Wednesday, June 1, 2011

We Don't Pay You All of That Money to Juggle One Ball!

As a high-tech salesperson, you think to yourself and maybe occasionally even utter out loud; What if all I had to do was just sell my product? Wouldn't that be great? But as reality sets in, you must admit that if you don't bird-dog that new customer relationship from start to finish, you'll most assuredly have to fix something later and possibly compromise the relationship you have worked so hard to establish. While it is said that problems are opportunities, you don't really want to create or have someone else create problems for you just so you can have those kinds of opportunities. Bigger and better opportunities emerge from successfully nurturing a new customer relationship; then they tell their friends and colleagues what a great experience it is to work with you.
Click to Enlarge - Sales & Mktg Cycle

Think about all of the people in your company that have to be involved in the capture of a new customer and delivery of the product. It starts with Marketing; then hands off to Sales;  then to Sales Support; possibly to Legal; to Operations; to Customer Service; to Accounting and back to Sales for referrals. How many things can go wrong with all of those people touching the customer in one way or another? And, who's going to straighten out the problems if and when they occur? You guessed it, You, the salesperson, the face of the company for the customer.

What does this mean to you? It means it is critical that you know your company's process for on-boarding a customer, and additionally, how your client's company wishes to be interacted with during that process. It may not be up to you to manage the actual work necessary to assure a smooth delivery, but you'll need to be involved in tracking it, at the very least. Otherwise you might see someone with less interest in a successful turn-up drop the ball and neglect to inform anyone about it. It could happen in the customer's organization or yours, or both.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems attempt to eliminate the need for "walking around" tracking and they do a decent job of it. However, CRM systems won't automatically keep everything on-track or in line for the whole process because people are involved. That is why to assure your customer is brought on-board smoothly and happily, you are going to have to juggle a few balls. It may cause you to lose a little selling time, but it is easier to keep a customer than it is to acquire a new one. 

So, bite the bullet and ride shotgun on your customer's installation because they could end up being your best customer, your best lead source and your best referral. After all, isn’t it about people buying from people they like? Yes it is, but that’s another blog.

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Mike Feeley

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