Customer Service is not Inside Sales

Ian Heller in the video below makes a very good argument that Customer Services Reps are not Inside Sales people. He argues that for a company to grow you need to create two separate teams – one for customer service and one for inside sales.

While Customer Service Reps are great at answering questions and solving problems, they tend to shy away from making sales calls or up selling. Inside Sales people, on the other hand, love making sales calls because they earning commissions and bonuses, and have a greater incentive to be more assertive than Customer Service reps.

I once worked for a company that tried to encourage their customer service team to do sales. The results were dismal. The company eventually created a separate sales team.

Now with that said, that doesn’t mean you should discourage Customer Service Reps from not selling. On the contrary, by all means encourage it because some Customer Service Reps may develop a knack for selling, and decide to switch teams. I’ve actually seen Customer Service Reps transfer to an Inside Sales Team because they discover they had the talent and skills to sell. They also loved the potential of earning more money.

On the flip side, don’t discourage your Inside Sales people from doing customer service work either. Nothing makes a customer more angry than being told that “it’s not my job, let me switch you over to customer service.” Bad move. If a sales person can solve a customer service problem, let him do it. If the issue is too complex, the sales person should admit it, and then transfer the call to customer service.

My point is this – while I agree with Mr. Heller that there should be two separate teams, each team needs to work together.

Here is his video below –

3 Strategy Lessons from Apollo 13

Ian Heller in the video below does a great job outlining three strategy lessons from Apollo 13.

The lessons are –

1). Base your strategy on data.

2). Develop detailed action plans

3). Set goals that build excitement and conviction.

Why are the above lessons important? Because too often many sales and marketing teams are winging it, rather than developing solid strategy based on facts and reality. Sure, sometimes you need to trust your gut. It’s always good to experiment. But it’s also a good idea to take a hard look at the facts, brainstorm, and come up with some solutions. Put it down on paper. Review it. Get a consensus and move forward. And have some enthusiasm behind whatever you do.

It’s also a good idea to bring your sales team in on the process. Sometimes decisions are made behind closed doors by upper management, but they don’t seek advice from some of the smartest people in the company – their sales team. After all, it’s the sales team that is serving on the front lines everyday. They, more than anyone else, have a good handle of how clients are feeling, and what problems they are trying to solve. In short, they are taking the pulse of their industry.

Here is his video below –