Pick 10 businesses at random and you’ll find wide differences in size, industry, customer base and more. Chances are, though, they all share this trait: they’re organized by three key functions of marketing, sales and customer service.
From a big picture standpoint, these three teams work together like a funnel, which is why you’ll find them across organizations. Marketing creates interest and leads for the company and passes them onto sales. The sales team converts the leads into deals and sends the customers on their way. The service team assists with onboarding, troubleshooting and support.
In theory, these three teams present a unified experience to the customer – the same attitude, the same tone in approach. From marketing emails to a sales negotiation to a customer support call, the buyer recognizes the feeling of dealing with this company, and every touchpoint builds on the last one.
In practice: not so much. There can be real problems with this structure. In many businesses, these teams don’t talk to each other – not meaningfully. Marketing campaigns and sales outreach have wildly different tones. Customer service seems like it comes from another company altogether.
And don’t think the customer doesn’t pick up on it. Communication gaps between departments that feel natural in the workplace will feel painfully obvious to customers. That used to be the status quo – but these days customers are demanding more. They want to see more transparency, stronger service and a deeper understanding of their needs.
A Tale of Two Companies
Here’s a great example: your typical cell phone service provider. New customers are constantly marketed to with new deals and lower prices. Existing customers, however, are typically given the option of paying full price for an upgraded phone or waiting until their 2-year contract is up. What kind of deal is that? A stranger is told they’re valued and important; customers who’ve been loyal to provider for years are told they don’t matter. Sales and marketing are not connecting on this issue.
Then you have retailers like department store Nordstrom where every associate is devoted to customer satisfaction. From loyalty programs, in-store support and hassle-free returns, the shopping experience is designed to make the customer feel important. That’s an experience where marketing, sales and customer support have aligned; and it’s why Nordstrom has rated highly as a shopper’s paradise for decades.
To be fair, it’s also why consumers are expecting more from other businesses. Once they get a taste of customer service done right, they just won’t tolerate businesses that clearly operate in silos.
This isn’t new information, by the way. Business gurus have been pointing this out for a few years now. But companies – especially the enterprise – have been slow to adapt to changing demands.
If this sounds familiar, you’ll be glad to hear that Salesforce has created Customer Success Platform, a new feature designed to put the customer at the center of every interaction. Using this technology, service representatives can enjoy full visibility into the customer’s history with marketing and sales. With an immediate understanding of an individual customer’s experience, it dissolves typical barriers and empowers all three teams to approach the customer from a supportive, informed stance. That disjointed feeling of dealing with different companies within one company just melts away.
In sales, we talk a lot about a 360-degree view of the customer, but this technology actually offers it up. What that means for the companies who use it: meaningful engagements, deeper brand affinity, better sales. What it means for the companies who don’t: nothing good.
Take a look. And see if your organization can benefit.