7 Ways to Support Your Sales Team

Having a company without sales support is like riding a bike with a rusty chain.

Sure, it can work, and on certain days you might even be pleasantly surprised by how far you can go. But the fact is, there’s almost no way it’s going to run as efficiently (and for as long) as it potentially could.

Sales support simply makes your sales team more efficient. To find out why, as well our main tips for making it as effective as possible, continue reading!

What is sales support?

Sales support is a role, department, best practice or resource that can help your salespeople more effectively find and close deals.

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Of course, what sales support actually looks like will depend entirely on a company's size. A small business can likely afford some kind of product training, an active blog, live chat and a CRM system.

Bigger companies? Depending on their budget, these companies might be able to invest in automation and sales support specialists that can search for leads and hand over the most promising ones to sales reps.

Now that we know what sales support actually is…why does it matter?

Sales support: why it’s important for company success

Let’s start with two of the more tangible benefits that sales support can have for your organization:

It brings teams together

By providing more shared resources devoted to their success, your salespeople can work more effectively as a team. This is in direct contrast to a “siloed” working style, which continues to plague sales and marketing teams across industries.

Gatekeeping information and resources and limiting interaction between teams will hurt your sales efforts. Both sales and marketing have a shared goal so these teams should be closely aligned.

It allows your sales team to focus on their strengths

Your sales team is at their best when they are doing what they were hired to do: sell. Sales support takes over tasks that are important to your sales team’s overall success, but are repetitive and time-consuming, like setting up demos with inbound leads and scheduling check-in calls with customers.

Conversely, poor sales support (or none at all) puts your salespeople in a situation where they are expected to do almost everything themselves. This naturally lends itself to an overly rigid structure that may block your sales team from hitting their goals and potentially lead to burnout.

Two people meeting in an office
Check in with your team regularly to learn where they need the most help to reach their sales goals.

For an example of a business that failed because it didn’t prioritize sales support, look no further than the demise of Hipmunk. A former designer at the company shared that Hipmunk wasted time on features that didn’t actually matter instead of focusing on traffic from quality SEO content. This team misalignment hurt their sales and put them far behind the competition.

Hipmunk's website after the shutdown
No longer the site of an up-and-coming travel booking company…

Poor sales support also makes it difficult for your reps to provide personalized communication with customers. Your sales team is forced to take on more day-to-day tasks and can’t focus on what really matters: deeper relationships with individual clients.

Multiply this over an entire sales team and you have created a situation that can make or break a company. To learn about the positive effects of sales support, check out this McKinsey study.

How to support your sales team

  1. Training and workshops
  2. Ongoing product knowledge
  3. Customer support sync
  4. Tools and automation
  5. Lead generation
  6. Email automation
  7. Paid media

Training and workshops

The quickest way to give your employees the sales support they need is through intensive training. This should focus on the specific industries they target, and follow the same procedure, materials and best practices used by the whole team. For example, trying to generate customers in the solar industry will require a different subset of skills and knowledge than SaaS products.

In addition to high quality training, we also encourage focused workshops with your team. It creates the perfect opportunity to share ideas and new approaches that rarely make it to the surface when everyone is working solo.

Sales team outbound workshop
Our sales team at their outbound-focused offsite.

In sales, we believe it’s important to try out new things, think outside the box and discover new approaches. If a team member has an idea or insight, we will gather and create a workshop to see how we can use this knowledge to our advantage. These small training sessions keep us creative, motivated and honestly, just make our day more fun.

Levin Vollmann, account manager at Userlike

Ongoing product knowledge

If your employees are going to effectively sell your product, they need to be experts. Their confidence in answering any question a customer may have - thus eliminating doubt - will help customers make an informed buying decision.

Here’s how to train your sales reps about your product:

  • A thorough onboarding of your products or services. How long this takes will depend on your product or industry. According to sales training specialists at Rain Group, it takes an average of three months for a new seller to interact with buyers. At Userlike, our sales reps have complete product proficiency and are interacting with customers in less than 4-5 weeks.
  • Using your product. If onboarding builds a general background of your product, actually using it will cement this knowledge. This is something that sportswear company Ryzon prioritizes. Giving their employees heavy discounts on Ryzon clothing (and encouraging them to wear it) ensures everyone is aware of how the clothes actually feel and perform. This makes it easier to sell from firsthand experience.
  • Regular product updates. These should be shared with the entire team so they know what's new or changing as well as the general direction of your product. This is also helpful for account managers so they can keep their contacts regularly updated on what’s new.
  • Conversations with current customers. What better way to gain insight into what customers actually think about your products than to talk directly with them. This also helps you maintain close, long-term relationships with your customer base.
  • Brainstorms and roleplaying. At Lime, for example, they ask new trainees to sell Lime to a fake company that they assign, with a member of Lime posing as the buyer. This training process forces new employees to be creative with how they pitch the product, all while learning about Lime in the process and building up confidence.

