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Sales and customer service are two of the most important departments in any business. Together, they make up the backbone of your company; one cannot succeed without the other. Without this crucial combination, the foundation would be weak, and the structure of your company would fall apart.
Many companies pay a lot of attention to marketing, but not enough to sales and service. This leaves the door wide open for competitors.
So why are sales and customer service so important? In a nutshell, because they bring in the revenue. This two-part department brings your company sales and customers; sales bring in revenue, while customer service ensures that you keep them.
If you need proof of how important these two departments are, just look at the companies that have failed in recent years. For example, here are a few companies that were once fighting to be the best in their field, but soon failed because they did not have a proper customer service and sales department:
· Pets.com – The online pet store that started in 1998 ended its business just two years later because it failed to create a reliable infrastructure.
· Coca-Cola – This well-loved soda brand came close to bankruptcy in the 1980s because it didn't have a strong enough sales effort and made a blunder of epic proportions with the “new” Coke
· Mt. Gox – This company held more than 70% of the bitcoin currency before it shut down in 2014 because of online security issues.
· HTC – This phone maker's market share was down to just 2% in 2013, compared to 40% two years earlier. It failed because it didn't know how to handle the competition.
· Zune – This is Microsoft's answer to the iPod, which was a flop from the start. The company had to write off millions of dollars after just two years because they didn't have a strong enough customer service department.
The reason why these companies didn't succeed is because they didn’t have proper sales and customer service departments to support them. Look at the rest of the companies that remain on top, however, and you'll notice a common trend:
· Amazon – Amazon has some of the best sales and customer service teams in the world. They know how to keep their customers satisfied, which is why they have skyrocketed to become one of the most successful companies.
· Apple – Apple has great sales and customer service, which is why they are currently one of the biggest names in the tech industry and show no signs of slowing down.
· Sony – Sony has come a long way from where they were in the 80s; they are now one of the world's most successful tech companies because they know how to keep their customers happy.
The most successful companies, no matter how great their products and services, understand the importance of sales and service and work to build this competency from the very beginning. They know that for a company to be successful, staff need not only the knowledge but also incentives. Without good salespeople who want customers and service technicians ready with an answer when you call or walk through their doors-you're missing out on potential revenue!
The adage that "People Do Business with People They Like" remains as true as ever. Everyone from the top down, from CEOs to employees, must be ready to act as both a sales and service person since it’s up to everyone to ensure that your company is successful.
If your business doesn't have the right balance of sales and service people in place, you'll be losing money hand-over-fist as a result. The problem is that many companies don't understand what it takes to have a team of skilled sales and service people, so they end up losing money as a result.
There are 5 critical steps to achieve confidence in sales and service at all levels of your company. When each of these steps is completed, the combination of sales and service will produce a successful product in the marketplace:
1. Gain Commitment to Sales and Service from The Top
If the CEO isn't committed, then the company won't be committed, so make sure your CEO is clear about the role of sales and service in the success of the company, and that he or she has a buy-in to this plan.
The CEO must understand the role of sales and service in building sales volume, market share, customer loyalty, employee satisfaction and return on investment.
2. Make Selling and Servicing a Team Effort
No matter how brilliant the strategies, the products, and services your company is developing aren't going to be of benefit if you can't sell them. Achieving sales growth usually starts with one person who has the initiative and energy to get involved in selling and service, then recruits others to support them.
Make sure that you have a team approach to sales and service at all levels of the company, not just some individuals who are allowed to sell or service on behalf of the business.
3. Create An Environment Where Everyone Can Succeed at Selling and Servicing
Everyone has different strengths, interests, temperaments, and styles, so make sure you create the right environment for everyone.
For example, if someone is shy and introverted, they're not going to enjoy being involved in sales activities outside of the business, but inside the office they can be very effective. So, find out what works for that person and how he or she wants to contribute to sales and service.
4. Train Staff in Sales and Service Skills Everyone Needs
Selling and servicing often become areas that people specialize in, but you need to make sure your frontline staff know enough about how the business operates their responsibilities to cover all aspects of the company's processes.
Everyone should be able to answer customer queries and develop relationships with customers, as well as knowing how to place orders and resolve any problems.
5. Make Selling and Servicing a Career Choice for Your Staff
Selling and servicing can be interesting, challenging, and fun jobs if you manage them right, so make sure potential employees see these opportunities as ways they can move up through the company.
Ensuring your staff have the right training and motivation to serve customers is essential if you want your company to be a success.
When it comes to the sales game, you're either swimming on top or drowning beneath the water. If your organization doesn't have enough experienced and professional sales and service people with the right processes in place, then your company will lose money hand-over-fist due their lack of experience in driving sales. The problem is that many companies don't understand exactly what it takes to have a team of skilled sales and service people, so they end up losing money as a result.
To make sure your business is successful, you must understand the importance of sales and service in building sales and maintaining existing business. Only then can you figure out how to recruit and train a top-notch sales and service team that’s going to bring your business optimal success.
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