate this without having to, you know, go full sales and support which is like definitely not what we want to go.
Charlotte Ward 5:29
Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head there With that word, you know, solution. Like it’s our job in support to find solutions. And sometimes the solution isn’t us doing more work for them or making them do more work to circumvent some shortcoming or some lack of feature that actually we’re perfectly capable of solving a different way but that different way just happens to be another tear or another product or you know, some other feature that we have access to for them in the world. In ization, we just don’t necessarily have immediate access to within the support team. Yeah, so it’s only those questions and thinking about it more as selling as solution providing.
Mike Redbord 6:11
Yeah, I don’t think of it as selling at all. I think of it as you know, working in a business. That is, you know, not a modern art project. It’s not a nonprofit. It’s a for profit organisation. Everybody has some responsibility to growth that starts with a mindset that starts with the leadership and all that, and then just giving people really dead simple, logical ways to help contribute to that. And if your support team is already taking really good case notes, you’re probably most of the way there.
Charlotte Ward 6:40
That’s it for today. Go to customersupportleaders.com/71 for the show notes, and I’ll see you next time.
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