09 Sep Sales Support in the Tech Industry: Why You Need It
Technology is a rapidly changing industry. What is new today could be quickly ousted tomorrow. In spite of this volatility, tech companies are some of the wealthiest in the world. Among the elite are Google, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook. All of these companies have different sales processes, which may or may not involve sales representatives and tech sales support.
Facebook, for instance, has none. In contrast, Apple and Microsoft hire sales reps for both in-store and online work. These reps need high conversion rates to earn commission and boost the company’s success. While many representatives can handle this lofty task on their own, sales support makes them much more effective.
What Is the Role of Sales Support?
When people think of sales, they think of the actual closing of the deal. This is the big finale, but it is neither the start nor the end of the process. There are behind-the-scenes activities that help determine how easy it is to create and keep customers. These tasks are especially important if the sale includes a service, as might be the case with home security or an internet provider.
Tech sales support is responsible for these activities that occur before and after a sale. Sometimes hired associates complete these tasks. Other times, a company may use productivity tools or outsource the function to a third-party agent. Some businesses use a combination of all three. While sales support people are not responsible for conversions, it makes the work easier for the employees who are.
What Are the Two Types of Sales Support?
The two main types of sales support in the tech field are tools and helpers. The tools refer to the software and data that sales reps rely on to provide them with necessary information. The helpers are other people who bring the human element to the back-end work. Though artificial intelligence is becoming more advanced, there are some interpersonal interactions that still require a human touch.
When it comes to tools in technology, complex algorithms may come to mind. While this is sometimes the case, it just as often is not. Tools may sometimes be as simple as video tutorials, presentation slides or even a written script for frequently asked questions. If current or potential customers need direct access to this information, companies may also include it in their website copy.
Software tools that do involve complex algorithms include calculators for simulating account changes. Another example is data analytics based on collective or personalized customer data. Finally, efficient sales teams rely on customer relationship management software. This tracks the sales process from lead to conversion. In fact, Business Insider notes that organizations need to invest in knowledge management systems. These systems keep your sales team responsive and agile.
All of these tools could be accessible via secure pages on the company website that require employee credentials. However, many companies rely on third-party software to fill these roles instead.
With technology doing so much of the heavy lifting, you may wonder what functions remain. Helpers are mainly in charge of customer services, product training, lead generation and public outreach. Here is a closer look at all four activities:
- Customer Services: While AI is sometimes involved in routing calls and chats, this is also where people step in to provide help to customers. They may assist with general questions or technical troubleshooting.
- Product Training: Tech sales support agents help keep customers informed. Informed buyers make better choices for themselves. This, in turn, may lead to greater customer satisfaction.
- Lead Generation: Team members identify, vet and funnel high-quality leads into specific channels. Sales representatives can then act on these. Some tools they may rely on to carry out this function include social media, email campaigns, professional networks or data mining.
- Public Outreach: This involves the communications and PR strategies a company employs. Many companies outsource this function, while others keep it in-house. Tasks related to this include writing and distributing press releases, handling internal communications, setting up paid advertising and creating promotional opportunities.
What To Look for in a Sales Support Contractor
When choosing sales support partners, many tech companies are not sure where to start. As you may have noticed, sales support requires different functions as parts of a whole. Sometimes functions get passed on to multiple individuals and contractors. For instance, some companies outsource customer service to a call center, public outreach to a PR firm and lead generation to a marketing agency.
Whatever strategy you choose, ensure that it is in line with your business model and helps you stay agile. You should also always prioritize the customer experience. Forbes Insights notes that more than half of organizations plan to redirect as much of their resources as possible into innovating CX. The last thing you want is for your customer to need to jump hurdles through several companies or departments just to get one question answered.
Regardless of what functions you choose to outsource, there are some key factors to look for in contractors. See a few of these below.
Hire a contractor with years of experience providing this service. You also want to ensure they have experience in your specific industry. Experience in technology is good. However, if your particular field is solar power or software development, it doesn’t hurt to choose a contractor that has provided support to other companies in this area before.
2. Attention to Detail
Sales support handles many of the intricate details that go into converting speculators into customers and new customers into lifelong fans. They may be responsible for following up, cross-selling and providing customer support service. Attention to detail helps to ensure they leave no stone unturned.
3. Research Skills
The most labor-intensive parts of sales support are lead generation and market research. Support staff rely on research to better understand your target demographic and break it into segments. With this information, they can more easily find out where your customers hang out and how to reach them.
4. Interpersonal Skills
Depending on the activities you outsource, sales support contractors may have direct contact with your customers. They also liaison with your in-house or contracted sales team. Because of this, you need to ensure that they can communicate clearly and effectively. This is especially important if the contractors hire overseas workers.
5. Good References
When hiring support, it is much more difficult to evaluate whether or not the workers who will manage your account meet your criteria. One way to get around this is to check a company’s online reviews before reaching out to them. After initiating contact, ask for references from past or current clients and take a look at any available case studies.
Why You Need Our Services
Sales support is an indispensable administrative function of a successful sales team. Without the related services provided by tools and helpers, sales reps find it more difficult to operate effectively and efficiently. Lack of support would also have a negative impact on customer experience. No good can come from asking sales reps to operate blindly.