We have a subscription-based business model so our
support engineers interact with the customers quite a bit,
along with the sales and technical sales folks.
Have you seen any best industry best practices or various
programs for support engineers in helping the sales and
technical sales engineering folks either upsell/cross-sell
customers or just uncover new opportunities?
Thanks for the question. In the new world of the
subscription/cloud model – the increased engagement of
the technical support engineers is becoming increasingly
common. So much so that I’ve started to see some good
TSE’s move into a classic presales position (both inside
and field based).
The major skills to work on with the TSE’s are Curiosity and
Conversations – which may sound a little strange, but they
go hand-in-hand. Now you don’t want to tell them that one
of their primary goals is to upsell the customer (or even set
them “quotas”) as that becomes self-defeating. Their body
language/non-verbal positioning still needs to be “we’re
not sales and we are here to help you NOT to sell you”.
That said – the TSE needs to start having a conversation
with their customer instead of just answering questions.
Customer: "We need to set up the Reverse Left-handed
Network Osmosis option, can you tell me how to do that?"
TSE (Old Style) : "Certainly. First you need to find that little
options button in the top right of the web control panel, and
then you .."
TSE (New Style) :"Certainly. Happy to help you with that. Just
out of curiosity, what do you intend to use it for? That info
might help me give you some better information about
TSE(New Style) : "Certainly. I can walk you through that. You
know, I’ve helped a number of customer do this over the past
six months, and many of them have also looked at the Neural
Phase Inverter too. Once we get this Reverse Osmosis
configured would you like to hear about how some other
customers have used that together with the NPI to …. ? "
It sounds like a really, really simple thing to do, but it isn’t
and actually requires some training – both in the discipline
and soft skills of the conversation and a lot of coaching
and role-plays. Many TSE’s feel that a technical question
deserves a technical answer – no matter what. Instead they
need a little patience so they can figure out WHY a
customer wants to do something before they give the
A classic curiousity example was another customer of mine
where the TSE received a call about Asian language
support. He provided all the information and web links and
didn’t ask why there was interest until prompted by his
“coach”. Turned out their customer was planning a major
international expansion and would ultimately end-up
needing a couple of thousand extra licenses!!