Communication is a challenge no company ever truly masters. And while it’s tempting to invest in new tools and call it a day, improving communication is a matter of strategy.
Certainly, tech has given companies more ways to get their message across. But it’s also created new problems: Wires can be crossed even more easily over email or Slack than they can in-person chats. Every new technology means a new training session.
Becoming a more communicative team means cracking open your processes first and your tech budget second. To improve communication between your sales and customer success teams:
1. Give and ask for feedback.
Nobody likes giving hard feedback. But given how closely sales and customer service teams work together, feedback needs to be part of the process.
Surprisingly, most workers want to hear more of it. A study by Officevibe found that more than eight in 10 employees appreciate positive and negative feedback. Feedback gives workers a clear sense of what they’re doing well and where they can improve.
At communicative companies, however, feedback cuts two ways. Make sure your two teams feel comfortable giving the other a true glimpse of their day-to-day challenges. Although tools like 15Five facilitate cross-company feedback, setting up an anonymous comment box might be a better solution to get authentic feedback.
2. Get in the other person’s shoes.
It’s easy for employees to feel a disconnect with other teams. Everyone is so focused on doing their own job that the effects and impacts of their work on someone else can be easily overlooked. In fact, 39% of employees think there isn’t enough collaboration at their company. Flip the script by having the sales team and customer success teams sit in on each other’s roles every quarter.
This helps to uncover challenges each team has and opens up opportunities for better collaboration and communication. Not only will people learn from each other, but it can help increase team problem-solving if both sides have a better view of the big picture.
3. Automate when possible.
Automation may seem like something that hinders communication, but in reality, automation can open up communication between a sales and customer success team. For example, workflow automation tools can allow salespeople to automatically alert customer success staff of a new client and upload information collected during the sale.
True, automating tasks like this eliminates some one-on-one communication between teams. But it also means that nothing will be missed during the transition, and information can flow freely between the teams. Automation has huge potential to simplify cross-team communication.
4. Make it easy to chat.
There are a lot of great tools out there to help foster communication between teams. Whether you use Slack, Google Chat, or any other of the options available, you want to eliminate roadblocks for open communication between your sales and your customer success team.
Is the way your sales team is positioning something causing problems for your customer success team? Is a salesperson struggling to explain a new benefit that your customer success team could help with? A quick message can help in these instances, so be sure your team has the resources and support to chat freely.
When it comes to improving communication between your sales teams and customer-facing employees, there are no quick fixes. Technology can catalyze those improvements, but it can’t make them itself; in some cases, it can even get in the way.
Consider where your team communication falls short, think about the tools you actually need, and cut technologies that only add a layer of complexity. Talk openly about those changes: Silence is a terrible way to start a new communication strategy.