What happens when sales people don’t do what they have the skills to do? When economies are good and businesses are humming along, many sales people joke that products sell themselves. But once the economy catches up and sales numbers drop, this is where the real talent rises to the surface.
What motivates your sales staff? Some of the best sales people I have ever met are 100% commission sales. They survive on their wits. On the other hand, many company’s sales teams have a comfortable base coupled with a generous compensation package and bonuses. If sales slip, they fall back on the base.
Why have they lost their momentum? This could be the result of a weak brand, that has rested on its laurels, while the competition have gained the edge. If you have done your job and worked very hard to develop a strong brand, sales can benefit from this position of strength and rely on relationships with customers to grow more business when the economy hits the skids. As many people know, existing or past customers are your best prospects for additional business.
Also, many sales people are sadly unaware of any new offerings from the company. Marketing materials, including the web, haven’t been updated in quite some time. Sales staff rely too heavily on their smartphones with regard to dealing with customers.
And with customer service via email, it is much too easy for your customer to view you as simply a name in a list, and you reduce yourself to being viewed as a commodity. With little to no face to face interaction, customers find it very easy to work with some other firm whose sales people rely on good old fashioned leg work.
Branding relies heavily on customer relationships. These relationships keep you out of commodity hell. They like you and enjoy working with you. It is harder to switch.
A slowing economy is a great time to sit with the sales team, and discuss how they use the marketing tools they are given or are lacking. Do they even use them? I would want to be sure that the tools provided speak directly to the needs of your customers in this new economy. How can the sales staff strengthen contact with existing customers and build on those relationships? If you are a salesperson, what motivates you? Everyone has a dry spell, but it is what you put in place today, that will generate leads in the near future.
A strong brand strategy is your best defence.
Published: December 26, 2013