Customer support sync

Your customer service team is instrumental in their support of your salespeople. For example, because they have constant contact with customers, service reps can quickly identify opportunities for upselling.

If a customer is highly engaged with a product and asks a ton of questions about it, your support rep can then forward them to one of your salespeople or the account manager of the client. This feeds upsell and cross-sell opportunities directly to your sales team.

More generally, your customer support team has valuable information from past customer interactions. Assuming they are using a tool which makes it easy to maintain customer data profiles, this information can be shared with your sales team when they need it.

The result? Your sales people go into each interaction with leads and current customers informed and ready to provide personalized recommendations.

Tools and automation

Sales support is more efficient and effective with the right tools. These are some of our favorites, including their G2 ratings.

  • Userlike (4.4/5)
  • A big part of sales is qualifying leads and building relationships with them. Still, this is a process that your salespeople are likely spending too much time on, and could be better left to sales support.

    Use customizable widgets to connect customers to the appropriate representative.

    Make the switch easier with live chat. We make it simple to chat with your site visitors and move them through your lead generation funnel, so your sales reps can take over when it’s time to close the deal.

  • Notion (4.6/5)
  • This is what we use at Userlike to build our knowledge base. This keeps all company knowledge in one place that can be accessed by employees and customers.

    The result? No more looking through tons of inactive Google drive folders for the answer to a single question. A shared knowledge base makes sure your sales reps are armed with answers and don’t risk sharing misinformation.

    Notion homepage icons
    Everything you need to know about Userlike stored in one place.
  • Calendly (4.7/5)
  • Need a handy tool for quickly scheduling meetings? We recommend Calendly. Simply send a link to prospective customers and they are presented with a list of potential days and times for a meeting or demo.

    This is great for saving time and keeps the dreaded “back and forth” of scheduling meetings to a minimum. It also makes your sales team look more professional!

  • Lime (4.5/5)
  • If you need an advanced CRM that helps you at every step of the customer journey, look no further than Lime.

    Lime CRM web client overview

    You have everything from your contacts’ information to your marketing to-do lists in one place. Get everything done quicker and more effectively to make things clearer and simpler for your sales team.

  • Zapier (4.5/5)
  • Automation is the ultimate time saver. Your sales people have better things to do than devoting their precious time to repetitive tasks.

    Zapier makes it easy to automate important processes, such as automatically adding leads from your webinar signup page on Eventbrite to your sales management software. If you’re ready to hit the ground running, check out Zapier’s quick start guide.

Lead generation

Staying in contact with key accounts is important, but your sales team also needs a steady incoming stream of potential customers. This is where a lead generation system pays dividends.

If you can, invest in a Userlike lead generation team. If not, there are also inexpensive ways to gain leads that are just as effective over the long-term. This includes blog content, webinars and lead magnets.

Check out our ultimate guide to digital lead generation to create your own system. If you want to dive deeper, here are some of our most popular articles on the topic:

Userlike: Instant chats, long-term customer relationships

Over 10,000 companies like Toyota and Hermes trust Userlike to connect with their customers every day - via website chat, WhatsApp, chatbots and more.

Learn more

Email automation

The beauty of email automation is that it’s constantly running in the background and doing the selling for you. This takes the pressure off of your salespeople to constantly keep your company at the top of customers’ minds. Sales support indeed!

To get the biggest bang for your buck, focus on automating the most important email flows first. This can have an immediate positive impact on your sales. Here are three to get started with as well as a few tips for each:

  • Welcome flow. People want to know who you are, as email giant Klaviyo points out. Consider sharing your origin story with them. New subscribers are also as motivated as they are likely to ever be, so be sure to give them an incentive to check out.
  • Cart abandonment flow. Tons of revenue is lost each year to abandoned carts. Send reminders to the customer about the items saved in their cart. If they still haven’t returned to buy after numerous emails over a week, you might consider an automatically generated discount code.
  • Post purchase flow. What products or services go well with what your customer purchased? It’s often much easier to sell to an existing customer than to go out and find a new one, so give them a chance to buy again!

With email marketing, it’s also easy to set up a system based on tagging.

Lime CRM tagging function
Lime makes it easy to tag your subscribers with information.

This lets you attach specific info to your email subscribers, which makes personalized reach out by your sales team a breeze.