Software-as-a-service companies have many complexities, but one thing always holds true - SaaS companies sell a product. This means every part of the business has to support the sales goals, including the IT department, customer service team, accounting department, upper-level executives, software developers and, of course, the sales team. Even if an employee's main job doesn't directly involve sales, the work he or she completes still supports revenue generation. The fact is, every professional is a sales person. Non-sales-focused areas of the business relate to sales because they have to. In today's world, the customer runs the show, and businesses have to react to them. This means that every employee on every level of the business needs to do his or her job in accordance with what the customer wants.
Customer service teams drive sales through satisfaction
Satisfied SaaS customers continue to utilize your products. At some point a customer is going to have an issue with your product. The way in which your customer support team handles this situation can have a dramatic effect on future sales. Customer support reps, of course, need to be polite and sincere in their approach to the customer, but they should also keep their employer's sales goals in mind.
"Customer support reps are the perfect upsellers and cross-sellers."
Customer support reps are the perfect upsellers and cross-sellers. SaaS companies can empower their reps with customer support software so they have all the customer's data in front of them. This information can be useful when assisting customers with issues, but it also helps reps identify opportunities for upgrades or additional products and services.
Additionally, customer support software that provides customers with useful self-service options can also help improve satisfaction. Self-service options, such as a searchable knowledgebase, FAQs and community forums, provide customers easy access to the answers they need.
Product developers and quality control also impact customer satisfaction.
You can have the best customer support team in the world, but if your products are only subpar, you're going to have a difficult time selling them and keeping your customers happy. This is why everyone involved in creating and developing your software also has a direct impact on sales, in terms of recurring revenue and churn. Likewise when customers offer feedback, either in terms of complaints or feature suggestions, it is your product development team that is responsible for ensuring it is included in the product. Your product team should be constantly thinking about what your customers really need and want, and then create solutions to their problems.
Marketing is the first line of (sales) defense
Marketing is often the first "experience" customers have with your company. The communications shared via social media, advertising, email campaigns and even your website are the first opportunity your company has to "sell" to new customers. Further, the ongoing communications you have with trial accounts and paying customers have a substantial impact on your customers' perception of your company. Do you communicate well, too often or not often enough, and do you portray the professional image your company wants to be known for? These are all aspects to consider when crafting marketing messages, so make sure your team understands their role in the sales process. Remember, there is a reason Sales and Marketing are often paired as one department.
Don't forget the importance of your accounting team
As a back-office function, accounting often gets overlooked in the assessment of customer experience. However, when seen from a customers' perspective, it can have a huge impact on satisfaction and specifically the decision whether to renew the subscription, or move on to another vendor. Consider a customer contacting your finance department about a billing error or contract question. The way your customer is treated and how quickly their issue is addressed has no less impact than the experience they receive when contacting your customer service team for assistance with a technical issue. Likewise if a customer has a question about their terms or what is included, your sales and support teams should be able to answer it without pushing them off to accounting – or at the very least make an easy transfer to get their questions answered.
The bottom line is job titles don't matter. Everyone who creates or supports your software in any way is a part of your sales process. Whether employees work as software developers or marketers, they are all chasing after the same goal - to sell the company's products to clients, and to create and maintain repeat customers.
Like this article? Check out our white paper on Customer Experience Management: