133: Support’s Relationship to Sales with Greg Skirving

133: Support’s Relationship to Sales with Greg Skirving

Greg Skirving returns to talk about the Three Days with the customer, and how nothing happens without the sale.


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Charlotte Ward 0:13
Welcome to Episode 133 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’d like to welcome back to the podcast today, Greg Skirving. And, Greg, you’ve been on the podcast before, obviously, and you’re an experienced support leader, but I know that you happen to have trodden the sales path as well. So you were keen to speak to our audience on this week of supports relationship to sales.

Greg Skirving 0:56
Absolutely. Thanks, Charlotte. Thanks for having me. Yeah, I, I consider myself very fortunate to have worked in what I call all the three days of the customer lifecycle, you know, every company sell something on day one, day two, it’s delivered or implemented. And, of course, day three, there’s ongoing support. And, and again, I consider myself fortunate in my career, to have worked in all three of those days carried a bag with two different companies managed SES, business development and professional services. It’s given me a unique, unique perspective. Hmm.

Charlotte Ward 1:39
So what do you think is, let’s first very briefly talk about the positive sides of this relationship and transition between sales and support. What do you see generally works?

Greg Skirving 1:53
Yeah, yeah, well, I’m understanding the the distinct days or phases, I think it’s critical. Having good, good processes to hand customers off. Good communication. I mean, that’s that that’s obviously at the strategic level, but at the individual contributor level, understanding what everyone’s role is, you know, there’s an old saying, never judge, a man or a woman until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. And, you know, you certainly see a lot of that in, in, in technology companies where, you know, support has a view of sales, oftentimes, it’s a four letter word. And, and sales is, you know, oftentimes moves really quickly has a tremendous responsibility to the organisation. And my father used to say, nothing happens until the sale is made. So we don’t get to implement anything, we don’t get to, you know, Bill and recognise revenue, we don’t get to support customers, if we don’t, if we don’t sell something. And it it really is a team effort from all all three of those silos.

Charlotte Ward 3:10
Hmm. used a couple of words there, which I think really stood out that I think actually speaks a lot to each side of this relationships, perception of the other you said, you know, set sales is really fast moving, I think the converse of that is that support in any organisation can almost be seen to be the the back end of this relationship that’s kind of very slow moving, slow to evolve, slow to respond. And while obviously, we are in a reactive mode, as far as responding to customers goes, once they’re alive, we don’t necessarily have the reputation for being very agile and reactive in the moment to, to getting the deal over the line from the salesman’s perspective or sales person’s perspective. Right. So, I think there is this disconnect. I mean, I think from a support perspective, that can give sales, the illusion of seeming to be single minded, I’m trying to think of flattering ways to put this seeming to be single minded seeming too bit to be a bit of gung ho a bit cowboy ish, a bit kind of constantly after the money and with no thought to the after sales experience. Right.

Greg Skirving 4:30
Yeah. And, and, you know, in the peer support world, I think, I think there’s a misunderstanding. I mean, obviously, it’s viewed as a cost centre, that’s a pretty difficult analogy. And, and, you know, support people tend to be a little more binary. And you know, why did the sale you know, what, why did the salesperson promises and I’m not supporting this, that happens a little more in the implementation phase, of course, but, but again, it’s it’s a it’s a, it’s a T You know, specifically in, in, in support, oftentimes you’ll hear things like, you know, referring to engineering as they, well, you can’t refer to anybody as they, because we’re all we. And, you know, if we operate in silos in those, in those, you know, three phases, it’s, it’s a recipe for disaster, and it doesn’t look good in front of the customer, you know, sales really, really, that their job is to get new customers, and depending on how an organisation is set up, maintain and grow. But you know, in, in, you know, if we don’t implement it well, and we don’t support it, well, we’ll lose customers won’t get invited RFPs and, you know, will, will flat out lose customers. So, um, so

Charlotte Ward 5:52
he talked there about having this, of using the language of we rather than they, and I think the same could be true of most parts of the business, and not just from support outwards, but actually, that having this having this culture that talks about the business as a whole entity, rather than having these constituent parts that have to function in their own way. disjoint however, actually, disjoint or not, there may be, even if you use that language is quite divisive, potentially, isn’t it?

Greg Skirving 6:23
Absolutely, absolutely. And again, you know, I’m big on perspective, everybody has to, has to view things from everyone’s perspective, you know, namely the customer. So you so you have to use, we you can’t use them, but even how sales views, the implementation team, and the implementation team needs to be able to juggle, you know, the odd, the odd nuance in the sales process. Every successful salesperson tells the truth 90% of the time, and it’s obvious, if you tell the truth, 50% of the time, you may get some big deal in but you know, that’s going to get back down and you got one more chance of you’re gone. But if you tell the truth, 100% of the time, as a salesperson, you don’t get invited to any any RFPs, you know, you get a chance to do a proof of concept. So from the implementation sty side, and again, I was on that as well, I need to know how to juggle that odd little nuance and in the implementation that, you know, may not have been, you know, may have been positioned differently in the sales process. But had we not done that we wouldn’t have been able to implement it. So we can’t just throw it over the fence and say, you know, sales you deal with it? So, again, you know, having worked in all three of these areas it did, you know, you’ll you’ll look at it from a perspective. So I think I think communication is important. recognition is a huge thing. I mean, that’s a that’s a different thing on how different initiative as to help companies recognise and reward people. But my second last company, you know, I mean, that was encouraged we, we had a programme where salespeople could recognise the support people for their work, just little things like that, you know, you know, $30 here $50 there, that type of thing.

Charlotte Ward 8:18
That, that throwing it over the wall that you talked about, from an implementation perspective, is definitely I think house sales is viewed quite often by support that sales will go out there and over promise and, and or even have no clue actually what support is, or isn’t capable of doing or should or should not be doing. They make the promises to make the deal. Right.

Greg Skirving 8:44
Yeah, and, and again, like I say, if, if if salespeople tell the truth, 50% of the time, you know, I mean, you could maybe get one deal in but but you’re at risk with the company, because they don’t like backing up deals and backing out revenue. But if you tell the truth, 100% of the time, you don’t get invited to the RFPs, you don’t make it past that stage, you don’t get a chance to do the demo or the PLC. So so because because your competitors are, are fudge in a little too. So that’s a that’s a just a natural behaviour in sales, to get the business but what’s important is, is you know, good implementation people know that and know how to deal with it know how to sidestep it, find a solution, and then when it gets passed on, to support or if it happens to be the customer success manager who would do both, that they know how to handle that. And, you know, back to we talked about sales being fast, you know, they, you know, that they don’t have time to manage this and manage that and do that and, and they view that’s what you know, anything post sales is, is is there for so, you know, I’ll go back to developing a great relationship within the company just makes it easier.

Charlotte Ward 10:03
That’s it for today. Go to customersupportleaders.com/133 for the show notes and I’ll see you next time.


Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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