In our sales training workshop “Luring The Tiger Down The Mountain” we have noted the increase in support and technical people joining the classes to learn advanced sales skills. This goes along with a major shift in the allocation of duties in major companies we engage with. In today’s competitive business environment, many technical and support people are being called upon to assume the additional role of developing customer relationships and contributing to company revenue along with the individuals directly responsible for sales, business or account development.
Switched on sales orientated companies are including support and technical people in sales training workshops sitting alongside the person having sales skills. The company is acknowledging their important and necessary contribution to major sales campaigns which is saving valuable time, shortening buying cycles, generating bigger revenues and ensuring future business.
To do this technical and support professionals are gaining an additional set of skills and strategies to be involved in attracting, winning and retaining customers; and be seen as ‘consultants’ to the client rather than simply a support resource or technical guru.
Support and technical personnel can at times be in a more advantageous position in a client account than salespeople in forging long-term, high trust relationships with all levels within the account. They can carry the message throughout all levels of the company more effectively than the salesperson especially with the “user buyers” who are part of the decision process in a major purchase. They are also in touch with the client account more often than a salesperson where they can develop a consultative business relationship with clients if they have sales training even though they may dislike the “S” word.
With taught skills they can conduct a consultative business meeting vs. a support /technical call, and be seen as a trusted business advisor to the client’s organization in a lot of instances beyond a person’s sales skills. We all know perception is so important when dealing with a client. (“The salesperson is here to sell me something—-a support/technical resource is here to help me…”). Support/Technical people can at times garner the important trust factor more easily than a salesperson, and at the same time be delivering the company sales message to the client in a consultative manner.
When there are those all-important sale meetings with the client this is the perfect environment for encouraging teamwork, between the client, the account manager, and the support person. It provides a forum with which to set team goals and brainstorm ways to meet them, considering input from everyone in the meeting, versus just the salesperson. When the meeting is between the client, company rep, and support person, the teamwork may happen in the form of feedback, when the client may suggest certain things, to which the other party may respond and go back and forth in a dialogue until a consensus is reached. With the salesperson and support personnel working in tandem and on the same sales page, it is a formidable consensus reaching team.