Customer relations and sales performance: increasingly interdependent

frédéric vendeuvre Published by Frédéric Vendeuvre – 14 March 2024

Sales efficiency is no longer limited to the act of selling, but extends to the whole company, implying a total commitment to customer service quality for greater loyalty, up-selling and cross-selling, which are essential for margins in many companies. Successfully achieving this becomes a key differentiating factor in the market, all the more so in a tense economic climate where winning new customers is becoming increasingly difficult. For other companies whose business model is SaaS, it’s also a key element in generating more revenue and developing the use of their solution. In this case, customer relations also involve a kind of customer education and support for organizational change.

The quality of the customer relationship, well beyond the initial seduction phase, depends on the ability of the entire company to maintain a high level of satisfaction and/or engage the customer in its Customer Success Management program.

Training, corporate culture and employee motivation play a key role. The most successful companies are those that respond proactively to customer issues or complaints, maintain seamless accessibility, and effectively manage interactions at all levels.

Statistics reveal worrying shortcomings when it comes to monitoring customer satisfaction: 72% of companies spontaneously acknowledge that they need to make progress on a simple subject: complaint response times. More than half are unwilling to make any commitment to their customers on this subject. And yet, 57% of them receive complaints via social networks – a figure that is exploding, demonstrating their customers’ expectations in terms of responsiveness and even immediacy. But by e-mail, for example, the average response time is 6 days, and even 8 days by post… So there’s still a long way to go in traditional customer relations. *

The challenge is even greater when it comes to developing pay-as-you-go services that require customers’ employees to change their routines.

As in many physical distribution models, it’s often easier to sell-in than to sell-out, and this has an immediate impact on the revenue generated.  Collaboration between sales and non-sales staff, the quality of technical briefs, and the management of customer returns are all points that require particular attention. Strength of conviction, the ability to communicate effectively and with empathy, and exemplary proactivity are essential for all employees, regardless of their role in the company.

Training and coaching are therefore essential to raise the level of customer relations skills.

Our Halifax assignments show that NPS rates can be increased by up to 20%. It’s crucial to offer appropriate training, which goes beyond basic advice and tackles the real challenges when sales, customer relations and sales rebound are so intimately linked. But of course, monitoring processes and key indicators are part of a holistic response. Many companies still find it difficult to simply come and talk to the customer about a possible renewal far enough in advance, rather than too late or never at all. Many others succeed in doing so, without having read in advance that the customer was dissatisfied or unwilling to renew. The salesperson arrives with a “flower in the air” and… it’s a “cold shower”.

In conclusion, sales performance requires a concerted effort in customer relations, from the whole company, supported by adequate training, a solid corporate culture, and unfailing team motivation. In this complex environment, those who manage to excel in this area are the ones who truly stand out in the marketplace.

*AMARC 2022 survey of 149 French companies

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