Customer Service to Sales: We Need to Talk

November 12, 2015, 1:00 PM UTC
Key Speakers At The DreamForce Conference
Attendees arrive to the Moscone Center during the DreamForce Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013. Inc. introduced an overhauled version of its mobile software, seeking to ensure clients and partners will be able to use more features of the company√s sales, marketing and customer service software. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by David Paul Morris — Bloomberg via Getty Images

It stands to reason most salespeople would appreciate knowing about customer service issues experienced by key accounts—especially if they happen to be paying a sales call right after an incident. But at the same time, shouldn’t customer support teams be encouraged to prioritize their company’s most strategic accounts? Often, the inability to do either of these things comes down to incomplete data.

Salesforce (CRM) wants to get around this with new technology that links two of its existing products—the customer service system and SalesforceIQ, the sales intelligence application the company picked up in August 2014 through its acquisition of RelateIQ. The latter already plucks relevant data from email interactions and calendars (among other sources), and appends them to customer account records, so sales team can be “smarter” about how to approach someone. Now, however, it can do the same for customer service reports.

“If a sales rep can see real time if there’s a case, they can adjust their behavior,” SalesforceIQ CEO Steve Loughlin tells Fortune. “Everybody wins in that scenario.”

There’s no charge for the new technology, but the catch is that a company must use both and SalesforceIQ to benefit from this union.

Salesforce isn’t the only company talking up the intersection between customer service and better sales intelligence. In late October, cloud customer service company Zendesk (ZEN) paid $45 million for BIME Analytics. Zendesk’s motivation was similar: help businesses assess the connection between events, such as a product launch, and customer service activity.

“Organizations that not only have critical data but also know how to bring it all together and make sense of it are going to better understand their customers and, ultimately, win and keep more of them for a lifetime,” Zendesk CEO Mikkel Svane told Fortune last month.

But the pool is already crowded. Another cloud software company integrating sales and support applications, Zoho, also caters to small and midsize businesses, like Salesforce is looking to do. “Having one vendor provide deep integrations of these applications—at the SMB level—is an important development,” says Brent Leary, managing partner with CRM Essentials, a consulting firm specializing in sales management issues.

Follow Heather Clancy on Twitter at @greentechlady or via her RSS feed. And please subscribe to Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily newsletter on the business of technology.

How do other tech companies handle customer service? Watch this Fortune video and see how Kayak handles theirs.

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