Over 2 years ago, we changed our business. We went from selling expensive software to having a monthly online service.
There were big implications for our cash flow, the upfront risk our customers take, and the fact that we manage servers with critical business information. However, we didn’t realize the full scope of the change.
One place where we’ve kept struggling with the change is in how we do sales. Over the last few years, our “sales” calls extend way past the time we get a credit card.
Implementing and retaining our customers has gotten more critical to our business, since we don’t get large amounts of money when people first buy. So, instead of just calling new prospects, most of our sales time is spent talking to existing customers.
Having a salesperson who’s driven by commission is how we’d always done it in the past. But, we’ve been going through gyrations in compensation plans and job expectations. The old model of paying commissions doesn’t match the new reality of what our employees are doing – being account managers for our customers from the time they first contact us… ‘til… well, forever.
So, after this week, we will no longer have “salespeople”. We won’t pay commissions, we won’t measure performance purely on financial metrics, and we’ll have a smoother, simpler process. This is a good thing for everyone – our customers, our employees, and our company.
How customers benefit
Better continuity – When you first have a conversation with someone at Moraware as a prospect, you build rapport with us. Instead of losing part of that relationship as soon as you give us money, we want that relationship to get deeper over time. And we we’ll improve how we remember details about our customers from before they subscribed to our service.
Better coverage – As long as we have a division between sales and support, our customers can’t just pick up the phone any time – they have to make sure the appropriate person is available. We want every person who answers the phone at Moraware to be able to answer almost any question. We’re okay at that now, but it will officially become part of everyone’s role.
Better expectations – since the person who’s introducing you to our software is also going to be the person who’s helping you get started, it’s in their best interest to give you a very clear, informed, and realistic view of how the entire process will work.
How our employees benefit
Being a team – Moraware is a small company, and being able to share experiences is really hard if we’re specialized. If you’re the only person doing support, you can’t easily bounce ideas off of other people. Plus, it’s difficult to measure your own strengths and weaknesses. Now, we’ve effectively given everyone more peers.
More varied work – All of us want to be challenged and engaged in our work. Combining the sales calls with support calls helps make for a more interesting workday.
Seeing the big picture – When prospects first call us, they describe business problems and we show them how our software can help solve them. However, those business conversations get a little lost in the translation from sales to technical support. Being able to ask “How will this help your business” changes how we think of support. Instead of just thinking about the minutiae, we’ll all get a more complete picture. Even trivial support questions are making our customers lives better.
How Moraware benefits
Cross-training – we’ve got a small company, and if one person goes on vacation, it has a major impact on the operations. Now, rather than relying on specialists, we actually have better coverage for sales and support than we ever did in the past.
Happier customers – All of the stuff in the “How customers benefit” section ultimately benefits our company, too. Anything we can do to increase the number of companies who’re successfully using our software is a great thing. By reducing the friction between sales and support, we’re going to make the overall process better.
Easier to grow – We’ve talked about how we grow in the future, and trying to balance sales and support always seemed like a daunting task. How do we scale one function without touching the other? We know the bulk of our support happens right after a new sale, so how can you grow sales without more support? By combining the responsibilities, it takes care of itself.
We’re really excited about changing from having separate sales and support to a combined role. If you’re a customer or prospect reading this, hopefully the only impact you’ll see is that our customer service, sales, and the overall experience of dealing with Moraware just got better.
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