Saturday, 25 September 2010

The critical role of non-sales

Selling is too important to be left to salespeople. The customer's engagement doesn't stop with the order placed with a salesperson. Indeed it could be argued that the Customer's expeience has only just begun with the supplier. The business development engine must be kept running.
(Large engine at the Science Museum , South Kensington , London.)

Most customer encounters must be developed for more sales and long-term account relationship.

Like stages of compression and expansion of the piston of an engine momentum must be maintained. In petrol engines the ‘Otto cycle’ has four stokes (1).intake, (2 ) compression, combustion (power), and (4) exhaust strokes of the cycle and similarly momentum must not be lost for the business dvelopemnt cycle.

A prospective customer’s perception of trust and credibility similarly fluctuates throughout the Customer Relationship Cycle. Such a cycle typically begins with the customer’s “intaking” (1) of the sales person’s initial approach . During this phase, the customer maybe initially unconvinced of both the salesperson and the product or service being sold.

The salesperson then establishes trust by understanding the customer’s needs (2) combustion and demonstrating the value of the proposed solution (3 ) expansion. The highest communications cost to your company. The customer then chooses your company and the deal is closed. Your customer acquisition costs decrease .This is the highest point of customer interest! The customer is excited and expectant.

Typically, the salesperson moves on to the next opportunity leaving the relationship in the hands of service and support. Customer acquisition costs stabilize, but at this very point, the customer can feel abandoned, the relationship plummets and the customer relationship is broken. It is equivalent to the (4) exhaust stroke petering out and the engine stalling. There are many roles in businesses which do not describe themselves as a sales function yet do have a soft selling responsibility because the role entails such activities as providing customer service and support, managing client relationships , marketing to customers or maybe Installing and servicing systems.

Yet what would it mean to your company if all non-sales front-line employees in these roles could find new business for your organisation ?

1. Your company could generate more repeat business and deeper customer loyalty.
2. Your company could increase its sales force without adding to the field sales headcount 3. A previously considered cost centre becomes a profit centre and adds value to the business.

On-going business development from these key non-sales front-line staff is critical for protecting and expanding customer relationships. Your customers will feel at less risk when they trust not only the salesperson but also your entire organization as a trained back up non - sales team team is perceived. The development of Brand loyalty and the perception of long-term value begins sooner and account revenue will be maximized.

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