Until very recently, the idea of a customer was limited to “a person that buys your product.” So, the interaction points pretty much ended at the buying, and post-sale, if they required support, it was perceived to be a negative interaction.
We might go as far as to say the idea of a customer now begins at “the person who buys your product” and simply does not end. The interactions are all under the umbrella of customer support, and the business that has such support available is one that wins.
Every business that wants to survive in this cutthroat competition has to adopt this mindset. But it is easier said than done. The first question that comes to mind is, what falls under such customer support? And then, how to implement it?
Well, customer support is a part of the sales strategy. And the sales strategy is essentially a conversation; a back and forth between the business and the customer, constant checking in and checking up on the customer’s needs and how the business benefits from that.
Let’s take an example:
Ford, an automobile legend, turned things around in 2022 with Salesforce in their arsenal. Traditionally they catered to the customer when the customer approached them. With Salesforce and a mobile app, they made themselves constantly available and provided value with each interaction.
Once a customer purchases a car, the app tells them when they will get the delivery, thus keeping the customer informed without them having to call a support team. It freed up the support staff from tracking each customer’s number in the line and ensuring the customer was informed.
After the car delivery, the app becomes a central place to know everything about the car. It has the servicing schedule, the miles driven, the service history, the oil change date, and so on. A customer opens the app, and they know exactly when their car needs an oil change or how long ago their last service was, and so on.
This was for the customers, but implementing Salesforce also gave them plenty of help on the backend. They could see a change in their click-through rates and the time it took to manage campaigns.
While that is an example of customer support as a part of the sales strategy, another important part of the sales process is ensuring your sales team has everything they need. Traditionally this was limited to onboarding and training a sales rep. But that is no longer enough. Sales reps are the only people who have direct contact with your customers, so they need to know everything there is to know about them.
So we come to an interesting part called Sales Enablement.
Sales Enablement is nothing but providing your salesperson with everything that they would need to ensure a smooth sale.
What does this include? Demographic details and purchase history deals to offer, product knowledge, product demo decks, customer stories, and so on.
Demographic details help the salesperson understand who they are pitching to, why they are pitching to them, their age group, their background, and so on. This information is built from collected data and surveys that can point to who is demanding your product.
Along with demographic information, the salesperson should also have a region-based purchase history to accurately forecast their success rate and to back up their sales pitch with it. Customers always like to buy things their fellow locals are buying.
Salespeople need to know the product, and this goes beyond what the company’s product is. Oftentimes, they are explained the product they have to sell. What they need to be shown is the industry their product is for, the challenges it solves, who it benefits, and what competing products are like. This gives them an overall view and context to operate from.
During any sale, the salesperson needs to present a demonstration of the product, literally or virtually, to help guide the potential buyer into a decision. For this, they need a functional demo deck that they can rely on.
And lastly, to really put an edge in the pitch, salespeople need to show how other customers are using the product and what benefits they are enjoying. This trick almost always helps close the deal.
Now, of course, as far as business tools go, you use a CRM, but to add to that, you also need to use a Salesforce customer portal as it enables sales reps to easily onboard customers and then all your other teams to constantly keep them engaged. Connected with your CRM, you also need to use an appointment scheduling tool, so your sales and support reps are always available to your customers.
When you configure these, you have some elements that you can control, one of which is the Salesforce customer portal. What can you control here?
If you can configure this to best work for your sales reps and support teams, it can help your business grow tremendously.
You can design the portal to not only match your business thematically but also to match your and your customers’ needs. Label field instructions that are helpful set up navigation in such a way that it leads them to the right next step, and so on. Build a tool that disappears into the background of what they actually want to do.
With any business, information access is crucial. Dictate what role has access, what kind of access, and how is allowed to assign it seamlessly with the portal.
Another important aspect of any tool in this space is being able to provide little nuggets of information in the right place at the right time. Enable your portal with widgets that can do just this. Sales teams need weekly figures when creating monthly reports? Give them that. Customers need price drop notifiers in their wishlists? Give them that.
A dashboard is crucial for any kind of software tool, so of course, it is all the more important in such a situation. Set up a functional dashboard that helps all teams keep glanceable information front and center.
And lastly, any good tool is good only if it is made better by third-party integrations. Integrate sign-in options, more payment gateways, your choice of email clients, and so on because, after all, you should use a tool that you like to do the various tasks you need to do for your business.
We are a portal solutions provider, and one of our flagship products is PortalXpand, a Salesforce customer portal.
It can do all of the above, from helping with sales enablement to customer satisfaction and support staff efficiency. Request a demo to see how it can work for you.
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