The purpose of this article: To highlight the value of inbound marketing and sales with customer service teams.
So a question for you, what do you think is the right structure to your sales and marketing departments, and then their relationship with customer service?
Take this scenario: Your sales, marketing, and customer service team are all wiped out from your business overnight, heaven forbid this ever happens, but how would you go about rebuilding those teams? Who would you hire first: sales, marketing or customer service?
Personally, I would hire customer service, as you already have a base of existing customers who will require attention. Once you've built that team what would you do next? Let's just say you now have customer service humming along; you will find they are even discovering new opportunities within existing clients, well they should be anyway, and if they are not this would be the perfect opportunity for more training.
At this time it’s the right stage to look for an inside sales person who customer service can start giving leads to. These are warm, if not hot leads, and you want to hire a sales person focused on helping your clients solve their problems, while also delighting them with a great experience, chances are they are also going to be commission centered, which is what you need.
Over time this team would grow out and need new leads, and you need to consider the most effective way of achieving this. Who do you hire? Outside sales or cold calling? Or do you bring on a marketing team? If so, what sort of marketing? As you have a sales team that has historically been given warm leads, do you think they will be any good with cold calling and doing one deal a week? Possibly not. So my recommendation would be to hire an internal marketer to focus on inbound marketing. This process may take some time to build out, so patience is the key here, as well as doing extensive customer-centric research before launching.
This person could also leverage existing external relationships to start to build up the funnel of warm sales qualified leads to your hungry sales team.
Now you're starting to create what we call a "predictable" reliable" and "sustainable" sales and marketing funnel. Which you as a business owner will love, your team will also love because they can focus on what they are good at (selling), rather than being reactive or chasing unsustainable opportunities (the good old fake meeting).
As this team grows, you could then look at an outside sales person that is focusing on big picture strategic relationships that as a business you can capitalise on so one deal could mean 100's of deals in the long term.
10 Tips for your customer service team to generate new sales qualified leads.
1. Set an incentive for your customer service team on the number of deals sent to sales.
2. Implement an internal NPS (net promoter score) System to identify raving fans.
3. Ask for referrals off raving fans.
4. Host an event covering off thought leadership learned over the past 12 months, - invite a friend.
5. Ask your customer service team to poll the top 50 FAQ's they get on your product or service and then write an article for their own LinkedIn profile and or publish on the company blog.
6. Run strategic webinars to your clients adding value, make these easy to share.
7. If you have a sales team, invite the head of the customer service team to the weekly sales meeting, you will both learn a lot
8. Setup your customer service team with a new email signature featuring their latest blog article around key tips to a problem in their industry, the goal is to get people to share this. People trust people they know
9. Hold an internal workshop on your top 25 clients and then profile them, deeply, to build your ideal client profile.
10. From that profile start to build out buyer personas, people of influence in the decision-making process.
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