With the advancement in technology, increase in the pace of globalization, and rise in business competition, the need for having a dynamic sales team has become inevitable. Customers have become knowledgeable than before with the infiltration of ecommerce, that has fostered online sales through websites, sales through portals such as eBay, Amazon etc., sales using social media and currently sales through android based mobile applications.
Sales operators need to become the driving force behind productivity enhancement across sales, setting future vision and managing the path towards such vision. Hence the GenNext sales team can be built in the following manner –
Sales team as centers of Excellence
Earlier the basic job profiles of a sales representative was restricted to making cold calls and achieve as much sales as possible. There was minimum focus on building customer relationships, offering customized solution to their problems and making a sale in a manner that satisfies customer needs. As centers of excellence sales team also needs to build trust based customer relationships, offering solution and providing excellent services at the same time. Sales force must also be clearly aware of the organizational mission, vision, values, goals and objectives as they represent the company to the most important stakeholders, i.e. the customers.
Integrate their activities with the CRM team
The sales personnel need to act as a strategic partner with the CRM team instead of remaining disintegrated from the customer services. There are several instances where massive customer complaints are made due to incorrect expectations set by the salesmen, false promises made, wrong products being sold, incorrect payment taken etc. The CRM team in such customer complaints faces a tough time trying to take serious escalations that also attract legal implications, leading to loss of customers if the resolution is not up to the mark. The sales team must also be well versed with the product knowledge, CRM software and other intricate details of the company they are representing so that they can offer the right resolution the very first time.
The sales team need to honest, transparent, and well trained about the products & services to be sold to customers. Sales team is the one that serves as the first point of contact when a customer calls in over telephone to place an order or physically visits a store to make a purchase. Hence, the sales team is well versed about the CRM principles and approaches the customer with a polite, whole-hearted and a positive attitude to leave lasting impression in their mind.
Door to door visits and cold calls to be replaced by leveraged customer relationships
Gone are days when the customers loved to entertain a salesman with a product/service visiting their house or office to give product demonstration, and trying to convince them to make a purchase. Modern customers largely look into the internet, browse through the social media tools, review the content posted by peers, and study the brand ratings etc before deciding to buy a product. Hence the sales personnel need to build their own network of online relationships where they can offer value to customers, build trust by exhibiting expertise, skills and insight. Few of the most social media sites where sales representatives can build customer relationships are Facebook and Twitter. Apart from this, the use of LinkedIn can be made to develop professional relationships with the customers.
Sales must be highly customer centric and based on long term customer relationships. The sales team must have the potential and expertise to manage customer relationships and Cross-sell additional products as per customer requirements. The notion of ‘Customer is King’ must be religiously followed.
Company spokespersons need to be replaced by Authors and Evangelist
Salespersons who were mere mouthpieces as in always trying to pitch, promote the product features, and pushing the customers to make a purchase need to be replaced by knowledgeable assets. This is because contemporary buyers conduct extensive research, decide upon their own way of buying, and do not feel pleased to hear about the extensive product features through a salesman’s mouth. Hence, the salesmen instead of telling the customers about the repetitive company protocols, repeating product features, must try to achieve customer trust by sharing information that reflects value for their products, and company. The sales person must be transparent and educate customers about the milestones their product or services has achieved as compared to others, to earn much credibility. They must also vouch personally for the products, instead of making promises that are repetitive and monotonous.
Maintain superior service quality
The sales team must be clearly aware of the main elements of a service quality that is necessary to keep customers satisfied. These elements are tangibility, reliability, assurance, responsiveness, empathy and assurance. Tangibility ensures that the appearance of physical facilities, infrastructure and salesperson must be clean and tidy. Reliability ensures that the services offered by the salesmen need to be dependable backed by accuracy which can be trusted upon by the customers. The salesmen must understand the importance of responsiveness according to which customer waiting time must be minimum while prompt response to customers’ queries, enquiries, and issues must be made. As per assurance, the salesmen must be courteous, credible and exhibit excellent competency towards fulfilling customer needs and expectations. Finally, salesmen must have empathy ensuring that they maintain open communication, must be caring, and must give individual attention to each customer.
The sales team must not only be technically savvy but also knowledgeable about the industry with which their product & services is related with. At the same time, they must be well trained and be very clear about complying with the service quality elements to deliver excellent customer services. They must also know their customers through careful research on their profile must work in close co-ordination with the CRM team and keep the customers engaged. The mantra is not to achieve customer satisfaction only but go an extra mile to help the customers, build long term customer relationships, develop trust and provide customer centric solutions that lead to customer delight.