SaaS: Turning Support Into a Profit Center
Tech Support Pivoting to Sales
A per-contact sales increase of more than 1,700%. That’s not a typo. It is simply the evolution of a program that began with a modest team focused on technical support – password resets, registering and renewing domain names, provisioning new accounts, and similar tasks for a global web hosting brand. The team gradually grew due to agents’ proficiency in going beyond routine support tasks to higher-level technical issues. And then came a wrinkle.
Revenue was stagnant and the client needed to jump start its sales. Our tech support team became the perfect conduit by building on its existing relationships with customers, and showing how issue resolution opens the door to potential new sales.
How an Existing Relationship Gained New Significance
01 The Challenge
The client was having difficulty expanding market share. The in-house sales team was perceived to be leaving money on the table, with revenue-per-contact floundering.
02 The Solution
We began by analyzing the lay of the land: the products and users, the connections between the two, and the possibilities that were then created.
03 The Results
The most obvious impact was on sales and revenue, two other areas are worth noting: customer satisfaction and internal training.
01 The Challenge
The client was having difficulty expanding market share. The in-house sales team was perceived to be leaving money on the table, with revenue-per-contact floundering at less than one dollar. What should have been a sales strength had become a weakness – the client had an impressive suite of products that would benefit its customers, but the sales force was not connecting the dots between client needs and available solutions. The issue was compounded because many of these customers were resellers of the client’s services, meaning any product that was sold to them could, in turn, be sold to their customers.
02 The Solution
We began by analyzing the lay of the land: the products and users, the connections between the two, and the possibilities that were then created. We also added a hybrid training program with a simple directive – first, solve whatever issue caused the customer to make contact. Nothing else can happen until that is accomplished; a happy customer will be far more receptive to deepening the business relationship. The training program focused on pivoting to suggestive selling once the support issue had been resolved and rapport had been built while agents conducted a bit of discovery and exploration on the way.
It is worth noting that these were not sales agents; they were support and service personnel, so we started with a pilot program to prove the concept with chat as the communications channel. The team mixed recognizing sales opportunities with creating them, asking many questions to help understand individual pain points, and then explaining the value of specific account enhancements. Within six months, per-contact sales had increased ten-fold, and the program had moved from pilot to permanent. CSAT also improved, and the client has since incorporated our customer education approach for internal training.
03 The Results
Sometimes, the sale is for an add-on that the reseller needs; at other times, it solves an issue that a reseller’s customer is experiencing. Either way, this produces additional previously unrealized revenue, representing a high-water mark in the partnership. While the most obvious impact was on sales and revenue, two other areas are worth noting: customer satisfaction and internal training. In addition, customer retention has improved because people are being offered and sold products they value. It’s the ideal market-based transaction in which both sides benefit.
The sales team paid for itself and then some, and the program went from pilot to permanent in short order. It was a further win in how the client incorporated our training methods internally to prepare its salespeople. And the client got a close-up look at the value of the chat channel and how it fosters a great degree of personalization while improving agent efficiency.
We are adding further value by helping the client to streamline its other hosting brands by standardizing certain practices across the portfolio. Getting competitors to do that can be challenging, even those under the same corporate umbrella. Still, our expertise in managing contact centers helped to eliminate inefficient and redundant practices, benefit the client’s brand and, more importantly, the brand’s users.