132: Support’s Relationship to Sales with Natalie Petruch-Trent

132: Support’s Relationship to Sales with Natalie Petruch-Trent

Natalie Petruch-Trent has been a panel guest before, but joins me one-to-one for the first time today. We talk about the importance of trust in handing over the customer relationship from Sales to Support.


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
Welcome to Episode 132 of the customer support leaders podcast. I’m Charlotte Ward. This week we’re talking about supports relationship to sales. So stay tuned for five leaders talking about that very topic. I would like to welcome to the podcast today, Natalie Petruch-Trent. Natalie, you’ve been a panel of panellists with me before, I think two or three times now, perhaps, but this is your first outing as one of my special one to one guests. So I think it’s probably a good opportunity, if you’d like to take a minute to introduce yourself to our listeners.

Natalie Petruch-Trent 0:56
Yeah, thank you, Charlotte. It truly is a pleasure. Pleasure to be here. I’ve absolutely loved speaking on the panels. And I’m incredibly excited to dive a little bit more in on the relationship with CEOs and sales. It’s something I feel really strongly about. I’m currently a technical account manager at pandia, which is in the emerging imass market working with integrations. And in the past, I’ve worked primarily in e commerce, and in the ticketing, entertainment, technological sphere, primarily an onboarding and implementations. So with that, it’s always the first step right after sales. So I definitely have had my experience working with different sales teams. And I’m excited to hop on and just chat about what’s going on there.

Charlotte Ward 1:47
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much. And so well, let’s do exactly that. Let’s chat about what’s going on there then. So. So I always think, when it comes to support and sales, they just seem such polar opposite ends of a customer’s journey. Right. And I think that’s probably part of where I certainly have experienced friction in this relationship. What what’s your, what’s your experience on that front? In terms of like, how support relates to sales?

Natalie Petruch-Trent 2:19
Yeah, so for me, it’s always really interesting, because I always hear warnings from other friend and CS, in support, or customer experience that, you know, oh, working with sales is awful. Beware of this one account executive. But personally, I’ve always had really positive relationships with the sales team. Actually, I, in preparation for this podcast, I reached out to a member of my sales team and was saying, hey, Cory, I know that CS and sales have this kind of, like, mythological, dislike for one another. But I’ve never really seen that, can you kind of help give me some insight as here, what your perspective is from the salesperson why there’s this big divide. And he brought up a really great point that of course, there’s a lot of technological and process components going in to this as well. But what it really comes down to is just trust and relationships. And so myself, I like to think that I am a people person. That’s why I got into customer support. I feel like a lot of your listeners, we love trying to make our customers happy, do what’s best for them, and really make it work for them. And when push comes to shove, I think what we forget is that is what the sales or account executive is trying to do as well. While they might have a little bit of a different angle, and while they might be commissioned based and trying to get some larger sales push through, and they have been working with this person or company for months on end. And they’ve also developed a very particular relationship with them a relationship that has certain expectations in their mind. And then when it is passed to a CSR and onboarding team, the CSM onboarding team also has a very specific set of expectations for what this relationship is going to be like. And I think that the biggest disconnect there is if there’s not an alignment of what those expectations are, or if there’s even underlying friction between the two individuals to start out with.

Charlotte Ward 4:39
Yeah, yeah, I think that I never really thought of how sales and support are both very relationship based, you know, support, success, experience, that whole end of the, of the journey, but how they’re both very relationship based and I think that’s a really interesting parallel to draw your Right, they do have different motivations, probably, certainly on an individual level, but, but those relationships with the customer are both pretty long lasting, aren’t they? And maybe the friction is just in in that handoff somewhere.

