You want your salespeople to be able to focus on closing the deals, but they’re often left picking up tasks that don’t help them achieve that goal. That’s where sales support comes in.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at what sales support is and how this function can be a valuable addition to any sales department — plus what to look for when hiring the best sales support talent.
What Is Sales Support?
Sales support covers the tasks, roles, and technology that exist within an organization to help your sales reps do what matters most — close deals.
It’s a term that can refer to a function or collection of tasks — for example, lead generation or product training for sales reps. It can also refer to the marketing tools and software that help salespeople close deals — like an email automation tool or a real time live chat tool like ServiceBell.
Within the sales support function, you’ll also find people with roles dedicated to supporting sales reps. These sales support specialists help source leads, follow up with customers, and tackle some of the background work for the wider sales team.
Sales Support vs. Customer Support
While they may work closely together, the roles of sales support and customer support staff are often very different. Their job titles both feature support, but one is mostly client facing while the other focuses their attention on internal teams.
For customer support staff, their job is centered around providing the best possible service and support to your customers and potential customers.
Sales support associates instead focus on your internal team — giving them the resources and help they need to bring in customers and guide them through the sales process. They may interact with customers, but their primary role is to help your sales department.
How a Sales Support Role Can Help Your Business
Sales support associates and experts help make things easier for your sales reps, so they can concentrate on closing deals and bringing new customers into your ecosystem. They’re a key part of any sales operations team and a worthwhile investment.
Here are some of the main functions a sales support role assists with:
Too often, sales reps spend a lot of time finding leads, then evaluating them to see if they’re a great match before making the call. This is a time-consuming process that takes them away from their talents in relationship building and negotiation.
Instead of asking your sales reps to handle lead generation, shift this task to a dedicated sales support role.
Someone in this role can more freely scout out potential customers through their networks, social channels, and their own research. Once they’ve found potential leads, they can hand them over to your sales reps to work their magic.
After Sales Communication With Customers
Another area where salespeople find themselves all too often is lost in post-sales communication with clients. After they close the deal, you want your sales rep to be able to move onto the next lead instead of going through details and handling questions from your newly onboarded customer.
Let your sales reps get back to selling, and bring someone on board to focus on post-sales follow-ups with customers.
This dedicated sales support role can focus on building client relationships, supporting onboarding, and helping to increase customer satisfaction. Have them work closely with your wider customer support team, but keep the focus on supporting your sales team.
Product Training for Sales Reps
Every time you launch a new feature or bring something new to the market, your sales reps need to know about it. They need insider knowledge about your product or service offering — right to the last detail. Without this, closing sales is harder — especially in a competitive space.
Give your sales representatives the best chance to close sales calls by having a support specialist on hand to provide in-depth product training. Have this person upskill your sales department and keep them in the loop about product changes, updates, sales strategies, and benefits — so your potential customers get the very best information without compromising your sales reps’ time and attention.
General Support for Marketing and Sales Teams
There are so many different steps in the sales process, and too often, each one of these is handled by individual salespeople. They’re expected to understand the latest product developments, scout out potential leads, and handle admin and back office processes. This means they spend less time on what they’re best at — making sales.
Bringing in sales support staff gives you the opportunity to provide much-needed assistance to your sales team. However, this support role can also be an asset to your marketing team — providing a link between sales and marketing and making it easier to create and distribute marketing materials to the right people.
This extra pair of hands can help create templates for frequently used sales processes, assist with data entry, and support the distribution of press releases to relevant audiences.
The right sales support staff will be able to assist your sales team and wider teams in a variety of ways, so they can focus their attention on their main role.
What to Look For in Your Sales Support Team
When you’re hiring for any role in a sales organization or department, consider which key attributes, skills, and personality traits you’re looking for. Think about what’s most important to you, your company culture, and the role.
If you’re thinking of adding a sales support associate to your department, here are some key skills and attributes we think are great to have.
Being a skilled sales support associate first starts with being able to communicate well with others. This is a role where candidates need exceptional interpersonal skills, as they’ll always be working with others.
You want your sales support staff to be confident, comfortable, and excited about collaborating with and assisting others — whether that’s your in-house sales team or a newly onboarded customer. They need to be great at empathy, clear communication, and have a passion for trying to serve others.
If you offer sales support to customers across multiple channels, look for someone who’s comfortable not only on the phone but in front of the camera too.
With tools like ServiceBell, you can bring your customer support and sales support to your website with live video chat, so having an associate whose passion for support comes through on camera is a huge bonus.
Attention to Detail
As your sales support staff is mostly available to assist your sales team and help them work more efficiently, they need to pay close attention to detail. If they don’t, they could end up creating even more work and losing time on fixing problems that arise.
Seek candidates that are excellent at following instructions, appreciate the power of a process, and pay attention to every detail. They need to be highly accurate — especially when working with customer or lead data or running product training sessions.
It’s essential that they can spot and resolve errors, fact check, and stay organized. After all, they need to run things smoothly so the team that they support can thrive.
Natural Problem Solving
Things don’t always work as they should, and the sales process is no exception. You might discover that some of your data is old, uncover a flaw in a new product push, or encounter a challenging situation with a brand new client. No day is the same as the last, so your ideal sales support associate needs to be a natural problem solver.
Add people to your sales support team who are curious and great at identifying a way to fix a problem. They need to be able to think clearly, consider risks, and evaluate options to find the best way to tackle a challenge — whether it’s a process that doesn’t work or a disgruntled customer.
With great problem solving skills, this person will be a strong asset to your team and provide much-needed practical and emotional support when problems arise.
Approach Sales Support Like a Pro
Your salespeople need the space, freedom, and opportunity to focus on what they do best — closing those deals. Give them everything they need and the backup of a stellar team by investing in sales support associates and software. With the right tools and support team, your sales department can continue to excel.
If you’re looking for a sales support tool that helps bring your leads closer to conversion, give ServiceBell a try. Our real-time, live video chat means your potential customers can speak to your sales team without even leaving the page. Explore how this works with our free plan today.