Sales is where the rubber hits the road – you have to get the product right, you have to message it to the right audience, you have to build relationships and get the business models right, but assuming that all is in order, the sales numbers are the most direct indicators of success, and driving those numbers up will benefit all.
In our January marketing post on ‘Ten Truths about the New Sales Professionals’, we noted that the new sales professionals are more customer-oriented, more tech-savvy, more community-oriented, more collaborative, and more proactive. Given the above, below are some tips for enabling sales for the organization.
Be Customer Oriented
1. The customer dictates whether a product or service will succeed, not the product, not the market, so work with your sales team to better understand the needs of your current and anticipated customers. Reward customer-oriented behavior, and making serving-the-customer job #1, regardless of level and role within an organization.
2. Understanding the ‘job’ of your customers and prospects, the ‘pain and obstacles’ to doing the job well and efficiently, and the potential ‘gain’ when it’s done well is key to the success of a company.
3. Build engagement and connections between engineering, marketing, sales, and management. Partnerships between sales, marketing, engineering, finance, management, etc will best lead to that understanding as we all have a piece of the puzzle, and it’s everyone’s job to build a customer-oriented culture.
4. Hire and retain only those who are collaborative, customer-focused and team-oriented. There’s no room for Marketing professionals who snub sales people, Sales professionals who focus only on their own numbers, or Engineering professionals who think that it’s all about the solution.
5. Technology is key to understanding and even anticipating the needs of the customer and how your company and efficiently and collaboratively deliver to meet that need. Empower finance, technology and marketing professionals to support sales professionals in understanding why customers are buying, how to close deals, and what anticipated buying trends are.
6. Social media, mobile apps and tools, data analytics and cloud solutions will help connect and empower the stakeholders within and outside the organization to deliver quality products and services to customers. Across omni-channel communications become the norm, it’s essential to leverage the technologies and tools to empower, connect, serve, and leverage within and across stakeholders across the value chain.
7. Identify stakeholders throughout the ecosystem and their motivations for participating and engaging. Knowing the types of stakeholders involved with your organization as well as individual top-performers and partners will help you more strategically serve that niche market overall, build a tighter community, as well as a larger network.
8. Create layers of participation, from member to partner, from ambassador to SuperFan, and proactively engage with the community. Provide resources and education to empower and connect within, between and across these layers.
9. Proactively creating and serving communities of stakeholders will engage them at a deeper level, empower them to proactively share their needs and successes, and invite them to become SuperFans – those who will promote you to their trusted friends. Proactively and strategically rewarding all internal players for their efforts in building sales will build relationships within the company while directly impacting the bottom line.
10. Proactively managing toward a customer-oriented, community-oriented, collaborative approach leveraging technology will strategically set your company apart.
In conclusion, remember that your plans for the company are just a dream without a paying customer, your technology may be nice, but it’s not a business without a customer. Collaborating to generate those sales is key to the success for any organization.