Google advertisers are confused between support and sales – we asked for clarification

Google is concerned there may be confusion around the roles of its sales and support departments.

Advertisers recently groused that support is at an all-time low, accusing Google employees of bombarding them with “aggressive” phone calls pushing for the implementation of automated solutions.

The employees making those calls are members of the sales team, not support, according to a Google spokesperson. The sales team has competitive targets and is rewarded with performance-related commissions, which may explain why they’re so aggressive in their outreach. (Editor’s note: Working on commission does not excuse overly aggressive or misleading outreach.)

Misconceptions: Where does “sales” end and “support” begin

The confusion seems to stem, at least in part, from overlapping responsibilities of the sales and support teams. For example, sales reps don’t just sell advertising. In some instances, they also try to help advertisers report issues that require assistance from support to resolve. Helping customers is a common characteristic of the highest-performing sales reps in all organizations.

Google has a responsibility to provide clearer distinctions between its sales and support departments, Georgi Zayakov, Team Lead SEA/Amazon at The Reach Group told us. He emphasized that clarification could enhance trust between Google Ads and its customers. He said:

  • “I can understand that there are hard targets, and with recent layoffs, people might be unsettled and fearing for their jobs. But it has never been clearly communicated that the people making these calls are sales people.”
  • “Even their positions in their email signatures never mention ‘sales’, but rather ‘solutions’ or ‘account management’, and so on.”
  • “Google needs to do more to clarify the difference because it creates unrealistic expectations from advertisers.”
  • “This might explain why so many agency and in-house professionals are frustrated – we expect genuine help and unbiased perspective. When the incentives of the other side are set wrong, tensions and mistrust are a normal consequence.”

‘Google is not transparent’

Google must more clearly define the difference between sales and support, according to PPC consultant Peter Bowen. He said:

  • “It’s hard to tell the difference between support and sales – and I don’t think Google has ever done anything to explain the difference.”
  • “When you figure out that you’re talking to a vendor’s sales person, you are aware that their interests are making more sales.”
  • “When you’re talking to someone you think is support, you think they’re helping you.”
  • “The problem is that Google is not transparent, and calls and emails from their (sales) reps are couched in language designed to think you’re speaking with someone who is interested in helping you get the best from your account.”

‘Clarification is needed’

Anthony Higman, CEO of online advertising agency Adsquire, told Search Engine Land that, in the last two years, no one from Google who contacted him or his company identified themselves as a sales representative. Despite receiving “thousands” of emails and phone calls, Google employees have consistently presented themselves as “reps” or “Google Ads experts.” That creates the false impression that their focus is on assisting rather than selling. And that causes mistrust. He said:

  • “We have been so aggressively harassed in the past two years that we also really dont want to engage with anyone from Google because of the horrible experiences.”
  • “We are a smaller agency and get five calls a day and five emails – responding to each of those would take us away from getting our work done.”
  • “Regardless of what they call themselves, all of the outreach we have gotten has been to push auto-applied recommendations or smart bidding, and no one who has contacted us has actually offered any support or been able to fix any of the ongoing issues with accounts.”
  • “So I would definitely be interested in clarification on who actually offers any support and what the difference is between sales and support since they all call themselves Google Ads experts but clearly don’t know much about Google ads.”

Support explained

Support, also referred to as Google Technical Services or gTech, is tasked with assisting customers in troubleshooting technical issues related to Google Ads products or services. Access to available support channels can be found through the “Contact Us” section in the Help Center or via the “Help” icon when logged into your account.

The support team has targets to meet when it comes to response times and should respond to your questions “quickly”. However, Google is aware that this isn’t always the case, and explained that response times can vary based on volume and complexity.

In light of these issues, the search engine is investing in improvements to the Ads Help Center, which is designed to help customers self-resolve issues more quickly and reliably. It has also been experimenting with potential AI solutions. Google reassured that AI is not replacing human support, rather, is being explored as an additional component to enhance customer support.

If you can’t find a solution to your problem via the Ads Help Center or via the support team, Google encourages advertisers to make a formal complaint about their experience as this should not be happening. Although some advertisers are hesitant to file complaints, the search engine has reiterated the importance of customer feedback so that it can get better.

The roles of Sales

Google sales reps are tasked with engaging customers in discussions about new solutions, products, and features, encompassing AI solutions.

Advertisers are assigned Google sales representatives periodically, determined by various factors, as the company provides different types of sales support. For instance, an account strategist may be assigned for a short duration to aid in onboarding and scaling an account. This approach may explain why your sales rep seems to change so often.

Sales reps may also proactively contact customers to provide updates on product offerings or suggest ways to optimize their campaigns. Given Google’s continuous introduction of new products and improvements, this may explain the volume of calls and email.

Get the daily newsletter search marketers rely on.

After the initial interaction with a member from Google’s sales team, you should receive an email containing a link to a feedback survey. Google encourages users to share their feedback, whether positive or constructive, to contribute to the improvement of sales processes and enhance the overall customer experience with Google Ads.

Hopefully, this in-depth exploration has addressed some of your questions regarding the distinction between Google Ads support and sales. For more information, you can read our investigation into the quality of Google Ads support.

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About the author

Nicola Agius

Nicola Agius is Paid Media Editor of Search Engine Land after joining in 2023. She covers paid search, paid social, retail media and more. Prior to this, she was SEO Director at Jungle Creations (2020-2023), overseeing the company’s editorial strategy for multiple websites. She has over 15 years of experience in journalism and has previously worked at OK! Magazine (2010-2014), Mail Online (2014-2015), Mirror (2015-2017), Digital Spy (2017-2018) and The Sun (2018-2020). She also previously teamed up with SEO agency Blue Array to co-author Amazon bestselling book Mastering In-House SEO.

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