How to use your entire organization for sales and marketing process improvement

Whether employees directly sell products and services or not, managers should develop the attitude that they nonetheless are “selling” the company at all times, no matter if they are secretaries, the computer guy, or service desk workers.

The customer can be inspired to buy based on any exposure — and that exposure should reinforce the sense of the company as competent, friendly and a great place to do business. Consider the following ways that employees beyond the sales team can influence and boost sales and marketing.

The Lobby: First & Last Impressions

For customers visiting a brick-and-mortar office or store, first impressions can whet or destroy a customer’s appetite for products and services. The atmosphere, the people encountered and the general feeling of the business can condition the mind of a customer.

Having lobby receptionists, secretaries and other frontline helpers buy into the sales mission should be the first task of the sales and marketing process improvement teams. These workers should be attentive as soon as the customer enters, maintain a courteous and pleasant nature, and create a warm and welcoming environment, with strategic decoration, sounds (or silence) and visuals.

The lobby is an ideal place to teach the customer to admire the company’s offerings. Product excellence can be touted by displaying product awards, prototypes in glass enclosures, photos of promotional events and vintage or modern advertising posters.

Whether the customer agrees to a purchase or not, the last impression of the business is also the responsibility of the lobby staff.  They should be trained to thank and bid farewell to the customer. If any part of the visit has been unpleasant, the staff can also offer small tokens, ranging from pieces of candy to gift cards and coupons, depending on the situation.

Front desk staff should also be very attuned to any indication that a visitor is interested in buying, and call a salesperson right away. And, if the interaction results in a closed deal, a small commission or bonus should be given to whichever staff member(s) referred the buyer to the sales department.

Customer Service: the Key to Long-Term Satisfaction
Ongoing customer relationships are crucial to repeat and long-term sales. Keeping current customers happy, however, is really the job of customer service representatives; they answer queries via emails, phone calls, online chats, text messages and fax.

Whether they are out-sourced or in-house, the customer service agent’s knowledge, attitude, helpfulness and ability to properly transfer calls to the right problem-solver can determine whether customers buy again or buy from a competitor. If agents cannot satisfy the customer, the company can lose both reputation and revenue.

Reviewing and upgrading customer service is a must for the sales and marketing process improvement teams.  Teams can stage auditions or role-play activities and teach personal skills. Ongoing training, customer surveys and mentoring can help service agents improve their customer response strategies.

In general, sales and marketing efforts can be improved when customer service reps are encouraged to:

  • Smile as they talk to customers on the phone (it creates a pleasant tone)
  • Go out of their way to find special ways to mitigate problems.
  • Test well on product knowledge and typical product issues.
  • Upsell after addressing customer’s main purpose for contact (and they should earn $$$ for it).
  • Remind customers of all available products and services that might fit their situation.
  • Offer long-term customers complimentary services to inspire loyalty.
  • Prove they have good interpersonal skills before being hired.  (Training won’t suddenly make an anti-social worker a people person).


IT & Sales: The Online Experience

If the company’s site loads slow, if headlines and images fail to engage, or if there are too many distractions on the homepage or landing page, the customer may be desensitized to promotions and may decide to shop elsewhere.  Everything from lingering pop-up ads to the location of opt-ins and other calls to action can influence sales success.

Since information technology staffers are the brains behind how well a website functions, clearly the IT team is a pivotal part of sales and should be enlisted by the sales and marketing process improvement teams for experiments that can help the company create the best online customer atmosphere.

The number one goal for these IT-marketing projects is to regularly test layouts, designs and configurations to see how they affect customer moods and buying behavior.  Most experts recommend testing website features for a week at a time with focus groups comprised of people from the business’ target demographic. Live A/B tests should also be done see which layouts and verbiage drive the most sales.

When every person in the business is dedicated to marketing products and closing sales, a unity of purpose is created that will lead to success. In my company, everyone is taught to think like a salesperson no matter their official role, and we are successful because of it. Copy this attitude at yours and you will make more money.



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