Begin the Conversation: Sales, Marketing and Customer Service Alignment

Without customers, your business wouldn’t exist. That’s why it’s becoming increasingly important to put them as the central focus of your business' operations; anticipating their needs, and delighting them with premium support every step of the way. One way to set your customers up for success is through the HubSpot flywheel.

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The HubSpot flywheel provides a new way of looking at how customers interact with your business at every stage, which includes the marketing, sales and customer service phases of their journey. While many companies are beginning to focus on sales and marketing alignment, some are also forgetting to include customer service into this mix.

The most effective approach to customer success involves aligning all three teams to produce a powerful, unified force that aims to keep customers delighted and coming back for more.

HubSpot Flywheel

The traditional marketing funnel guides prospects through marketing and sales, and then considers the job complete once the sale is made. It looks at the customer journey as linear, with a clear beginning and end. Turning customers into promoters is typically an afterthought, if it’s a thought at all.

The HubSpot flywheel, on the other hand, looks at the customer journey as an ongoing cycle that never ends. The customer is the focal point during marketing, sales and customer service, ensuring each customer meets with success at every stage of the game for as many times as the game is played.

The overall aim is not to shuttle a prospect to a sale, but rather to establish and maintain a lifelong relationship that transforms prospects into customers into loyal promoters and fans.

See Also: From Funnel to Flywheel: Turning Customers into Promotes

Why is Alignment Necessary?

Alignment among your teams is the key to making it all happen. Unless marketing, sales and customer service are all on the same page when it comes to customer success, the entire structure is apt to break down and fall apart.

That means your company needs to do more than just focus on the customer, it needs to focus on the right customer, or those who are an ideal fit for the product or services you offer.

Sales

When your sales team is not aligned, they may sell to the wrong customer, or those that aren’t a good fit with your product or service. This can result in:

  • Dismal levels of customer success
  • More customer service inquiries, help tickets and complaints
  • Higher churn, along with fewer cross-sells, upsells and referrals across the board

While churn issues may appear to result from poor customer service, they can often be traced back to selling to the wrong customer, or expectations which are not met upon delivery. Even if the wrong customers don’t end up churning, they can end up eating up copious amounts of customer service energy and time.

Marketing

Failure to align your marketing team can result in its own lineup of negative consequences, such as:

  • A waste of marketing efforts and resources going after the wrong audience or too broad an audience
  • Being unable to tap into the greatest marketing opportunity of all, which are happy customers

Customer testimonials, case studies and video interviews with delighted customers can provide tons of marketing traction. People listen to what other customers say more attentively than they listen to a marketing or sales pitch.

Customer Service

When customer service isn’t part of the sales and marketing alignment strategy, bad customer service can result. This can leave you with:

  • Current customers leaving in disgust
  • Horrible reviews that even the best marketing is unable to fix

Again, the voice of your customers is the loudest voice out there. Disappoint them at any phase of the flywheel, and that voice may be heard loud and clear echoing over the internet.

See Also: How Customer Reviews Affect Your SEO

How to Align Sales, Marketing and Customer Service

Aligning your sales, marketing and customer services teams can start with a few strategic moves.

  • Pod team structure: Try creating “selling pods,” which consist of three employees from different departments: one sales, one marketing and one customer service team member. Pod members share their experience while helping each other keep the customer focus.
  • Customer-centric compensation: Consider compensation structures that reward team members for selling to the right customers, such as providing compensation based on the lifetime value of the customer or based on cross-sells and upsells.
  • Fine-tuned inbound marketing strategy: Create strong buyer personas as well as equally strong marketing messages and content that attracts the right leads.
  • Exceptional service: Aim to exceed expectations at every turn, with exceptional service that delights customers and prompts their return again and again.

Customers today know what they want, and they aren’t shy about voicing their displeasure or leaving if they don’t get it. A strategic way to ensure you meet their desires and needs is with sales, marketing and customer service alignment that keeps the customer front and center while providing high levels of customer success. 

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