Natalie Petruch-Trent 5:14
Yeah. So what are things that I have personally encountered, like I said, I generally have really positive experiences, but some circumstances. And what I’ve seen that friction occur is, I was mentioning, if there’s just a distrust between either two departments, or between the specific people, I personally have primarily worked with startup companies have from very small to, you know, pre acquisition, so a little bit larger. But I’ve always been very lucky, where I know by name all of the account executives that I’m working with, and I’ve had a personal relationship with everyone on the sales team. And I think that really does have a lot to do with the fact that I’ve always had positive experiences. Because when you can put a name and a face to the person on the other end that you’re receiving this customer from, you’re able, as a human to, more naturally trust them and understand where they’re coming from. Whereas if you’re at a larger company, I can only imagine that there’s this big kind of fingerless sales team up in the sky. And then these customers are just dropping in with little to no communication or warning about the context of what’s happening. And I can see that being a much more painful transition. Or similarly, if you if one or the other side is not a very trusting person, I can also see that being a very difficult transition. And then we have the other side of where deals go wrong, which is where there might be some more practical problems, where either the sales team is being pushed to sell far ahead on the roadmap. And then the customers might have unrealistic unrealistic expectations, coming to an onboarding process or working with the support team. Or, or if there were, once again, technical components that should have been mapped out beforehand, and are only coming up later. And I think that, for the projection of the roadmap, a lot of that is generally being forced upon from the management team. And so it’s not only a one to one relationship between the individuals on the support and sales team, but there also has to be a really healthy relationship between the upper level management of both the sales and the support team, and an open and honest conversation about what’s being said, and what’s being placed into that customer’s mind. And what is a realistic thing to be sold ahead of time. And then that last component, the technical requirements being off, that really does just come from experience as well. And that’s something that you can either be, you know, frustrated with, or you can be more sympathetic to, and personally, I’ve always found it a lot more useful to be on the sympathetic end, rather than, you know, just being very upset and frustrated about what’s going on. For me, it always seems like a learning experience, whether or not the other person is receptive to that is another question. But if you are starting on that foundation of trust and wanting the best for this customer that you’ve been working with, for a long time on the sales end, or you’re trying to work with for a long time on the CSM, and there’s one shared goal in common. So it’s, it’s really an opportunity rather than a point of frustration to say, Hey, I noticed that there was a problem. And this, just so you know, moving forward, this is how can this is how it can be averted? And personally, I’ve always found that to be a really helpful response.

Charlotte Ward 9:10
Yeah, yeah, I think I think so too. I think that one thing that that has helped me is kind of coming to the realisation that we are working to effectively different measures of success, right, that, that the sales team does have those different motivations that they want to get the customer in the door, right, but, but also that has to be on terms anyway that that are going to be successful for that customer in the ongoing relationship. Otherwise, they, frankly, aren’t going to have a great career as a salesperson anyway. So good salespeople, I think wants to ensure the success of the customer beyond the doorstep. They want to ensure the success of the customer. Further customers in Tire life journey with the company, right? So, and I think part of that is identifying what support or cx or whatever needs to ensure that continued success. So it’s figuring out what what the points of pain are and in the transition, and ironing those out and finding ways to make them make them make it a success from both sides.

Natalie Petruch-Trent 10:25
Exactly 100%. So I know that before I was talking a little bit esoterically about these are kind of three pain points that can go wrong, or that I’ve seen in my experience, but it really does also come down to process at some point. So there’s that initial relationship of trust. But there when push comes to shove, there’s always information that needs to be translated as well. And there do need to be processes in place. And that is something to think about how that transition is happening. And you also need to think about that transition from the customers perspective as well. Because they’re also taking a very big risk and doing a scary thing at this moment, which is moving over from a person that they’ve been talking to from anywhere between one week to a year and moving to this entirely other person that they don’t know. So, it’s a interesting combination, when you’re thinking about what transition notes to put together, because you need to talk to three different parties, you need to know what are the most important things that the sales person needs to communicate the most important things that the individuals and CS need to know. And then also, what is

Charlotte Ward 11:43
it that the

Natalie Petruch-Trent 11:44
customer needs everyone at the company to know, and what’s carrying through that process. So if there isn’t any form of process, or if you’re just dropping a meeting onto a calendar, and that customer is having to start again, from step one, that’s not really going to help anyone. And it’s going to make everyone look and feel bad as well. Because in an experience like that, from the customer’s perspective, if they’re saying, I already said all of this, I already had all these conversations, I don’t understand why. And the customers brain, this person that you’re sitting next to, didn’t just tell you all of this. And so you need to have some form of either technologically automated process doing that. Or you need to just have that conversation in person. And I send it both ways. there’s pros and cons for either where you have a you know, actual transition meeting with the sales team, to a support or on the boarding person. And then I’ve also done it the automated way where you sales individuals and turn a form in Salesforce, there are certain required fields and contingencies, and then an email gets passed off. And both can be just as healthy and just as productive as long as you’re capturing the information that’s needed. when push comes to shove, the I haven’t quite gotten this metaphor down, but it’s kind of like the transition of a child in a foster home or even maybe working with a you know, divorced parents because both people really, really care about this individual. And they just want to show our they need to know that other side is going to care and take care of them in the way that

Unknown Speaker 13:35
they feel they deserve.

Charlotte Ward 13:41
Gossip today, go to customersupportleaders.com/132 for the show notes and I’ll see you next time.


Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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