Category Archives: Sales

Use value to break through voicemail and gatekeepers

Use value to break through voicemail and gatekeepers. Does your message or opening sound like every other sales person? Are you repeating the same message over and over, and wonder why no one is calling you back? Develop strong, important, customer-focused unique selling propositions (USPs) and then dole them out one at a time, as you move through the cycle to get a live connection. This gives you the ability to add something new to every contact you make to get the meeting. This is much more intriguing to a prospect than hearing the same “sales-y” message repeatedly. http://ow.ly/5MLcf

Do a Value Proposition Reality Check

“How aligned are your marketing and sales efforts with your customers and prospects? Have each member of your teams jot down what they think your company’s value proposition is. Why do customers do business with you? Do you all have the same answer? A poorly tuned value proposition is indicative of misalignment between the marketing and sales plans of your company. But just fixing the value proposition isn’t enough. Figuring out where the disconnects are and aligning them into a consistent communication and delivery system is key to gaining marketing share.”

– Lisa Dennis, excerpted from 360 Degrees of the Customer

Mid-Year Report: How’s It Going?

Yes, it is July, people.  Q2 has just ended for many of us, and we are looking at giving our numbers a boost in order to salvage, or jumpstart, our sales.  And yes, this is probably the toughest time of year to figure it all out.

Why?  Vacations – your customers’s AND your salespeople’s – are one big reason.  And if you are below your YTD revenue targets, then there is pressure in the knowledge that time is no longer on your side as you try to catch up to those numbers.

I don’t bring this up to give you agita; rather, I bring it up to give you a heads-up.  Here are some things you can be doing now, as alternatives to praying or burying your head in the sand…

  • Define and refine your messaging for the fall.  You’ve got new offerings coming – prepare now!
  • Review and scrub your pipeline.  Don’t let hot and warm leads rot in the summer!
  • Review your referral strategy.  You’ve got to give in order to get, right?  Think about who you can help.
  • Plan for new demand generation activities.  Thinking about a newsletter or social media campaign?  What else is percolating?
  • Need a sales training tune-up? Now’s the time!  Make sure your sales team is ready for the stretch run!

You want more details, more ideas?  Click here!

End of Q2. How’s your year looking so f

End of Q2. How’s your year looking so far? Looking forward, are your Value Propositions still relevant to getting your business where it needs to be 6 months from now? Think before you answer. The world is changing every day; are you changing with it?

For all the Salespeople out there.

For all the Salespeople out there. Ease into Tuesday with this rhttp://ow.ly/5q4vm Travellin’ Salesman Blues

All Together Now

All businesses know that is imperative to have marketing and sales familiar with all of the features, benefits, uses, and details of their products and services.  Certainly, before these departments can sell to customers outside the company, the products and services need to be “sold” internally.    This is part of marketing and sales training.

But it does not not end there.  For a business to successfully sell its wares to customers and prospects, it needs to sell it internally to other departments, as well.  Because customer contact does not begin and end with marketing and sales.  All departments need to be singing from the same page.

First of all, it is not typically marketing or sales that answers the phone or the email when customers have questions.  So customer service needs to have a firm grasp of the details of each product and service in order to sufficiently answer those questions, and even upsell or cross-sell an appropriate product.

If there are technical or workability issues with a product, the customer support staff not only has to understand how the product works, but how the customer wants it to work.

And how about finance?  The folks who handle the money need to understand the value of the company’s products or services to the customer, and how they use them.

And it looks really bad if the executives don’t have a firm grasp of the finer points of the business’ offerings.  They are the ones out there, being the face of the company, getting interviewed or representing the company in public forums and events.

Bottom line, someone in your organization has to be part choir director and part diplomat to get everyone singing the same tune.  It isn’t easy, but it is necessary.  Now, a-one and a-two…

— Lisa Dennis

Explore this idea further here.

Take a 360 Degree View of Your Customer

Do all the external-facing departments in your company see the world through your customer’s eyes?  All customer touch points, including marketing, sales, customer  service, technical support and accounts receivables, should be integrated with each other.

No matter who your customers connect with in your company, their experience must be consistent, clear and coordinated, an integrated “360-degree” view of your customer,  ensuring that promise and delivery are in sync.

Three elements of a company propel its business: marketing, sales and customer service.  Most companies know, theoretically, that these three elements need to work  together effectively to produce steady sales, revenue growth and happy customers.

Frequently, however, there are aspects of human nature that get in the way of each of these elements, preventing them from performing at peak opportunity. Ego, compensation models, bonus programs often take precident over customer concerns.  The ability to identify, address and resolve these issues goes a long way towards building a loyal customer base that keeps coming back.

— Lisa Dennis

The Chicken or the Egg? Sales or Marketing Focus

At the risk of being a little controversial – I have to say I’ve never understood why so many companies talk about “Sales & Marketing” as a discipline, rather than “Marketing & Sales.” Often, conversationally and organizationally, the focus is on Sales first – with marketing placed in an enablement role. The truth is that the process of finding a prospect and converting them to a customer starts with Demand Creation – and the majority of that activity begins with Marketing. Marketing is setting the stage, targeting the most likely segments, honing the right message, and hopefully creating the right set of sales materials, in addition to customer collateral, to give Sales everything they need to take that prospect through the sales process. Without this crucial orientation, it’s too easy to cut marketing when times get tough. Sales people are pushed out the door to “sell harder,” but not given the marketing support to make that happen. Put the activities in their proper order. Think about them in terms of an extended and repeatable progression and you will have gone a long way into aligning and integrating the efforts of both organizations. They are mutually interdependent – so alignment has nothing to do with having one department report to the other.

— Lisa Dennis

How’s the view?

 

This post marks the launch of our blog, The Customer View, focused on the experiences customers have when connecting with your company’s marketing, sales and customer service activities.

 

 

What we’ve learned from dual careers in marketing/sales and customer service is that the majority of companies’ customers experience frequent disconnects between what a company says in its marketing, what a company promises during the sale, and what a customer discovers when talking to customer service.  It is the unusual company that makes conscious operational decisions that enable total coordination of all three customer touch-points. But when you consider the dollars spent to resolve these disconnects on a daily basis – it’s clear that there is enormous upside.

 

So how’s the view from your customer’s eyes?

 

The focus of this blog will be to share ideas, experiences and issues that illustrate the right Customer View.  The key is simple in concept but difficult to make happen.  Why is this so hard?  Because the true customer view is defined by the customer and not by your company.  How many disconnects does the average customer experience as a result of a company’s assumptions about what they need?

If you like the view from here, check out our web site at www.knowledgence.com.  We’d love to know what you think.

 

— Chuck and Lisa Dennis

 

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